Fri
Jul 20 2012 11:30am

Tor/Forge E-Books Are Now DRM-Free

Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor and Forge, is pleased to announce that all of their ebooks are now available DRM-free from Amazon, B&N, Apple, Kobo, Google, and most other major ebook retailers.

“It’s clear to us that this is what our customers want,” said senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden. “We see it in the success of SF publishers like Baen and Angry Robot that have preceded us in going DRM-free. To the best of our knowledge we’re the first division of a Big Six publishing conglomerate to go down this road, but we doubt very much that we’ll be the last.”

The new DRM-free editions are available from the same retailers that have sold Tor e-books in the past. In addition, the company expects to begin selling titles through retailers that sell only DRM-free books.

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.

68 comments
Tom.S
1. Tom.S
I might be mistaken, but was Tor going to have its own E-Book store?
Melissa Shumake
2. cherie_2137
i have the same question as tom up there....
Tom.S
3. Adam Bicksler
Haha, pubishing. I offer my editing services. :)
Irene Gallo
4. Irene
Yes, we are! And working very hard at it this very moment. But DRM-free and our own store are two related but separate issues.

The plan was to be DRM-free at all retailers in July and then open our own store at the end of the summer. Our store is to be in addition to all the other places readers like to shop at.
Mouldy Squid
5. Mouldy_Squid
How is that going to work with Amazon and iTunes Bookstore? Unless I am gravely mistaken, both Amazon and iTunes add their own DRM wrappers to the e-books.

Unless these two retailers will drop DRM for their sales under pressure from the publishers, which would be great. If they don't, I don't think your DRM move will really matter, considering Amazon has 90% of the e-book market. Yes, there will always be people like me who won't buy if there is DRM, but for the greatest part of the market DRM is going to be there.
Tom.S
6. helbel
I wouldn't worry so much about Amazon and the like. I buy books from Baen, I then download them to both my Kindle via my computer and my iPhone (using the Stanza app connecting direct to the Baen website).

If Tor sold books DRM free direct then I would go direct and take the extra steps.

It helps that Baen's model is sell cheap (and take credit cards), I buy more books because of it as then I don't have to pay for shipping to the UK.
Fredrik Coulter
7. fcoulter
Amazon does not put DRM on all of their books. See
http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/01/amazon-quietly-lets-publishers-remove-drm-from-kindle-ebooks/ for more information. (A lot of the time, Amazon was putting on DRM because publishers demanded it.)

I have no idea what Apple's policy is since I don't buy books from them.

I also buy books from Baen when I can, but not every book in the world is available from them. However, I don't download Kindle books from Baen; I let Baen email them to my Kindle -- WiFi for free -- and the book is stored in Amazon's cloud automatically. I hope that Tor offers the same functionality. It makes it very easy to buy a book when I don't have a cable.
Irene Gallo
8. Irene
@5,

Amazon, iBooks, etc. have all dropped DRM on our titles. We'd love readers to buy books from our upcoming store as well, but you can receive the same files from the major retailers right now.
Tom.S
9. James Davis Nicoll
the book is stored in Amazon's cloud automatically.

So subject to erasure on Amazon's whim?
Tom.S
10. Yet Another Geek
It is because Amazon has the bulk of the market that other sellers must drop DRM. Amazon did not become the market leader by copying the small selection and slow delivery times of existing bookshops.
Tom.S
11. Aposprout
So what about if we've already purchased books. I bought a few TOR books a couple years ago from Amazon - would it be possible for me to get these readable on my Nook? Is there a way to do that?
Mouldy Squid
12. Mouldy_Squid
@ Irene,
That is great to hear. Now if only the rest of the digital economy would follow suit.
Irene Gallo
13. Irene
Aposprout,

I need to double check but last I recall, that is not under our control. You'd have to ask the retailer you purchased the book from.
Tom.S
14. Rudy TT
I have purchased many books from amazon that are without DRM. amazon adds it ONLY at the publisher's request.

