Tue
Apr 24 2012 12:40pm

Tor/Forge E-book Titles to Go DRM-Free

Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, today announced that by early July 2012, their entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free.

“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”

DRM-free titles from Tom Doherty Associates will be available from the same range of retailers that currently sell their e-books. In addition, the company expects to begin selling titles through retailers that sell only DRM-free books.

In addition, Tor UK announced on Wednesday, April 25 that it will also be going DRM-free.

About Tor and Forge Books

Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1980 and committed (although not limited) to arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is also the home of award-winning Forge Books, founded in 1993 and committed (although not limited) to thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction and general fiction. Together, the imprints garnered 30 New York Times bestsellers in 2011.

188 comments
Joris Meijer
2. jtmeijer
Great! Applause for managing to get the management layers to agree.

Now for your next trick, try if it is possible to agree to non-exclusive worldwide distribution at one point.
Paul Go
4. greyarea
Fantastic. I will buy even more Tor ebooks because of this.
Angela Korra'ti
5. annathepiper
AWESOME. :D I will look forward to upping my patronage of Tor/Forge titles!
Fred Kiesche
6. FredKiesche
Fantastic news. Hopefully the start of a whole string of announcements by the various shops.
Patti Taylor
7. sapience14
Hurrah! I knew there was a reason Tor/Forge is one of my favorite publishers.
Paul Howard
9. DrakBibliophile
Great news.

Of course, I'm wondering if Tor/Forge will offer their ebooks at a more reasonable (IMO) lower price.

Baen does quite well by selling ebooks for $6.
Jim Nutt
10. jimnutt
Great News! A couple of years late, but good news all the same. DRM just locks readers into a single ebook ecosystem whilst doing absolutely nothing to prevent piracy.
Matt London
11. MattLondon
This announcement makes me even more proud to be part of the Tor family. Great news for everyone.
TheSFReader
12. TheSFReader
Great move !!! Congratulations !!
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
13. pnh
jtmeijer, #2: Worldwide distribution is a much harder problem. Most of our contracts with authors grant us rights only in certain territories; we can't just unilaterally rewrite existing agreements.
Christian Decomain
14. Khryss
This is awesome news! I hope it will work out for you, and that other publishers will follow suit.

Now I can finally buy ebooks without having to worry if I'll still be able to read them a few years later.
TheSFReader
15. LynnL
Great news, but if prices stay high (eg $9.99 for an ebook where I could buy the same title in paper for $7.99), I'm not ultimately going to increase my purchasing due to this.
TheSFReader
16. mchandler
barn door closed; horse long gone
randy gallegos
17. gallegosart
Also can we get DRM free audio books too? I'll squee so loud.
TheSFReader
19. Marianne A
HOO-FREAKING-RAY!!!!

Y'all rock.
Christopher Turkel
21. Applekey
Excellent! The only real solution to the Amazon monopoly!
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
22. montsamu
re: 9. DrakBibliophile

Baen also sells e-books at $15. Tor also sells e-books at $6.
Neil Sood
23. RanchoUnicorno
I just see near-meaningless babbling that appears to be a poor attempt to placate TPTB that holding on to the agency model is good for customers because....hey look! DRM-free!
Joris Meijer
24. jtmeijer
Patrick @13, I know and fully understand why that system is in the best interest of the authors. But it would be nice, and one can dream.

But removal of drm is an impressive result already, and even with the recent rumours not something I expected to happen this soon.
TheSFReader
25. kathleen duey
I KNEW I loved you. YAY Tor!
C C
26. Hatgirl
Hurray!

And rather than just echo my usual plea that you sell to folk who live outside the US because of course you are doing your best in that regard, right? I am instead going to ask "Is Tor UK going DRM-free too?"
Natasa Charlotte
27. Natasa
This is all great news except for the fact that ebook pirates are fistpumping the air right now :/
Peter Ahlstrom
28. PeterAhlstrom
Natasa: You can find pirated ebooks with no problems already, before this new policy goes into effect. That goes to show that DRM fails to do anything but cause hassles for paying customers.
Matthew Miller
29. Mathachew
I'm happy about this, but the lack of progress in lending or getting a Tor eBook through my local library is still frustrating.
Paul Howard
30. DrakBibliophile
montsamu, Baen sells electronic Advanced Reader Copies for $15 but the final editions are for $6.

TOR may offer some of their books for $6 but most are more than that. Mind you, if TOR offered the majority of their books for $7.99 that would be better than it is currently.

Natasa, ebook pirates aren't stopped by DRM. It's very easy to remove DRM. While DRM can be a problem for the majority of ebook readers .

IMO talk about ebook pirates just assumes that everybody who reads ebooks are crooks.
Ty Margheim
32. alSeen
@montsamu

Baen sells their ARCs at $15. You are paying more to read it early. Their regular books are $6.

Many of them are also legally free from

http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/

That is a repository of every Baen cd put out. They are freely redistributable. They contain complete drm free collections in multiple formats of many popular series including the Vorkosigan, Posleen War, many other John Ringo books, the Honor Harrington series, and the Ring of Fire (1632) series.
Anthony Pero
33. anthonypero
@PeterAhlstrom:

Actually, DRM has another effect: it locks you into buying eBooks in a particular system's vertically integrated ecosystem. I expect this is the primary reason that Tor/Forge is taking this wonderful, marvelous, highly intelligent step. It will now be easier to sell to Kindle customers (the vast majority of the market) without selling through Amazon. This gives Tor/Forge/McMillan tremendously more leverage when their renewal negotiations come up again. Removing the "Buy" button simply means customers looking for Tor's books can go get a .mobi copy from somewhere else. Amazon loses a sale, not the publisher.
TheSFReader
34. @ioxman
Muy buena noticia, felicitaciones por el cambio de modelo.
Samuel Walker
35. lambada
excellent news.
This is one step towards my dream of physical+ebook bundles. Without having to DRM the files this has become a whole lot easier to implement. Whether it will be a retailer who does this promotion first, or Tor themselves has yet to be seen.

