Today has been flat-out the most interesting — and ultimately the most gratifying — book release dates I’ve had, and a lot of people are responsible for it.
As a recap for the folks who need recapping: My new book Redshirts came out today, and in its eBook format it was supposed to go out without digital rights management added to it. But when the book was released we found out that several of the major online bookstores had (for whatever reason) swaddled the book in DRM, contrary to our desires. Readers informed me, I informed Tor, Tor’s digital folks went into overdrive, both talking to the retailers to get the DRM switched off, and offering DRM-free replacement files for the people who had bought the book with it switched on. All within the space of hours.
Redshirts going out with the DRM switched on had the potential to be, bluntly, a major screw-up, but at the end of the day I think it turned into a textbook example of how to address a potential problem head on and fix it quickly and fairly for readers and buyers of the eBook.
To that end, I have people to thank.
First, thank you to everyone, here and on Twitter, who quickly reported about when and where they found DRM’d copies of Redshirts. It allowed me to give a usefully complete picture of the problem to the folks at Tor.
Second, thank you to my editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who found about the problem for me pretty much at the moment he woke up, and who started working to fix the problem roughly half a second later.
Third, thank you to Tor/Macmillan’s digital folks, and in particular Hillary Veith and Daniel Schwartz, who made contacting the retailers and offering an easy e-mail fix to affected readers their priority for the day.
Fourth, thanks to those retailers who helped to resolve the issue on their end and especially those who will follow up with their customers, so they can have the DRM-free experience they were promised.
Finally, thanks to Tor and to Macmillan for moving at unheard-of speeds to fix the problem. From my point of view, this wasn’t just a technical issue, this was my book, bought by my readers, on its release day. To have the problem recognized, addressed and solved within hours was a huge relief to me, and also showed that Tor/Macmillan are serious about this DRM-free initiative of theirs. That makes me happy, and I think should make readers happy.
And now I am going to have a cookie. Maybe even two. I deserve them, damn it.