Looking forward to the Tor Store going live, though.
Tom.S
15. GreenMonkey
I'm a huge fantasy/sci-fi reader, but I almost never buy DRM'd ebooks.

There's a bunch of ebooks going on my wish list today!

Thanks Tor for respecting your customers. DRM doesn't do anything to stop copyright infringement anyway.
Tom.S
16. Michael E. Cohen
@5 When you submit a book to the Apple iBookstore, the choice of whether to apply DRM to the book is up to the submitter; it's a checkbox in iTunes Producer, the application one uses to submit ebooks.
Tom.S
17. Srage Misfit
NOW I will buy an e-reader.
Tom.S
18. David Hayes (something)
Great news, makes me way more inclined to buy books from Tor. I actually want to own the things I spend money on!
(this is the world's hardest captcha)
Boyd Waters
19. watersb
I went "eBook-only" in 2008, purchased about 20 books each on Baen and Kindle; the Kindle purchases are mostly Tor novels. DRM-free makes me very happy!
Angus McIntyre
20. angusm
Thank you, Tor/Forge. Time to start working through my wishlist ...
Walker White
21. Walker
While DRM free is nice, there is something that matters more to me. Especially on SF&F like Tor publishes.

Please stop using low resolution images in eBooks. If a book has a map in it I want to be able to read the place names. Every Kindle book I have ever bought might as well have had no map at all -- completely illegible. iBooks tend to be better, but the smaller words on the map are harder to see.
Ori Avtalion
22. salty-horse
Interestingly, Kobo removed all previously-available Tor books from their "international" website, so I can't purchase any more books.

Redshirts, which I previously purchased, is available in my "Library" but I can no longer access the book's page (for example, to read it online).
Tom.S
23. Matthew MacNish
Could there ever be a better response to Penguing acquiring AS (Author Solutions)? Probably not. I attended the Tor party for about five seconds at WFC last fall, but it was so choked with amazing people I had to go back upstairs to the Nightshade Books party.

Still, pointless anecdote aside, Tor is the best thing to happen to the kind of books I love in my lifetime, so I'm ecstatic to see them jumping ahead of the curve once again.
Elliott Starr
24. thorfiemo
I have already purchased one book on the Tor backlist. Since funds are low, it will purchase as I can afford them, but definitely Tor is back on my to buy ebooks list.
Karen Lofstrom
25. DPZora
Just bought _Up Against It_ per Jo Walton's recommendation. Reasonable price, DRM-free, enjoyed the book. Happy customer.
Laura Southcott
26. tallgrass
@Aposprout (& Irene),
I emailed Amazon customer service about that. They basically told me to ask Tor...
Tom.S
27. BruceS
Kobo readers are not limited to reading books from the Kobo book store. The Kobo wireless and Kobo touch handles any epub 2 book that is DRM free or uses Adobe DRM. Sony DRM books work fine (though you have to use Adobe Digital Editions to load it onto the Kobo). All of the epub DRM free books from publishers such as Manning and Take Control that I've tried work. So Tor books from almost all booksellers should work (but not from Amazon).
Tom.S
28. jfml
You just got yourself a new customer!
Paul Ripley
29. matt1616
awesome!
in support ... just purchased "Virga: Cities of the Air" by Karl Schroeder. finding a book on kobo was actually kind of difficult since it won't let me sort or search by publisher or format type. (and i had already previously purchased most of Sanderson's and Jordan's books. they have drm so i'm hoping i can get kobo to give me the drm free versions.) i'm looking forward to the launch of the tor bookstore!
Andrew Timson
30. ATimson
@21 Low-resolution Kindle maps aren't something Tor can fix; Kindle's file format only supports images 128KB in size and smaller.
Tom.S
31. AmyCat (Book Universe)
As a bookseller, I'd love to see publishers offer e-book versions as part of new hardcover sales. Many of my customers have e-reader devices, but want to OWN what they buy as well. For myself, I've bought several Baen hardcovers (rather than waiting for the mass-markets) when those hardcovers included a Baen "Free Library" CD-ROM.
Readers often want to have a book in a "permanent" format, but wish they could re-read on an e-device while traveling. Those of my customers who buy hardcovers and get them signed by the authors attending the SF conventions where I do business, also, do not want to damage their signed books by packing them in purses or briefcases to read while commuting or whatever.
Charge an extra buck or two for "enhanced" hardcovers with a single-use code for a downloadable e-book version, and you'll sell more hardcovers.
Tom.S
32. Basel Gill
So what is the big deal about this DRM stuff? Why does it matter if a book has it or not?
Tom.S
33. Edward Bear
"most other major retailers" obviously does not apply to Books on Board, where the listing for Scalzi's "Redshirts" reads, as of about five minutes ago:

>Adobe ePub ePub eBook
>1
>Street Date(s): Tuesday, June 5, 2012
>ISBN: 9781429963602
>Total Filesize: 733 Kb
>Copy Permissions: Disabled
>Print Permissions: Disabled
>Lend Permissions: Disabled
>Read Aloud Feature: Not supported.
>Expiration: Never expires

Disabled == DRM-infested
Tom.S
34. Edward Bear
@32,
DRM means YOU don't actually OWN the book you bought. You are limited to whatever hardware and software the seller chose when they locked it, and if that hardware or software ever fails/becomes obsolete or the original is not available for download later, you're out of luck without buying it all over again.

With DRM, you can only read Kindle books on Kindle, Nook books on Nook, etc. etc. You can't stuff them into, say, Stanza, or MegaReader or whatever you may choose.

Without DRM, you can freely convert Kindle mobi to Nook ePub and back, or any other format of your choice including good ol' HTML if you please, and read it when you choose, where you choose, and how you choose.

And, if you back it up properly, you NEVER lose access to your library. Ever.

Too many in the "content industries" think they own their customers and not just what they sell. That is what the fuss about DRM is all about. Digital slavery versus digital freedom.
Tom.S
35. Nate_
@30

Actually, 128KB is a pretty big image file. Depending on the compression it is usually enought for an image of around 800x800.
Deborah Fishburn
36. DebF
Hooray! Now I guess I have to wait to see what you do with the e-store. Note that I'm also a Baen customer, so I have high expectations that I should be able to buy the book first, and THEN choose the download format (or download in another format later). Also that I should be alerted if I try and buy a book I already own...
Andrew Love
37. Andy Love
I don't see an easy way to see if books at the Sony ebook bookstore are DRM-free or not; anyone have any ideas? If not, I'll just wait for the Tor store to open.
Tom.S
38. Vorynn
I love this policy, though apparently it may take some time for Amazon to get in gear with it.

Since they claimed to be DRM free, I purchased the entire Wheel of Time series from Amazon, along with John Scalzi's "Redshirts". Then I converted them all to .mobi using Calibre.. and woops! Turns out Amazon was sending DRMed files for two of the books (WOT book 6 "Lord of Chaos" and WOT book 13 "Towers of Midnight") so they were not able to be converted for reading, even though the product pages claimed to be DRM-free at the publisher's request.

It's cool though, amazingly Amazon accepted a return/refund for those books, and I was able to get the proper DRM free versions from Kobo :)

Thank you, Tor, for finally making ebooks a palatable thing to buy!(even if it is ridiculous for them to be more expensive than the DRM-free paperback editions that look great on my shelf but are marginally more annoying to read on the bus)
Tom.S
39. Valentine Smith
I just downloaded Redshirts for the Kindle. There's no file I can find that can be transfered. Is it DRM free? When I get an mp3 I can share it. Can't I do the same with a DRM free book I buy from Tor? Or am I missing something?
Tom.S
40. Arila
This is great news, and changes the probability of my buying ebooks from you from 0% to somewhere closer to 75%....for the right price.

Digital media/entertainment seems to be working OK for places like netflix/Hulu at about $8 for a month's worth of entertainment. It doesn't take me that long to read a book, especially if I were to dedicate the same amount of time as watching TV, and you guys should consider that in the pricing. What's the right price/hour of entertainment I'm getting. That's what I consider when buying.

