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Old 04-24-2014, 07:27 AM   #1
pdurrant
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Two Years after Tor's DRM-free Announcement

Two years ago today, Tor announced that they would be removing DRM from all their books.

In July 2012, Tor announced it had happened, followed by Tor UK in August 2012.

In December 2012, John Sargent, CEO of Macmillian, said "initial results suggest there was no increase in piracy"

In April 2013, Tor UK said that the change had not affected piracy of Tor books "we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles"

Happy DRM-free anniversary to Tor.

Last edited by pdurrant; 04-24-2014 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:31 AM   #2
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Just maybe some others will follow their lead.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post

In April 2013, Tor UK said that the change had not affected piracy of Tor books "we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles"

Happy DRM-free anniversary to Tor.
How did they measure piracy, I wonder.

Do people who pirate books normally report it?
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:48 AM   #4
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How did they measure piracy, I wonder.

Do people who pirate books normally report it?
If they saw an overnight decrease in sales, that would be a telling sign.

I assume they met their projected sales and concluded that whatever piracy there is, going DRM free isn't losing them sales.
="no discernible increase in piracy".

Go Tor!
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:11 AM   #5
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:18 AM   #6
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If they saw an overnight decrease in sales, that would be a telling sign.

I assume they met their projected sales and concluded that whatever piracy there is, going DRM free isn't losing them sales.
="no discernible increase in piracy".

Go Tor!
If that's the case, that removing DRM hasn't resulted in a loss in sales, then that can also mean nothing more than "Tor customers are not pirates" (which is circular in its logic), or, "Tor customers are pirates but give their ebooks to people who aren't customers".
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:34 AM   #7
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If that's the case, that removing DRM hasn't resulted in a loss in sales, then that can also mean nothing more than "Tor customers are not pirates" (which is circular in its logic), or, "Tor customers are pirates but give their ebooks to people who aren't customers".
Which still means DRM is a waste of time for Tor to use, doesn't it?
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:56 AM   #8
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It should also be noted that one of their major competitors, Baen, has always been DRM-Free, and having DRM was a competitive disadvantage. With some of Tor's authors also being Baen authors, there was a fair amount of pressure on them internally, I'm sure. So while there may have been a slight increase in piracy (I doubt it), the offsetting increase in sales from customers who had avoided them because of the DRM was more than sufficient to cover.

IAC, Tor is to be commended for dropping DRM, and sticking to it.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:23 PM   #9
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How did they measure piracy, I wonder.

Do people who pirate books normally report it?
I wouldn't be surprised if the eBooks versions they released DRM had some small difference (even if it was just in the HTML headers). It's not like the publishers aren't aware of the places the books are often pirated. They could have been monitoring the torrents and usenet groups for whether there was an influx in the DRM-free versions in the months after DRM was removed....
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:14 PM   #10
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Which still means DRM is a waste of time for Tor to use, doesn't it?
Not necessarily. I suppose strictly speaking Tor didn't benefit from DRM (except for being in a position to strike deals with book publishers who might've been skittish without DRM).

What might be interesting to know is if there were any impact of ebook sales of OTHER ebook stores who continued to use DRM during that time period. If sales of the same books that Tor sold DRM-free dropped at other places still using DRM (like Amazon) then the argument could be made that the DRM-free versions sold by Tor helped supply pirates with books. But this too is pure speculation.
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by WillysJeepMan View Post
Not necessarily. I suppose strictly speaking Tor didn't benefit from DRM (except for being in a position to strike deals with book publishers who might've been skittish without DRM).

What might be interesting to know is if there were any impact of ebook sales of OTHER ebook stores who continued to use DRM during that time period. If sales of the same books that Tor sold DRM-free dropped at other places still using DRM (like Amazon) then the argument could be made that the DRM-free versions sold by Tor helped supply pirates with books. But this too is pure speculation.
They were sold DRM-free at those retailers also, including Amazon.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:21 AM   #12
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Not necessarily. I suppose strictly speaking Tor didn't benefit from DRM (except for being in a position to strike deals with book publishers who might've been skittish without DRM).

What might be interesting to know is if there were any impact of ebook sales of OTHER ebook stores who continued to use DRM during that time period. If sales of the same books that Tor sold DRM-free dropped at other places still using DRM (like Amazon) then the argument could be made that the DRM-free versions sold by Tor helped supply pirates with books. But this too is pure speculation.
Tor is not a retailer, but a publisher. Your premise is wrong.
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:03 PM   #13
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It should also be noted that one of their major competitors, Baen, has always been DRM-Free, and having DRM was a competitive disadvantage. With some of Tor's authors also being Baen authors, there was a fair amount of pressure on them internally, I'm sure. So while there may have been a slight increase in piracy (I doubt it), the offsetting increase in sales from customers who had avoided them because of the DRM was more than sufficient to cover.

IAC, Tor is to be commended for dropping DRM, and sticking to it.
Tor's management was always interested in DRM-free ebooks and had started a trial selling DRM-free books via the Baen website back about 5 years ago, which got cancelled within days of starting by upper management at Bertelsmann (Tor's ultimate owner).
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:14 PM   #14
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I think it means they saw no marked decrease in sales.

The only difference, if any, DRM makes is in casual copying. DRM makes no difference to pirates because pirates know how to google you know what, like most people here do.
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Old 05-28-2014, 04:33 PM   #15
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Tom Doherty on DRM in a speech today at Book Expo of America.
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