Now if only ebooks weren't geographically restricted - I love the US Wheel of Time ebook covers, the UK ones however are identical to the UK book covers - and give the impression of being poor quality conversions as well. Perhaps I should post this rant over at Orbit though ;)
Anthony Pero
36. anthonypero
If Tor/Forge can successfully break free of the need for Amazon, I imagine that they will window their prices with the Hardcovers. I.E, probably MORE expensive the first year via eBook, but then a drastic reduction in price once the MMP is released. Now, what those prices should be is obviously up for a tremendous amount of dispute.
Fredrik Coulter
37. fcoulter
I hope that this also means that TOR is working on getting their entire back catalog formatted as ebooks. One time expense, followed by perpetual sales without print runs, equals happy readers and authors.
TheSFReader
38. Tristanm
Great news!
And now you don't need to worry about one company cutting you off, readers with their device will be able to purchase elsewhere and convert - you could even help them do so :)
TheSFReader
39. Petri Wessman
Very smart move. Readers love it: you can now easily move your books between different devices, for example, and as noted, DRM hasn't stopped piracy (it only hurts legitimate sales). And most importantly: this kicks out the ecosystem lock-in that Amazon and Apple are trying *hard* to implement, and gives Tor a *lot* more leverage on the market.
Lynn Calvin
40. romsfuulynn
Wow. Also yow. Speaking as someone who has multiple devices and spends thousands of dollars on ebooks, this will make my life exponentially easier. Some stuff (with maps, diagrams) I might want to read on one of the DXs we have, some stuff I really want to load on a Kindle or Nook really stripped down device with really long battery life. Sometimes color matters.

My only complaint is that it means I will buy more ebooks.

Contemplates "entire list of ebooks" - does this mean that already purchased copies will now be available DRM free (not that it matters to the technically more adept?) Or only newly purchased copies?
David Dyer-Bennet
41. dd-b
Thanks! I've been waiting for this. One can subsist for only so long on Baen books, you know!
TheSFReader
42. fbr
Great Move! Now, I am going to have to buy some of your books to support your business decision!
Beth Meacham
43. bam
romsfuulynn @40 -- No, we won't be offering to trade out your DRM'd titles already purchased. This is just going forward.

We've been working for more than a year to get our backlist converted to ebook format, which is more complicated than just file conversion. Sometimes we need to acquire rights, often we need to create files from archived hard copies. But it's happening. It's just that there are a lot of books.
Nick Eden
44. NickPheas
Glad to hear it, hoping the othe other bits of Tor (especially UK) will be able to follow suit and in time addres the crazy geographic restrictions they're labouring under.
I can understand that agents might sell books to different publishers, but there really needs to be some kind of deal by which if a territory's rights holder has no interest in using those rights then they should be persuaded into passing them, to someone that will use them.
Yes, whoever is preventing the sale of Wild Cards ebooks in Europe, I would be looking at you if only I knew who you were.
Mordicai Knode
45. mordicai
Wow, I didn't see that coming. Considering that I was just complaining about being prevented from using locked audio files in ethical ways-- like moving them from my home computer to my work computer or burning mix-cds-- I think I have to give a golf clap, here.
TheSFReader
48. Daniel Neely
bam @ 43 -- does that mean that DRM free versions of books will be sent to Amazon/B&N/etc as new products instead of replacing the DRMed files (or flipping a switch in software if the DRM is applied by the retailer at purchase time) currently for sale? The latter option should allow customers to just use redownload features to replace their existing DRMed copies with non-DRM files.
TheSFReader
49. Valescere
Well done! I find myself now very tempted to buy these e-books. A wonderful development.
TheSFReader
50. Krikket
Thank you for dropping DRM. This is one major reason I have not purchased any of your books until now, and stuck soly with Baen books and stuff available for free. When my next paycheck hits, you will receive part of it in the form of a sale.
Nathaniel Gulick
51. PresN
Excellent- try to get the rest of MacMillan to follow suit!
Anthony Pero
53. anthonypero
@Daniel Needy:

No inside information, but I doubt they have talked to Amazon OR B&N about this yet. Neither company will like this one bit. I imagine this is a preemptory strike on Macmillan's part, testing the waters with Amazon and B&N. In otherwords, they can't answer your question because they might not know yet.
TheSFReader
54. Jonathan Abbey
Hurrah. Will we be able to buy e-books directly from tor.com, I hope?
TheSFReader
55. jgs
:gets out credit card:
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
56. montsamu
DrakBibilophile: Baen sells electronic Advanced Reader Copies for $15 but the final editions are for $6.

alSeen: Baen sells their ARCs at $15. You are paying more to read it early. Their regular books are $6. Many of them are also legally free

I am well aware of the editions and free libraries. It is my simple proposal that people paying $15 for e-books of new Tor hardcovers are also paying more to read it early, just for a slightly different definition of early -- ahead of the mass market release, instead of the hardcover. Asking for $6 e-books on hardcover release day is pretty much the same (to me) as asking for $8 mmpb on hardcover release day. You can have a format preference, and a time preference, each independent from the other. None of those preferences makes it make any more sense for a publisher or author to leave money on the table from eager early adopters.
TheSFReader
58. wcarter4
I believe Tor/McMillian to be a very classy and reasonable company and I applaud the move.
Paul Howard
59. DrakBibliophile
montsamu, considering that many publishers don't lower ebook prices when the book is available in paperback, your position doesn't make any sense.

While I'm willing to pay $14.99 for David Weber's safehold books, others are not willing to do so. If the safehold books never drop in price, then those people might pass on e-versions of David Weber's safehold books.
Anthony Pero
60. anthonypero
@57:

Oh, I know that. That doesn't mean they want them from their big-selling publishing partners.
Paul Howard
61. DrakBibliophile
montsamu, I'd also note that the Baen EARCs are only for a few of their books not all of their hardcover books.

By the way, I did notice that the Safehold books apparently have been reduced in price when they came out in paperback.
Paul Howard
62. DrakBibliophile
Maybe anthonypero, but are they going to tell TOR no?

