What to Do If You Got a DRM’d Copy of Redshirts

Some retailers did not get the memo that Redshirts was meant to be drm-free and as a result some of you got drm’d ebooks. Well, we can’t have that. So if you got a drm’d copy, here’s what to do:

1. Send a copy of your receipt to “redshirtsdrm@macmillanusa.com” and specify if you prefer mobi (kindle) or epub (everything else) format.

2. They’ll send you a drm-free replacement copy in an email.

3. That’s it.

I’d say more but I’m in the bowels of the Javits center with almost no Internet. But this gets to the point.

39 Comments on “What to Do If You Got a DRM’d Copy of Redshirts”

  1. Hi Scalzi!

    I just finished reading “Redshirts” on my Kindle and I loved it! I’ll be at your talk in Pasadena next month, so I’m looking forward to the talk.

    As far as DRM is concerned, I just started reading ebooks six months ago. How can you tell if you have a DRM’d copy of something?

  2. It never ceases to amaze me that New York has such a poorly executed convention center. No subway. Sporadic internet/signal. WTF NY? (I say this as a NY suburbanite: the Javits brings shame on us all.)

  3. Wooo!!!

    Off to shoot an e-mail. I was just going to strip the thing (because Sony is apparently being stupid) but I like this option better.

  4. If you can’t open it and read in an independent program (like Calibre) it is probably DRMd. Without DRM, you should be able to change the file format (ie from .mobi to .epub) and/or read it on any device or program you like, without having to log into anything or “authorize” your device. If you only ever read on the one kindle it probably won’t make much difference to you, but if you ever want to switch reader type or accounts or anything really, you will probably lose access to anything with DRM.

  5. But I can’t get it in the Urdu edition from my Outer Mongolia IP address! Wah!

  6. For anyone that is wondering…. I got my reply e-mail with attachment within about two minutes. Very impressed with Tor today!

  7. All going to have wait until tomorrow for me. As a relic who only knows how to read novels from carbon based surfaces, I’ll be picking up my hardcopy tomorrow. As a bigger issue: I work in downtown Indianapolis and there is not a single bookstore within the downtown area. How can a major city (14th largest in the country?) not have a single bookstore downtown?

  8. That is bizarre Kilroy. I’m originally from Muncie, and they even have a Books a Million there now.

  9. Finally got mine! Had to reset the Nook app on my phone, and find an excuse to be outside the office for about 10 minutes (no phones allowed), and JOY!

    Are you at all interested in errata? In my copy, I think there’s a glitch in Chapter 10 where Kerensky says something that should have been Jenkins …

  10. Hi John,

    Thanks for the PSA about this. Do you happen to (or does MacMillan happen to) have a list of the vendors that didn’t sell it DRM free? I bought mine via B&N, and my understanding was it was DRM free, but I’ve seen some offhand comments that it’s not. I’m not in a position where I can try and strip it myself, and probably won’t be for a while, but would like to get the ball rolling if I’m ‘owed’ a new copy.


  11. I got a very quick response from MacMillan. Commendable classiness from the world of publishing today.

  12. Follow-up: I complained to Apple about my DRM-laden copy of Redshirts before Tor announced the replacement policy, and just now Apple responded and told me that the iBookstore would refund my money. My quandary? I’d love a non-DRM copy of the book, but I don’t want to rip John or Tor off by sending my iBookstore receipt in for the replacement, inasmuch as it would result in my getting a free book (with my refund, John and Tor would end up getting no payment, and I’d have two copies of the book: a protected one, and a free one).

    What should I do? Keep my protected copy and buy a non-protected copy once the refund arrives? That would be the most ethical thing to do, and probably what I will do.

  13. “david says:
    June 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm
    Are you at all interested in errata? In my copy, I think there’s a glitch in Chapter 10 where Kerensky says something that should have been Jenkins …”

    I have that too in my copy from the Amazon Kindle store.

  14. Thank you. I was likely to buy the Kindle version eventually anyway, but this seals it. Money, mouth, all that.

  15. You see, I’m not up on Digitial tech as much as I once was; being in grad school, teaching business and sociologists* statistics and running a small side-business you can forgive me.

    But unless it’s a hair-rending experience to use or unless I’ll clearly lose content I paid for I’m cool with it.

    * if it’s anywhere near as hair-rending as teaching sociologists statistics I’ll probably end up throwing my kindle 2 through a wall.

  16. As of about ten minutes ago Amazon (US) was still shipping the DRM version. I’ll send for the non-DRM version as soon as the emailed receipt arrives. Great work by Tor in getting out in front of this so fast.

    I won’t say that this made me buy the book, because I buy all of Scalzi’s stuff regardless. However, he’s on a very short list in that respect. It WILL make me more likely to buy books from Tor in general. Knowing that my book investment isn’t going to go “poof” due to factors outside my control makes me a happy customer.