But, DRM-free is a great start as well.
Tom.S
41. Dean B.
I wanna Stubby t-shirt, I wanna Stubby t-shirt!!
Irene Gallo
42. Irene
Ha! We do a terrible job promoting this but, we do have a Tor.com Zazzle shop!
Tom.S
43. Nate_
@Irene

Why does the title still say that your ebooks are DRM free when that is clearly not the case?
Tom.S
44. Worldwalker
DRM only hurts the good guys; it doesn't even slow down the bad guys. I refuse to buy DRM-locked ebooks. That's why companies like Baen have gotten so much more of my money in the past few years than Tor has. I'm glad to see the change (though I wouldn't mind Baen's pricing structure to go with it!). Now I just need to track down a place selling the epubs of a few books I want (and y'all need to open your bookstore).

Re: pricing -- remember that your ebooks aren't competing with hardcovers; they're competing with mass-market paperbacks. There are more books out there than anyone has time to read. If they have a choice between two of them, and one costs twice as much as the other, all other things being equal they'll pick the cheaper one. The paperback instead of the hardcover, for instance. Publishers forget that at their financial peril.
Tom.S
45. Nate_
I still want to knwo why To-Forge is claiming to have gone DRM free when that is not what happened.
Tom.S
46. thorfiemo
Re: Nate

I don't know where you have been trying to buy Tor ebooks, but I got two from B&N and had no trouble changing the metadata so that I could store them properly on my Nook. I could also read them in both Calibre and on the Adobe Digital Editions. That tells me that they are no longer encrypted.
Tom.S
47. Nate_
@46 So what?

Those same ebooks aren't DRM-free when purchased from Books on Board. Didn't you bother to read the comments?
Tom.S
48. thorfiemo
Then you need to change where you buy your ebooks. You might also ask Books on Board for a refund.
Tom.S
49. Nate_
@48 Again, why? BonB didn't promise that the ebooks would be DRM-free. Tor was the one who lied, so I don't see a reason to punish BonB.
Irene Gallo
50. Irene
Nate,
If you are having trouble receiving drm-free ebooks from Books on Board it is due to a technical problem with one of our vendors. Thank you for the heads-up, we are looking into it. If you email me your receipt, we would be happy to replace the books you have purchased. Irene.gallo@tor.com
Tom.S
52. Paul1
Hi Irene,

DRM-free from Amazon, B&N, Apple, Google, and most other major ebook retailers ... don't meet my requirements (for one reason or another). I tried Kobo and they work, but a purchase is required for EACH individual ebook ! As i'm looking at buying more than 157 Tor ebooks the logistics of so many individual purchases becomes poor. So i'm hoping your ebook store uses a cart system so i can buy (say) 20 ebooks at a time (using PayPal).

Hopefully all of your current ebooks will still be available when the store opens.

Thanks Tor for the DRM-free ebooks.
Tom.S
53. Yams
I am also curious about previously purchased TOR ebooks. I tried redownloading one from Amazon and it still had the DRM attached. Going to e-mail Amazon CS about it but definitely going to keep checking here as well in case anyone else finds more information about this.
Tom.S
54. William Sullivan
I love buying DRM-free ebooks directly from publishers. I find that publishers take much greater care with the ebooks and I appreciate getting a better made product. I eagerly await the tor ebookstore, where I will happily buy my future tor ebooks.
Tom.S
55. Sagesmondo
Thanks for the sweet relief from these ridiculous DRM headaches. Just bought some Herbert and will be buying a lot more. Hope the Tor Store gets here soon!
Tom.S
56. thorfiemo
I just bought the first of the David Weber Safehold series in ebook. I refused to buy them while they were encrypted. As you bring the price down on the others, I will buy them. I have ALL of his Baen ebooks, and have been waiting for them(the Tor ebooks) to become DRM free. Remember, as another poster noted, you are not competing with hardcovers, but with mass market paperbacks. So that you know that I WILL be a customer as long as the books are unencrypted, I have been buying ebooks since 2000, when Baen started their ebook store, and have spent about $2000 over that period for ebooks. I have over 800 ebooks on my Nook, and all but your 2, and several from other unencrypted publishers, were bought from Baen. I hope to become a good customer of yours, and would rather buy direct from you than from B&N.
Tom.S
57. EMB
It's great to see that Tor has gone DRM-free, but you still need to take a serious look at your prices. When ebooks are more expensive than brand new hardcovers, something is wrong (and all the more so when they cost as much as 50% more).