I doubt it.
TheSFReader
63. Ravneson
Oh, now this is brilliant. Thank you. :)
TheSFReader
64. liamhe
Are you going to sell your ebooks to Libraries now too? Libraries are the way many people get introduced to books and series. For example I recommended Charles Stross's The Family Trade to a patron. He liked it and bought the rest of the series. I could see similar things happening with eBooks, except, of course, you won't sell to libraries.
TheSFReader
65. Daniel R Johnson
I'll be getting all my books like this. It's 2012, when I pick a book to read I either read it on my treadmill screen, my computer screen, on my phone screen or maybe if I'm going to catch a plane I'll print off 200 pages onto 4/page double sided paper (25 pages).

Tor/Forge will now let me pay for this? Deal!
Greg van Eekhout
66. gregvaneekhout
As a soon-t0-be Tor author, I'm really happy about this.
TheSFReader
67. Jon O
Well-done! Despite my ridiculous reading backlog I'll be picking up some books to say thank-you.
TheSFReader
68. Tom Lamparty
About time! As a Linux user I have been unable to read my favorite Tor and Forge authors in ebook format! Well I could have, but I won't resort to stripping the DRM from them to do it! So expect my money to start flowing your way as soon as this happens! Thank you very much!
TheSFReader
69. NathanC
Awesome awesome awesome, TOR!!!
adrian bellis
71. Nilrem
Thank you Tor/Forge :)

I suspect I'll be buying many more of your books in electronic versions now :)

I love my ereader, but hate DRM.
Anthony Pero
72. anthonypero
@DrakBibliophile

I think the issue is more about when Macmillan's contract is renegotiated. See the IPG mess. This gives Macmillan leverage. Amazon won't like that at all. This is a power play, in a good way, for Macmillan.
TheSFReader
73. caffn8d
Exciting! Looking forward to reading my next Tor book on my phone, from wherever I happen to be, whenever I get a few moments!
TheSFReader
74. Bart S.
That's great. I don't think I've bought too many books by your publishing company, but now I'm going to make an effort to buy your books before I look elsewhere.
TheSFReader
76. John W.
This is outstanding. You've just garnered a ton of my future business, and my ongoing recommendation to friends and family.
TheSFReader
77. efc
Bravo! I've always loved the cd-roms in the hardcover books. DRM-free ebooks is even better. Thanks for leading the industry!
TheSFReader
78. Lou W
Fantastic! I was just explaining to my wife this weekend why, even though I am usually an early adopter, I had not yet started the switch to e-books. DRM and the fear of platform obsolescence was exactly what I told her. Thanks for making this change!
Brent Longstaff
79. Brentus
Good for you! Hopefully the publishing industry will follow your example. The pirates already have DRM-free versions, so it'll be nice when all publishers do paying customers the same courtesy. Going DRM-free is a company's way of telling its customers that it doesn't think they are criminals. And as others have noted, this will prevent one bookseller from having a monopoly. I could never switch to the Nook or another e-reader that lets me support indie bookstores, because I have hundreds of Kindle books with DRM (though not nearly as many once this takes effect, as many of my books are from Tor).
TheSFReader
80. green_knight
Yay.

Common sense wins!

As I have a 'no DRM' policy - if it has DRM, I won't buy it - this policy is probably not going to make my bank manager happy...
TheSFReader
81. Thomas Bjelkeman
Great work. I am very happy to read that!
TheSFReader
82. Michael S. Schiffer
Bravo. I will definitely be buying more Tor/Forge books in the future as a result of this decision. Thank you.
TheSFReader
83. chrisdpratt
This is fantastic. I had actually never heard of you guys until I saw this post, and now I will gladly turn to you first in my ebooks purchases in the future because of this step. DRM is good for no one. It never has and never will stop piracy, and all it truly is effective at is annoying those who actually *did* pay for the content. Kudos on taking this bold step, and I hope the rest of the industry follows your lead.
TheSFReader
84. Kinksville
Bravo! Like many on this thread I've concentrated my e-book purchases almost exclusively through Baen (I have one non-Baen e-book someone bought me as a gift to go along with my Kindle).

This will definitely cause me to take a look at Tor's e-books especially as you put your back catalog online.

@montsamu @DrakBibliophile

Baen's practice of pricing the vast majority of their e-books at $5-6 has caused me to purchase more books more often.

The comparison between the e-ARCs and a just published hard-cover is not entirely apt, since the e-ARCs are just that, Advanced Reader Copies that have not always been proofed to the same level as the final product. They also come out *earlier* than the hardcover books which is part of what justifies their price.

'Windowing' books, and lowering the price as the price of the paper copies comes down is not an unreasonable solution to prevent the sales of e-books from cannibalizing hard-covers. However I think publishers in general will have a difficult time convincing readers (and purchasers) of e-books that an e-book should be the *same* price as a hard-cover. Consumers believe that the physicality of a paper book has some inherent value, value that they do *not* receive with an e-book. Especially when they have invested in a chunk of hardware in order to be able to read said e-book.

Applying a step-down from the paper price to the e-book price would allow these consumers to feel that they are being compensated in some way for the difference in value between paper and e-books. For example, pricing the hardcover at $25 and the e-book at $20 during the hard-cover window, and the paperback at $8, and e-book at $6 during the paperback window would be less likely to leave a bad taste in the readers mouths, and perhaps concentrate more sales during the hardcover window.
Melissa Siah
85. MadeByMel
Yay!!! Well done to Patrick and others who have long pushed for this sensible step.

(I am simultaneously thrilled that I will be able to buy all the Tor
ebooks on my long wishlist and horrified about the implications for my
credit card balance...)
Ty Margheim
86. alSeen
@kinksville

I love ebooks. I've been reading them for more than a decade (started on a Palm Pilot), long before they were ever available from legal sources. I still buy far more physical books than ebooks though.

When you buy a physical book, you aren't just buying access to the story. You are also buying the ability to loan it to as many people as you want, the ability to recoup some of your costs if you find you don't like it by selling it to someone else, and a physical object that will last for far longer than an ebook (sure, an ebook is potentially longer lasting, but with the occurrence of computer failures and technology drift, a physical book will last longer). So yes, paying the same for an e-book as for a hardcover is absurd. And paying more for an e-book than for a paperback is ridiculous.