  17. Has anyone who bought it on Kindle had issues? I bought it and tried copying it to my wife’s Kindle (different account, same household) and it says “This item cannot be opened because it is licensed to a different user. Delete this item and re-download it from your Archived items or purchase a copy from the Kindle Store”. That sounds DRM’d to me. I thought Amazon was supposed to be one or the ones known to have gotten it right.

  18. Michael Cohen: I am terribly tempted to keep my Apple copy, and ask macmillian for the drm-free version, as I want John and Tor to get paid, and I bet the market signal of “drm-free sells books” will work just as well when Tor has to respond, as it would when copies are bought after Apple/Amazon get their act together.

    John/Tor: very, very cool. Responsive, too.

  19. Kobo in Canada has DRM copies. Many thanks to your publisher for providing free replacements. I can’t wait for the store to open so I can buy my books direct.

    All I have to do now is wait till they get to work today to see my email and send me a new copy. That’s the problem when you find out about things like this at 1am.

  20. 10:15 PM PDT. Bought iTunes Apple version and it is now DRM free. They still need to say so and note that you can read it on your computer with an eBook reader.

  21. Wait, so Amazon wasn’t sending out DRM-free copies? I pre-ordered it for my Kindle and received the ebook at midnight. I’m still unclear as to how to check if my copy has DRM or not. Someone help a newb out?

  22. @Auror: probably the easiest way is to try to convert it to a different format. First, connect your Kindle to your computer and find the book. Depending on the Kindle model, the correct folder may be named either Documents or Books — if your Kindle has both Books and Documents, it will be in Books. If it just has Documents (or documents) it will be in Documents, Next, copy the AZW file to your desktop. Finally, try to open it in Calibre, http://calibre-ebook.com/ If the file has DRM, Calibre will tell you that and refuse to open it.

    If by “midnight” you mean “the instant it was released” you very likely have a DRM copy. I ordered mine at about 7:00 CDT the next evening and it still had DRM. No problem, though. When the receipt arrived several hours later (normal for a Kindle purchase), I shipped it off to the address given, and had a replacement copy in my email when I got up this morning. Again, nice work on the part of Tor/Macmillan.

  23. My kindle version had DRM. I complained to Amazon Cust. Svc. who wouldn’t do anything about it so I voted with my wallet and returned that copy and bought a new copy via Apple iBooks. Yes, I could have used the link from this post to get a DRM free version of my original purchase, but I’d rather reward the company that did the right thing and fixed the issue. Apple apparently had problems at first but got it straightened out and the version I got from them was DRM-free.

    Perhaps more importantly, I’m enjoying the book. Nice work, John!

  24. Just bought the iBook version from the Apple store (Canadian). It still has the DRM. I tried to move it to my Kobo, or to any number of other ePub readers I have and no joy. So I followed the excellent instructions John left here (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/06/05/a-quick-bit-of-customer-service-re-redshirts/) and fixed it :D I wanted to start reading this tonight and I don’t want to have to bother anyone at TOR for a copy this evening when I can do this fairly easily.

  25. I love the DRM-free stance on the book.
    I wish it extended to the audio book version. I’d love to be able to get the audiobook from Audible.com (or elsewhere) and listen to it on my open-source Rockbox-based mp3 player.

  26. To ApK-To convert the audio book to mp3, just burn the file to CD’s(so you can hear it in your car-wink, wink), then load the CD’s to your computer as mp3’s. Takes a little time, but very easy.

  27. I love the DRM-free stance and want to by the book Right Now. Um. I’m a bit embarrassed to ask this here, but I can’t figure out where I can buy a DRM-free copy in a format that I’ll be able to read (epub)!

    I read my books on my Nokia N9, which is an excellent smartphone running on a dead Linux-based platform (Meego 1.2 Harmattan). There’s a nice e-book reader app for it (FBReader), which can read epub just fine, if only I knew where I could buy one…

    The list of e-book stores on the macmillan.com website looks like a list of e-book reader devices — Barnes & Noble nook (“available on NOOK devices and apps” — I don’t have a Nook, and I’ve no idea what format it uses), Apple iBookstore (the only Apple device I own is a Bluetooth keyboard. Can’t read books on it), Sony Reader (don’t own any), Kobo (redirects me to the front page, searching for ‘Scalzi’ finds zero books), Google eBooks (won’t even open — I briefly see a new browser tab flashing in my Chromium browser, but it disappears right away).


  28. Thanks Joules for the suggestion of finding the ePub on Google books. I know the other versions can be easily converted with Calibre, but I’d like to buy the book directly in ePub (instead of artificially boosting the numbers for eReaders I don’t own). I think a “Nook Book” is an ePub file, but the stores make a point of saying it’s a Nook format without ever mentioning it’s ePub (like those “compatible with iPod” earphones that use a standard jack).

    I find it a little sad that the top 6 (six!) links for “redshirts epub” are all offering illegitimate downloads with this blog post being the seventh result.

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