Redshirts eBook to Be DRM-Free From Day One

By now, you have probably read that Tor Books (along with the other divisions of Tom Doherty Associates) will be releasing all their eBooks DRM-free by July of this year. But some of you have wondered what that means for my upcoming novel Redshirts, which comes out June 5. Will it have DRM on it when it comes out? Or will it be DRM-free from the very moment of its release? Here comes the official notice:

Yes, the Redshirts eBook will be DRM-free from the day of release.

Therefore, you eBook lovers will have absolutely no reason not to buy the book the very second it is available, thus driving my sales through the stratosphere, making my publisher very happy and showering me with precious, precious coin that I can convert into my daughter’s college education, and also maybe a hot tub. For the cats. Hey, some cats like hot tubs. This is what I hear.

(My thanks to Hillary Veith and all the other cool cats at Macmillan Digital for letting me get just a tiny bit ahead of the curve here. You guys rock.)

Also: The print edition will be DRM-free, too! So that’s an option for you as well, don’t forget. We like the stores that have the physical version as well. They make great gifts, as well as objects for me to sign when I am on my book tour this June (the dates of which are being finalized as I type this). Camp out at your favorite local bookstore! It’s not too early to get in line!

Point is: No matter in which medium you buy Redshirts, it will be totally yours to do with as you will.

And there you have it.

47 Comments on “Redshirts eBook to Be DRM-Free From Day One”

  1. Weird. I was going to pre-order it from B&N as a result of this, but… I can’t. I can get chapters 1-4 for free (or pre-order the print version for $16.32).

    Very strange!

  2. In a word: awesome.

    (Also, now I want an ebook app that enables touch-screen autographs to be saved to an ePub file.)

  3. You know what would be neat? Lots of readers still buy the physical dead-tree books because “they want something for their favorite authors to sign”. I know that lots of merchants who use POS terminals have an electronic “pen” that you can use to “sign” the credit card slip. It’d be nifty if e-readers came with just such a “pen”, so that authors could digitally “sign” someone’s e-book with their actual signature. For all I know, it’d drive pricing through the stratosphere, so I’m wondering how practical an idea that would be. I wonder if anyone who knows more about that stuff than I do would weigh in with their thoughts?

  4. Fantastic! I’ll probably get the ebook version, even though I prefer print, because the release coincides with some travel plans of mine…glad to see I’ll be protected if the ebook industry goes through some major changes in the future.

  5. Carolc:

    Tor only owns the right in the US and Canada. I’ll have news about releases elsewhere when they happen.


    I have no idea. Although, you know. If you frequent an online bookstore that insists on DRM for Redshirts, buy it elsewhere.

  6. Joe, Apple’s iBookstore does not force DRM — I bought Gould’s Jumper there, and it did not have DRM. Doctorow was talking about the audio book, which comes via Audible as far as I know. (And Charlie Stross’ article about this mentions the problem continuing with audiobooks, for some strange reason.)

  7. I do not know if all cats like hot tubs. However, I can attest that in our sample size of 2, fully 50% of the dogs in our house have to be physically restrained from joining us in the hot tub or treated to a session-long chorus of “No, boy, down, boy, no! No!”

    Other dogs may like the hot tub, but we have not tested this: they are restrained by the fence.

    (And also, the DRM-free thing means I might buy an electronic copy of Redshirts.)

  8. Redshirts has accomplied something for me that’s unique. I’ve had a copy since the Library fund raiser months ago. It’s been at the top of my ‘books in print to read’ pile ever since. The problem is that my ‘books to read on my kindle’ list has never been empty and that has, for 5? years, trumped my print list.. until last night. I picked up the 4 chapter preview, finished it, and then went to get my printed copy of the book.

    Congrats, you hooked me so thoroughly in the first chapter that I can no longer say I haven’t read a print book since I got my first ebook reader.

  9. Today I have pre-ordered my DRM-free hardcover copy of Redshirts from Amazon. I am happy to support the revolution!

  10. DRM FREE!

    Man, I wrote every major publisher about this years ago, including Amazon for creating a proprietary DRM rather than at least using the standard.

    Glad publishers are beginning to think! I seriously believe this move will help publishers in their battle against Amazon.

  11. I will load my copy on Calibre anyway – but the DRM breaker won’t have to do anything.

    If you were going to be at MileHiCon, I’d get the dead tree version, but I’m retired and will be giving up my dead tree library in the next couple of years, but still want to read.

    The dead tree version doesn’t back up as well though. A copy that is dropped in the bathtub doesn’t restore as nicely.

  12. Jennifer Davis Ewing:
    Never mind the e-pen, come armed with your Kindle or iPad and a sharpie! :)

  13. If I buy a copy first week, can I expect a photo of a cat in a hot tub?

    Pretty sure if I tried to hold one of our cats in a hot tub long enough for a photo–well, red shirts all around.

  14. My solution was to present John with the back surface of my Nook. I did have a Sharpie in hand, but I think the pen he was using worked fine. Unfortunately, if you like to go for lots of signatures, you will end up running out of room. Then I guess there is nothing for it but to hang it on the wall, with the screen facing in and buy another reader. Signing the leatherette case might be more practical, as those are less expensive to swap out. When I removed the cover the other day, I discovered that I had two Scalzi signatures, one on the Nook and one on facing surface of the case.

    I think most cats would prefer an air hockey table to a hot tub.