Selling books without DRM helps to alieviate some of the issues, but not all. You still can't resell the book legally
Anthony Pero
87. anthonypero
@86:

While you are correct in stating that a physical book has some upside that an eBook doesn't, you are neglecting the fact that an eBook has upsides that a physical book can never have. The following are just a few examples of things that DRM-Free eBooks offer that physical books cannot:

1) Portability. In the physical sense, and other senses. For instance, with an eBook, I can have the book on multiple devices, stored in the cloud, available wherever I have access to a computer, or my phone, or my tablet, or my Kindle, etc...

2) Accessibility. Looking to make a reference from a book? No problem! Want to copy the text out to use as a quotation? No problem!

3) Security. DRM-Free books may be copied and stored in a thousand devices, in the cloud, on portable hard drives, on thumb drives, on CDs. They can't be stolen from you (unless you're an idiot), you are unlikely to lose them due to fire or mishandling. They don't fall apart in water, they don't rub off after use, they don't fade in the sun. With an unlimited amount of backups available, your books are as safe as you decide to make them.

Physical books and eBooks are simply different mediums, with their own strengths and weaknesses. To call one superior to the other is to make a values-based judgement. It depends on what you value. Ultimately, the market will determine what an eBook will be priced at, once Most Favored Nation clauses and DRM-enforced vertical integration go away, paving the way for true competition. Until then, expect prices to yo-yo as much pump prices do.
Lianne Burwell
89. LKBurwell
Hoorah! Back when I had a Rocket eBook, I bought a number of books for it. Those books had DRM that didn't just link it to me, it linked them to the device. As a result, when the device went belly-up, I ended up with ebook s that I couldn't even read on my computer, because they were tied to the device.

So, I now try to buy as many of my ebooks from sources like Baen and Smashwords that sell books without DRM and allow you to come back and download again in new formats.
Ty Margheim
90. alSeen
@anthonypero

I am in no way overlooking those benefits. In fact, I agree with all of them. And the move to drm free helps make them even more beneficial.

I just don't think those benefits outweigh the losses. And neither do many many people. Even $10 a book seems outrageously expensive to me.
TheSFReader
91. Doug Peterson
Yay!! Reason has prevailed. I will no longer have to strip the drm off of my books so I can back them up and read them where I want to. I'll admit it only took 15 minutes to find the solution of how to do it, and it only takes a few moments to do, but still. Now I won't have to.
Anthony Pero
92. anthonypero
I understand where you are coming from, @alSeen, that's why I said:
To call one superior to the other is to make a values-based judgement. It depends on what you value.
I just wanted to point out the other side, since you hadn't mentioned them. I do loan books, but I never re-sell them (with the exception of my Hardcover Ponzi Scheme, of course!). Many people don't. Many people do.

You can state that to you, and many of your friends, physical books are more valuable, but you can't state that they are intrinsically more valuable. Like so many things, the value of eBooks as opposed to physical books is a subjective topic. Let the market decide for itself what eBooks are worth. Right now we have publishers artificially controlling prices. Previously, we had Amazon artificially controlling prices. Remove MFN, remove DRM, let a thousand small businesses compete in an open market with Amazon, and see what prices do.
Andrew Timson
94. ATimson
This is good news.

What would be better news is if @bam above is wrong and retailers allowing redownloads will let us get DRM-free copies. (There's no technical reason this isn't possible.)

And what would be best of all is if Macmillan followed up making their books equivalent to their print brethren in retail price (not list), in addition to being equally free.
TheSFReader
95. Pwarren
That's nice!

Will I be able to buy them in Australia?
Avi Schwartz
96. the1avi
Way to go!

This is fantastic news. As someone who buys ebooks I always felt that I am being punished by the publishers for buying their books. I could always go online and find DRM removed, illegaly posted, versions of the same book I purchased. DRM does not stop the theft it just punishes the the people that are willing to spend their money on the book. This is also good for publishers that are worried about the dominance of a single vendor like Amazon. With no DRM I can buy my book from any vendor that sells it.

I hope other publishers will follow your step.
TheSFReader
97. Trelly
For years my wife and I had the habit of buying books based just on the Tor name. It is a great indicator of books we will like, and we buy books on a whim because of the name.

We would continue to do so as well (we have Nooks) even with DRM although with more hesitation. This sort of thing just makes Tor books the obvious and confy place to buy from.

Thanks for the DRM-free option, and thanks for years (... and years) of great reading.
TheSFReader
98. Anna C. Haugen
Awesome! I refuse to buy books with DRM, so I have been mostly limited to Baen books for ebooks. This considerably widens the field of books I can buy. (I have moved an average of once a year for the last ten years. Paper books are really, really heavy to move. Therefore, I don't buy many of them.)
Chris Meadows
99. Robotech_Master
I wonder if this means people who've bought Tor books from booksellers that allow redownload (eReader, Fictionwise, etc.) will be able to redownload them DRM-free?

My very first commercial e-book was from Tor: A Fire Upon the Deep from Peanut Press. It would be kind of cool to be able to redownload that without DRM. (Well, symbolically, anyway. Peanut Press DRM was cracked years ago, so anyone who wants books from there to be DRM-free probably already has them.)
Paul Ripley
100. matt1616
Great news! I'm really looking forward to my next Tor purchase from Kobo ... I won't need to jump through the annoying Adobe Digital Editions software.

I'd also echo what @94 said. It sure would be nice if retailers give a DRM-free option on the redownloads. I've bought around 15 Tor ebooks in the last year ... it would be great if I could get them converted.

Thanks Tor!
TheSFReader
101. dburke
I'm throwing money at my monitor but I don't have any drm free ebooks yet. What am I doing wrong?
Ian Johnson
102. IanPJohnson
dburke @101: Well, if you have an older computer with a DVD drive, you have to physically insert the money INTO the drive in order to get the ebooks.

It's just like a vending machine.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
103. pnh
dburke, IanPJohnson: You both win the internet.
TheSFReader
104. leicaman
Okay, some of my favorite authors are alraedy Tor authors. This just makes me want to buy more.