Yes, I'm happy enough with your DRM decision that I'll probably buy a few ebooks from you in the near future, but after that it'll be back to Baen.
Andrew Love
58. Andy Love
I don't see an easy way to see if books at the Sony ebook bookstore are DRM-free or not; anyone have any ideas? If not, I'll just wait for the Tor store to open.
To answer my own question, the last time I went to the Sony ebook store, I searched for "DRM free" and got a list of 109 books available without DRM.
Tom.S
59. jsm201
Some of the best books I have ever read have been from this publisher.

I have been visiting this website every week to see if the store is open. I don't trust any of the other sellers to really sell the books DRM free. If Tor says that they want their books to go out DRM free, does that mean that a retailer has to sell them that way? Kindle, Nook, Sony, etc. set up DRM in the first place because it is so beneficial to them, why would they want to stop encrypting what they sell?

I am eagerly awaiting the opening of the Tor store.
Tom.S
60. VHI
I bought a Tor-book from the Itunes store a few days ago, but disappointingly it still has DRM, so now I can only read it on my iphone. Will the Tor store sell DRM-free ebooks to international readers, or only in the US?
Tom.S
61. User-name
Another reason for DRM free (hopefully a reason that will pass) - some early ebooks were very poorly formatted and proofed. Without DRM, spelling mistakes and formatting errors can now be fixed by the reader, should they so desire.

I notice some comments saying that current downloads still have DRM, it needs to be easier to find on the retailer's product page if a book is DRM free or not.

However, well done TOR.
John Desmarais
62. JohnDesmarais
Well, I just bought The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There from BN.com, and it was NOT drm-free. Since this book was just released - well after the announcement "that all of their ebooks are now available DRM-free from Amazon, B&N, Apple, Kobo, Google, and most other major ebook retailers" - I find this quite disappointing.

I guess I won't be buying anymore books from Tor.
Irene Gallo
63. Irene
John,

I am sorry about the confusion but the Girl Who series is published by Feiwel & Friends, not by Tor Books. We do not have control over this series.
John Desmarais
64. JohnDesmarais
@Irene. Really? Poop! (I guess that's whagt happend when you just start following links)
Tom.S
65. jyapayne
I'm thinking of creating a website that hosts drm-free ebook content. Let me know what you think here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M27K2SF
Tom.S
66. Adrian Lian
hi guys.... i'm a new writer and i'm currently working on my first fantasy novel. I'm about one to two months from completing it and am wondering if anyone could help me out with the publishing and editing. I'm not too sure how should i proceed once i'm done. i live in malaysia btw... cheers
Tom.S
68. Trev
Any news on the Tor store? I don't think it is currently possible to buy and download a DRM-free TOR book to my Linux laptop yet i.e. to download Amazon requires you have the Kindle program only for Windows and Apple requires you have an Itunes only for Windows and Apple. Oh well, I guess I can still get my science fiction and fantasy kicks from Baen / Angry Robot / Smashwords.
Tom.S
69. Carl Fink
Guys? What's the holdup? Tor UK has a fully-functional DRM-free ebook store. Can't you just use their existing code and be up and running in like, one day? Because ... I could, and I'm very out-of-practice at IT stuff.
Tom.S
72. Mike Holding
Awesome, so glad to see such a major publisher taking it's customers seriously, if you have an item for sale at a resonable "demand" level people will pay (I'd buy and stop waiting months for my library yto get books in for example) - everyone wins, everyone's happy.

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