Tor/Forge, my primary science fiction publisher, announced today that their previously-announced policy of putting out their eBooks DRM-free is now being implemented, which is to say that if you buy any of their eBooks moving forward, there will be no digital rights management software on it. So go! Buy! DRM free!
And yes, this includes previously published works — Old Man’s War, The Android’s Dream, Fuzzy Nation, etc are now all being sold without DRM restrictions (Also, no, I don’t know what that means for those of you who bought copies when they were DRM’d. Check with your retailer, please.)
For those authors apprehensive about what having a DRM-free eBook out there means for sales and/or unauthorized copying, I’ll note that my anecdotal experience having Redshirts go out DRM-free has been been very positive. First, the eBook sales of Redshirts, on a week to week basis, have been substantially higher than they were for any of my previous books (for example, first week it sold roughly two and a half times as many as Fuzzy Nation did in eBook, and that book did fine eBook business its first week). Second, we’re not seeing any particular increase of instances of the book being shared in violation of copyright , i.e., dropping DRM hasn’t suddenly made it more available in the dark and stinky portions of the Internet than other (previously DRM’d) books of mine.
Bear in mind that there are a ton of caveats here relating to Redshirts sales relative to other works of mine in eBook form — for example the recent growth of the market, the subject of the book, advertising and marketing of the book, my own reputation and backlist, etc — that need to be factored in. Nevertheless, by any objective standard, Redshirts eBook sales have been very healthy and as far as I can see offering the book DRM-free has offered no visible downside as yet. I’m happy and excited to offer up the rest of my books in a DRM-free manner as well. Get them wherever you like to buy your eBooks.
(And, of course, remember that the print versions are sold without DRM as well! So if you like print, support your local bookstores.)