Good luck!
TheSFReader
106. Matthew Bostock
This is great news, not only in regards to moving your ebooks around. This allows more books to be exposed to other services only supporting DRM free reads, such as Readmill.

www.readmill.com

I look forward to seeing your marginalia on there soon! :)
bob hope
107. dperson
Bravo! I've only bought one book with DRM (by accident), but have long wanted to buy more e-books. Thank you.
TheSFReader
108. Pit Klein
Thank you so much! :-) You've made a great decision!
TheSFReader
109. RossTaylor
Awesome news, I will have to get some Tor books now. We as consumers need to reward responsible behavior. Good timing as well. I was planning on going to Baen this weekend to find some good books for the summer. Now I can get Baen and Tor.
TheSFReader
111. Nathan Betzen
I'll be very curious to read any follow ups about how this is all going to work. I'm sort of hoping it'll be like the Amazon music thing, where you download the ebook to your computer, and then you can use some kind of software (like calibre or itunes or whatever) to send it to any of your mobile devices. Please keep us updated on the nuts and bolts!
Matthew B
112. MatthewB
DRM helps no one and hurts only legitimate customers - i'm glad you guys have finally seen the light!

Now i might buy ebooks i actually want to own instead of just cheap on-sale read once and forget it distractions.
TheSFReader
113. Jourdelune
I am an avid Tor reader.

I prefer to clutter my house with paper version since the electronic one are much more problematic. For ebook, one need to have many sources to backup the files in case the reader or hard drive broke.

While I can read the book of my grand father without much problems. Discworld is an exemple of this, Xanth another or even Conan.

So ebook are less value to keep the content over the long term, they cost less to distribute and so, should be price accordly.
TheSFReader
114. Paul F.
Yes, yes, and YES! Guess who will be buying more of your books!
TheSFReader
115. MPippik
Great! My wife and I are two of the "voracious" readers Charlie Stross describes in his blog. Though our house has been taken over by Tor (and other) F/SF novels, we would now be willing to invest in an eBook reader and/or read from a laptop or tablet if DRM were to be removed. More profits, lower distribution cost... this should benefit publishers, too.
TheSFReader
116. CptSilver
Thank you! There are at least several series I'd gladly buy in e-book format.
Also, PLEASE start selling ebooks directly from Tor-Forge website.
It would be so much more satisfying to be able to pay only authors and publishers (sans middlemen), and avoid Apple, Amazon, or Sony entirely.
Cash McManus
117. moneyman
great! I will certainly be buying more books from TOR..!!
TheSFReader
118. Patrick Jordan
Good work guys! I am now perusing your catalogue :-)
Joe ST
119. fbstj
make yourself an ePub shop, and I will buy ALL my books off of you. every single one of them (that you sell)
TheSFReader
120. EMB
This is great news. For the past couple of years since I bought an ebook reader, I have been buying pretty much exclusively from your competitor Baen (which was the only major science fiction and fantasy publisher to offer DRM-free ebooks).

It'll be great to have a lot more book to choose from (though we'll still have to see how well you compete with Baen's prices--I'm not really even aware how much you charge for ebooks given that I've never considered buying any of them before now).
TheSFReader
121. Elliot Maxim
I just wanted to say I have only bought DRM free books purely on principle. I'm happy to say I will be purchasing e-books from Tor now. I previously would only buy hard copies due to the DRM. Now I can buy 1 of each.

I applaud this decision, and many of my friends who are too lazy to post also do too!
TheSFReader
122. Brian Lee Gnad
You guys have just gained a customer!
I would have been buying your ebooks for a while now if not for DRM.
Enjoy the money I will send your way now!
Thanks!

-Brian
TheSFReader
123. comfy
Very cool. I'll finally get to buy some ebooks.
TheSFReader
124. Lisa Martincik
Great! Got some novels I'm waiting to buy as DRM-free ebooks. Cha-ching!
Michael Dolbear
125. miketor
pnh 19, Geographical restrictions were enforced with DRM.
Most of the sites that sell without DRM are not set up to validate the country of residence of a buyer so Tor won't therefore be able to use them unless resources are spent to enhance them.
TheSFReader
126. Ellen Gilliam
This is fantastic news!
TheSFReader
127. habanero monk
This is great news. I had been holding back getting into the the ebook market due to DRM and the fact that I didn't own the title.

I wonder if TOR will offer a rebate program. Say you send in the front cover of your book and for $1.99 you get the ebook of it?
TheSFReader
128. Paul Ingraham
Increase in the probability that I will now deliberately seek out e-books published by Tor: MASSIVE.

I will also be sharing the heck out of this.

So great. Great choice, Tor!
TheSFReader
129. Koham
Does this mean that I can buy epub books straight from the TOR website or do I still have to go to Amazon, iBookStore etc?
TheSFReader
130. DarrenJL
YAY! That's awesome news. Moving house in a couple of months, and I purchased a kindle as a way to ditch my wayyyyy too copious bookshelves. Been buying a lot of the ebooks I am likely to re-read, and it was a bit dismaying to see all the DRM nonsense.
Paul Ripley
131. matt1616
I was just thinking about the technological drift mentioned by @86. I wouldn't let this stop me from buying ebooks. I've made sure all the books I've purchased are in the open epub format. Since it's open, it can easily be converted to any other format, such as html or plain txt. Even if epub became outdated and was no longer supported on ereaders at some distant future point, it could easily be converted to a format that is supported. I've got a Sony ereader and purchase epub ebooks through Kobo, primarily because I didn't want to deal with Amazon's proprietary kindle format and lock-in. (I know you can get around all that, but I would just rather not deal with it.) I've got Adboe DRM on my current ebooks (other than my Baen and Gutenburg books), but I know I could strip the DRM myself if I ever really had to.

Also, just curious from @86, are there laws that would prevent me from selling a legally purchased DRM free ebook to a friend?