  15. Awesome! Now my plan is to get the ebook ASAP for immediate reading gratification and then ask for a signed copy at Christmas when you autograph at your local bookstore!

  16. Hasn’t Baen been publishing ebooks DRM free for almost 10 years? Have you heard any negative feedback from their authors regarding violation of copywriter?

  17. Yippee! Also, I finally managed to hack a tablet into letting me into the U.S. Kindle store. Which means a nominal fee for your coffee shop book should be winging its way toward you.

    Yes, I hack to find ways to pay people for their work.

  18. @Jennifer Davis Ewing Some Sony readers have touch screens and come with a stylus. You can annotate a book and the annotation will be saved with the book. You could easily have an author sign one of those today.

  19. This is good to see. Any idea if your ebooks will be available (with or without DRM) on for Asia Pacific region readers? (All your ebooks are listed as unavailable for me on

  20. I’m too someone who would love to read the book, but happens not to be in the USA, so the digital version isn’t available. Else I will have to take the physical edition, which while great because physical, means a) even less shelf-space for me and b) having to wait a few days!

  21. “Therefore, you eBook lovers will have absolutely no reason not to buy the book the very second it is available”

    Other than , you know, it not being available for me to buy from Brazil. But good news about the end of DRM.

  22. Probably stupid question: Does it make a difference for the artist where one buys ones Ebooks? I assume not, but I am not quite 100% sure.

  23. Hey, do you have the time of release accurate to the second? Because then we’ll really be able to park on the purchase page and buy the book the very second it is available

  24. What I would absolutely love (and pay more for actually) is getting the ebook together with maybe the hardcover. What are your thoughts on this?

  25. So if Tor owns the rights to your books in the US and Canada, is there a chance we’ll get to see you north of the border on your book tour?

  26. Old Man’s War was my first eBook purchase. I was going to buy Redshirts anyway.

    DRM-free? Bonus.

  27. I find the use of DRM really annoying and simply do not understand the point if it. It is so easy to strip DRM from books I doubt if it has any impact at all on the availability of pirated books. It simply makes life more inconvenient for those of us who actually pay for our eBooks. I am really glad to read that Tor books have taken the brave decision to go DRM free. As a UK customer I can only hope that your UK publisher follows their example.


  28. Yay! Good for you, Mr. Scalzi. That said, I wish this posting was more about me. But I always say this to my cat, Dangerous Rodent Monster. DRM listens, too. He nods and everything. With all these constipated gerbils running around here, I can’t imagine living in a DRM-free world. A DRM-book just makes it that much more manageable.
    Thank you,
    DRM, in guise of DWH

  29. This is great news! I am very excited to have a copy that I won’t have to worry about being tied to a device forever. Thanks for pushing this through.

  30. I’d pay MSRP for a hardcover book if an ebook download was included. No discounted price from online retailer necessary – I’d even visit a REAL live bookstore for such a deal. I won’t hold my breath though. Your books are among the few that I buy on paper (so I may gaze upon them on the shelf), but I think TOR dropping DRM may be a tipping point for me.

  31. Joe: Apple for example seems to be 100% DRM required (See Cory Doctorow’s experience with With A Little Help

    A few years ago, publishers might have thought Apple was doing them a favor protecting their content, but I think now they might start realizing that Apple is simply trying to enforce a monopoly towards its particular hardware, which is very very bad for publishers. So maybe we’ll start seeing corporate pushback on this sort of behavior.

  32. Interesting and fascinating!

    Do you happen to have any news about the audiobook of Redshirts, where/when it might be available? ‘Cause, you know… John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton. It’s the Reeses PBC of SF. =D

  33. For those of you that want e-books with your hardcopy, many of Baen’s hardbacks include a CD with the author’s ebooks. For example, if you buy the latest Honor Harrington novel by David Weber from Baen, you get a CD with all the previous Honor Harrington novels on it. This strikes me as a good idea, because it gives new readers the ability to join a series in the middle and catch up.

    As for autographs… when I caught up with Eric Flint at Dragon*Con a few years ago, I had my Sony eReader with several of his books loaded on it with me, so he signed the inside cover of my eReader when I asked. It seemed appropriate, considering we had exchanged letters on the subject of ebooks and the Baen Free Library.

  34. I’m in. ;) Only question here is whether we’ll buy the ebook, the hardcover, or both… My wife still prefers dead trees, whereas I rarely read books that way these days.

  35. John Scalzi said:

    They make great gifts, as well as objects for me to sign when I am on my book tour this June

    And hats. Don’t forget the hats.

  36. Oooh, you are teh suxx.

    “Teh suxx” the money right out of my credit card, that is. Here was me thinking I’d never actually be able to buy your ebooks and suddenly an attack of common sense from your publisher and blam!

    Also, June 5? That’s minutes and minutes away! The waiting, it burns!

  37. I would rather have it with DRM. Now it seems I can’t get it at all in Finland, at least it isn’t available in Kindle store. Geographical restrictions REALLY suck, especially when they don’t make any sense. I don’t believe that they would be any market for the English language rights in Finland.

  38. I agree with tpi. This is the first time I’ll have problems with geographical restrictions with my Kindle. If I could get the e-book, I’ll buy it right when it comes out (can’t wait!). Paying import duties and shipping to Denmark, then waiting for like a month for the hardcover to arrive is way more painful than DRM.

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