@113, you can use a free online service such as Dropbox or Wuala to back up files from your computer to the cloud.
TheSFReader
132. John Hardin
Yay! Now I will be willing to consider buying Ebooks from Tor. Thank you for giving me access to more of my favorite authors.
Beth Young
133. zbyoung
Hooray! Thank you! It's great to buy books from a publisher who cares about readers. Yet another reason to love TOR.
TheSFReader
134. Deoan
Looks like I'll finally be able to start buying e-books :) Thanks, Tor!
TheSFReader
135. Kraki
Maybe some day in the future those of us who love to have the physical book could also buy the digital version in the same transaction. Digital convenience AND the book for my shelf. What a concept.
Anthony Pero
137. anthonypero
matt1616@131:

It depends on what the license says on the book you buy. When you purchase an eBook, like any downloadable product, you are subject to the terms of the EULA. I have never seen a single EULA from a major publisher, music provider, software manufacturer, etc, that allowed someone to resell the product, with the exception of certain very permissible CC licenses. When you buy a retail package of software, with a box, and disks, etc, you generally are licensed to remove it from your computer and resell the discs. That is not generally true with downloaded software that you paid for. Once again, all EULAs are different, and should be read carefully.

EBooks have traditionally been licensed as software. The CONTENT of the book (what the author wrote) is licensed exactly the same as a physical book. You can't do ANYTHING with it legally, outside of what is allowed under the law by Fair Use. The CONTAINER is what is covered by the EULA. With a physical book, you have the right to resell it, give it away, etc. With an eBook that is not CC, Public Domain, or some other permissible license, you do NOT have the right to resell it or give it away, even if you remove it from your computer.

The reason behind this is pretty obvious: you agreed to the EULA when you downloaded the product, therefore if you illegally sell copies of it, you can be held accountable under the law. The same case would be quite a bit more complicated if you removed the file and gave it to your friend as a gift: THAT person never read the EULA, didn't agree to it, etc. Could they still be held accountable to the EULA? Maybe. Maybe not. Since they didn't agree to it... most software companies find it easier to just restrict this entirely. Book publishers have followed suit with eBooks.
TheSFReader
138. Knut P
Once an ebook is published I use the following checklist when I go shopping for it:
1. Is there a store anywhere that will sell the ebook to me?
2. If the ebook is a backlist title is it under 10$?
3. If the ebook is a new title is it under 20$?
4. Is the ebook cheaper than the paper version?

If the answer to any of the above is "no" then I most likely will pass the book over. Point 1 happens every now and then with the Tor stuff since I'm in europe.
Anthony Pero
139. anthonypero
Its worth noting that, even if a book IS in the Public Domain, copyright is not the central question here. If I were to create an ePub file of Tom Sawyer, and you were to download it from my website (even if I offer it for free), my EULA could still be written in such a way that makes it a violation of our terms for you to redistribute it. The CONTAINER exists because I created it. I own the container. I am merely licensing it to you for your use. In fact, any use that is not specifically spelled out in a EULA is a violation of a EULA. It's not a matter of what I say you CAN'T do, it's only a matter of what I say you CAN do. If I don't specifically say you can freely redistribute it, then you can't. If I don't say you may distribute it if you remove it from your computer first, then you can't. That's the way sofware works, and ultimately, an ePub, mobi, kindle file is a peice of software.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
140. tnh
Anthonypero @139: Yup. The edition belongs to the publisher. This is true in hardcopy as well. If a publishing house acquires the rights to a work, they can't just shoot their own edition from the previous publisher's pages, because the previous publisher owns the typesetting.
Andrew Timson
141. ATimson
@140 Generally, perhaps, but the old plates can be licensed; Tor did so with Kage Baker's first few Company novels. :)
TheSFReader
142. Brian Sullivan
Thank you! I have a massive physical library, with a large amount of books from you, but have postponed many purchases waiting for publishers to figure it out. I'm looking forward to July.
TheSFReader
143. other daniel
Way to go guys!
TheSFReader
144. NickInNC
Wonderful news! Thank you so much! I've got multiple e-readers and that alone has kept me from purchasing many e-books with DRM. I'm looking forward to adding some of my many favorites from Tor over the next few years!
TheSFReader
145. Phil Davis
Thank you for leading. I have not read SF in decades (Heinlein) but with your stance on DRM I need to actively support you so I'm off to look at your calalog.
Daniel Hartensveld
146. dhartensveld
I spend over $600 a year just on books. I really hate that my books are tied to my device today. I also respect IP - hell I want my authors to make money (and the pubs who work with them).

Thanks for doing the right thing. I will continue to buy your books and go out of my way to do so in the future.
Ron Kaminsky
147. Awekam
This news is awesome; add me to the list of "I'm planning on buying at least one book just to show solidarity" responses.

(I've been a customer of Baen for quite a while, now).
Chin Bawambi
148. bawambi
@ 26 Hatgirl

I actually found out about this on the BBC site first so yes this applies to TorUK as well.
pir anha
149. piranha
excellent decision. i've been slowly migrating my physical library to digital format (epub). i don't want to ever be locked into specific technology and consequently lose access to my books again, i don't want to be locked into proprietary formats at all, and i want to be able to read books i've bought on more than one device. thank you for supporting those goals.

@90 alSeen
I just don't think those benefits outweigh the losses. And neither do many many people. Even $10 a book seems outrageously expensive to me.

for me the benefits vastly outweigh the losses; the only books i'll be keeping in physical format are a few first editions by authors who are personal friends, and art books. and i don't even think that $10 for a book is outrageously expensive. considering how much quality enjoyment a good book gives me, it seems about right for a novel compared to other forms of quality enjoyment (many, many people watch a first-run movie in a cinema, for example).

my beef with the price is primarily how little goes to the authors; if that changed, i'd be fine with $10 for a novel. it is changing in some niche market genres, and i am hoping that'll spread. whenever i can, i buy directly from the author or publisher. i think it's unjust, and harmful to society that so many people in the arts can't make a living from it, even if they sell reasonably well.

can't wait for TOR's backlist! i'll be buying a lot more from you, because i support people who listen and pay attention to shifting priorities of their customers.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
150. tnh
ATimson @141:
@140 Generally, perhaps, but the old plates can be licensed; Tor did so with Kage Baker's first few Company novels. :)
Quite right. Publishers do that all the time. The point is, they have to pay each other when they do it.
TheSFReader
152. JB, DC
I just hope that this means that previously bought e-books from these publishers will be updated to DRM free as well (without re-purchase yet again) so that we all have full use of our collections on whatever platform we wish to read them on.
TheSFReader
153. Jo Pearson
Great news!

I've always held Tor in high esteem and this move vindicates my faith. I will buy a book or two as a thank you.
TheSFReader
154. John Shepard
That's great and all, but how about actually making your books worth buying in the first place? Fix all the damn typos and errors in the Malazan books and then actually hire proofreaders when scanning and OCRing older books into eBooks please. We're people too. Just because all you care about are your damn Hardcover sales doesn't mean you should screw us over. we're your customers too damn it. Have some decency.
Frederick Reinders
155. Dancer
Thank you

I have several unfinished series from TOR in paperback. Since I stopped buying physical books due to no space where I now live I have mostly Baen & Project Gutenberg for new material to read.

Due to the everchanging formats and hardware I avoid DRM completely. With this change I can now finish reading those collections published by TOR that I have not purchased due to lack of DRM free ebook editions.

I am especially happy to know that you will be porting the back catalog to ebook. I have lost many of my books over the years. eBook reprints will take care of filling some of those holes nicely :D
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
156. tnh
John Shepard, every trade publisher I know of had those sorts of production difficulties when the ebook market took off. I don't know about other publishers, but the last time I talked to someone in Macmillan's ebooks department, they were aware of the problem, and expected that the typos and other glitches would have to be corrected.

I don't know where they are with that project, or which address you should write to if you have lists of errors that need attention. If you'll start a topic about this at the Tor.com Forums (as soon as the current technical problems there have been resolved!), I'll see what I can do to get you that info.

Thank you for caring about accurate text production. I care about it too.
Marius Gedminas
158. mgedmin
Excellent news!

I'm a bit unsure, though, where exactly I should go to browse the available DRM-free e-books that I would like to purchase.
Anthony Pero
159. anthonypero
I think that's probably why they said July... they probably still need to work this part out. My vote is that they maintain their own download store, like Baen, or Packt Publishing. I'd rather send the money directly to the publisher and author.
Paul Ripley
160. matt1616
@159. I'll second that.
Also, thanks for answering my question earlier.
TheSFReader
162. LizLiv
Totally thrilled, way to go Tor!

I've always regarded Tor as high on my list of great publishers with good taste. Being sensible and customer friendly doesn't hurt either, and I hope every author realizes this means we buy more.
TheSFReader
163. a happy customer
Way to do the right thing! As others have said I have a personal policy of not buying things with DRM (which actually works fine with books since I prefer paper), so I appreciate this and will vote with the wallet accordingly.
TheSFReader
165. Mike McFarlane
It's all been said in previous comments, so I'll just add that I look forward to buying DRM free books from you. Well done and thank you for your brave and righteous move.
TheSFReader
166. illmunkeys
You may want to do a brief post highlighting the DRM free difficulties at various retailers for Scalzi's Redshirt, which was supposed to be the first DRM free book. Retailers don't seem to understand.
TheSFReader
167. ft
@illmunkeys
I agree.
TheSFReader
168. HipHipHurrah
Thank you Tor/Forge. You have some of my very favorite authors and you will have my business when your catalog releases in July! I think I speak for SFF fans and readers in general when I say that your authors will have nothing to worry about and everything to gain. Right now I buy almost exclusively e-formats, but absolutely avoid DRM brokers, which means I download a lot of classics from Gutenberg.org and buy a lot of SFF from Baen and that's about it. But come July that will all change.
Keith Thomson
169. kazriko
Thank you. Now I'll be able to read Tor books along side all of my Baen books on my Blackberry Playbook. :)
Jon Wolf
170. JSWolf
It's already July 7th and I don't see Tor's eBooks becoming DRM free other then Redshirts. What ahppened to going DRM free come July?
TheSFReader
171. ROMAD
Hmmm, "Early July" is over; we are now into "Mid July", status?

Also, I hope that Tor will follow the non-greed approach that Baen Books has regarding pricing. E-books should always cost less than the paperback price, something Amazon, B&N, and Apple doesn't understand.
TheSFReader
172. Hollis McCray
I can't wait for this to happen. Between this and Baen, the vast majority of my reading will be DRM-free.
TheSFReader
173. Nathan Berry
Summer 2012 is quickly coming to a close. I am also quite curious when this will become a reality?
TheSFReader
174. Dennis B Swaney
Technically, they have until September 21st.
Irene Gallo
175. Irene
All Tor and Forge boosk are alredy DRM-free through all ebook retailers.

(If you come across any that aren't, please feel free to drop me a line at irene.gallo@tor.com)

Tor.com is also launching an ebook store, but that is in addition to other bookstores. You do not need to purchase books through our store to get the drm-free files.
TheSFReader
176. Tod
@Irene, what retailers? I don't see any at the ones I use. Someone posted a link to The Regulator Bookshop, but those are Google Ebooks that live in Google's servers--I want to download non-DRM EPUB books.
Irene Gallo
177. Irene
Tod,

All bookstores are being fed the same files -- if it’s available, it should be DRM-Free......iBooks, Powells, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.

If it isn’t DRM-free, it’s a glitch -- let us know, we'll get on it.
TheSFReader
178. Tod
Irene-

Awesome! Looks like I'll be shopping at Kobo a lot. They list for Steven Brust's books:

"At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied."

"Download options: EPUB (DRM-Free)"

However...

Steven Brust's books aren't listed at Powells.

iBooks and Amazon and B&N only deliver, as far as I know, specific formats for their platforms/applications, with no option to download an EPUB. (Please, save me from the cursed "helper" applications for downloading files that Amazon and Apple and probably B&N love.) If I'm mistaken, please let me know if you have a link to something that shows me how to do so.

Thanks.
Andrew Timson
179. ATimson
B&N lets you download an ePub without a helper application. To do so:

1) Sign into the site, and click My Nook at the top.
2) Click Library.
3) Click the Download link next to a book. (It may be in a big button, or in the row of links below that button, depending on the title.)
TheSFReader
180. Tod
Thanks ATimson--I haven't used B&N in a while.
TheSFReader
181. YaronD
Irene, there's still a big issue with the "if it's available thing". This is not uniform between stores, and is still limited by location.

For example (this is far from a unique case, just a specific book I explicitly checked today across all the vendors you listed so I could cite one sample I'm 100% sure of) I tried to see what happens if I try to purchase Sky Coyote from Kage Baker. And I don't live in the US.
So:
* Amazon - Not even listed, at all, same as other Kage Bakers. This isn't a region limitation, they don't have a problem to show books and write that they won't sell them.
* Powells - Not listed. They do have some other of the Kage Baker titles, but all listed as not available.
* iBooks - It's there, but you can't even register at the store if you don't have a U.S. or Canada address.
* B&N - It's there, but they don't sell eBooks without a U.S. billing address.
* Kobo - Not even there.
* Fictionwise - Not even there.
* Not sure beyond those you explicitly listed what you include in "etc", but I did check a bunch of other smaller places that pretty much across the board either I can't buy it or they don't have it and other Tor eBooks at all.

So yes, it reall is very good that you decided to drop DRM. But until you open your own store, or make an agreement with somebody who actually gets the idea, I (and every other interested potential customer from outside the US) still can't buy any Tor eBook even though I'm perfectly willing to pay. Not granting people the right to pay you money to buy the book is also a sort of digital rights managements...


OK, that's enough venting for now, thanks.
On a more productive notes, since multiple people here mentioned Bean, and other DRM-free sources like smashwords and (sometimes) Fictionwise, I'd like to mention that there are smaller publishers/groups that do sell DRM-free eBooks either directly or in smaller stores. Angry Robot, Book View Cafe, Weightless Books, etc...
Irene Gallo
182. Irene
Yaron, It is true that we can only sell books within the territories we own the rights to. It’s an issue publishing is wrestling with but, until things change, as Patrick said upstream, we cannot unilaterally rewrite existing agreements.
TheSFReader
183. YaronD
Irene, thanks for the quick response.

At least for the several books I checked so far the restrictions were not about specific books, but more global with the stores themselves (e.g. it doesn't matter if books don't have regional restrictions, B&N or iBooks would still not sell them outside of US/Canada).

The ones that didn't show them didn't do it based on, AFAIK, regional limits, and wouldn't have shown them even from the US (as I mentioned Amazon, for example, don't hide books with regional limits, they do show them, and just don't allow to buy them while being very clear on what is the cause. Most, if not all, others act similarly).

So I guess I'm wondering how your store will handle it.
If you're limited by existing agreements on about 100% of the existing catalog then obviously your store won't help here.
But if not then, well, it is (and so for these cases essentially it's not true that "You do not need to purchase books through our store to get the drm-free files"), and I suppose a large part of the reason why at least some people are waiting for your store to open instead of buying from the existing ones.
TheSFReader
184. Dennis B. Swaney
All iBooks are EPUB, though not all are DRM-free (yet).

BTW, 29 days until the Tor e-store is officially vaporware.
John Novak
185. jmnovak
For those of use who refuse to buy from stores that don't at a minimum prominently advertise the advantages of DRM-free, we're pretty much stuck waiting for the Tor store itself... so, eagerly awaiting!
TheSFReader
186. spiflication
i'm eagerly awaiting the release of the TOR.com ebook store but summer is almost over, so i hope it's coming soon! i was hoping if the people at TOR would confirm whether or not the new store will have the Black Company books finally available as ebooks? I'm dying to get them as ebooks and they would be a day one purchase for me without hesitation.
please say that they're coming!
TheSFReader
187. lost sanity
please say that your store wont discriminate based on what country you're a citizen of, i'm sick and tired of being unable to buy books online based solely on the colour of my flag!
E DM
188. ErekoseDM
so where's the Tor Store?
is tommorow Sept 21st the big day?

i need a DRM-free .epub of Gene Wolfe's Soldier of Arete.

ive smashed my head in with all the available e-vendors trying to find out what format the book will actually be in, if i can even get a copy outside of their software sandbox. none of them are getting my money at this point.
i have no interest in downloading any of their "easy helpful" software in order to read my book through them. ive got my own software.
if i could just shoot them a payment, and a zip/rar-ed DRM-free .epub showed up in my inbox that would be perfect.
TheSFReader
189. chicagodyke
i have purchased many, many Tor&co titles in my life. like, a huge amount. i'm not an "e-reader" and DRM is ap big reason why. with this change, i may rethink how i get my new books, and the method by which i read them. i'm very old school, and love books. but if you're telling me i don't have to go thru the BS that is DRM, i might be willing to update/upgrade. and that could mean hundreds, or even thousands, for Tor. say hi to CQ Yarbro for me if you're still on speaking terms.
Beth Kee
190. Beaker719
Tor, could you please provided a new estimate? I keep checking and it still says Summer of 2012. I promise to that any ebook that I buy, I will first check to see if you have it available before I go anywhere else even Amazon. :)
TheSFReader
191. Frisk
So, uhm....summer is over - in fact, the year is almost over, and no store yet?

For the past couple of years, I have hardly bought any paperback Sci-Fi/fantasy books at all, but I buy just about everything from Baen (webscription.net). I was hoping for something similar from you, and I really want to give you my money, but.....
Dennis Swaney
192. romad
Does ANYONE at TOR have a clue as to the store status? Maybe TOR does NOT want any more money?
Paul Durrant
194. pdurrant
TOR has been DRM-free for a bit over a year now. How's it gone?
Anthony Pero
195. anthonypero
That would make a good blog post, mods... Perhaps John Sargent or PNH could do a follow up post?
Katharine Duckett
196. Katharine
@195 Julie Crisp from Tor UK actually followed up on that here:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/04/tor-books-uk-drm-free-one-year-later.

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