John Scalzi, Charlie Stross and I explain why Tor Books went DRM-free

Today I appeared in a group presentation of Tor Books authors -- Charlie Stross, John Scalzi and me -- and Macmillan USA's Executive Vice President for Digital Publishing and Technology -- Fritz Foy -- at Book Expo America in New York City. We were there to explain to the publishing world why Tor Books is the first major publisher to go DRM-free for its ebooks, and what's coming next:

In addition, Foy officially announced that a new Tor/Forge DRM-free e-book store will debut here on in late summer, 2012. has a write-up of our remarks. I believe there'll be a video soon, as well.

Tor Books Announces E-book Store: Doctorow, Scalzi & Stross Talk DRM-Free


  1. Quote:

    But Doctorow thinks books are different because, “people of the book. We evolved with books right alongside dogs. And just as you have a visceral reaction against eating a dog, you wouldn’t want to eat a book.”

    Cory, did a big chunk of this statement of yours get eaten by the journalist’s iPad? Would you clarify and enhance, so I (and others) can understand what you’re saying? It seems like there’s something missing before “people of the book” – and what the heck does eating dogs have to do with books or DRM? …is “eating dogs” a metaphor for something deeper? – Please clarify, kind sir (PS – people with pica sometimes eat books. Not sure about dogs!)

  2. Still going to have the geographical restrictions crap?  I don’t really care about DRM, I might if I could actually purchase ebooks.

    It seems  a bit stupid to me, and some others I know, that just because I’m not located in the middle bit of the american continent, I can’t buy stuff.

  3. Are you signing anywhere Tuesday or Wednesday?  I see Scalzi and Stross on the BEA program, but you’re absent from the list.

  4. DRM or no, $12 for Scalzi’s new Redshirts as an ebook is outrageous, escpecially when the ^hardcover^ deadtree version, delivered, is $1 more.

  5. Uh-huh.  So I guess O’Reilly doesn’t qualify as a major publisher these days.

    And sorry, the thing about “people of the book” is pure and utter bullshit, as with the dogs. 

    People eat dogs. Lots of dogs. Otoh, two rather large groups on this planet abhor eating pigs and cattle, respectively, two staple foods in the West.

    And it’s *Librarians* who destroy books. Because they have to. It’s not evolution that make people shy away from destroying books, but social norms. Thankfully, it’s not as strict as Islamic customs with regard the Quaran and related books.  

    Admittedly, I don’t get the metaphor anyway.  An ebook is the ultimate disposable book, deleting it means nothing, because it can be easily copied again.  It’s not DRM that makes ebooks so.  If anything, DRM would strengthen that “special” quality, because deleting a protected book *can* lead to the same hassle as throwing away a paperback from the 1970s. 

  6.  I’m slightly nervous seeing so many of my favourite authors in one place, what if they got hit by a meteor?!

    1. They’re minor. They’re huge in the sub-genres they specialize in, but overall they’re a small publisher. On the other hand I wouldn’t be surprised if they were held  up as an example of success in ebooks without DRM during internal meetings at Tor.

  7.  Small compared to Tor? Seems like they both publish about the same number of titles each year. I can definitely see small compared to McMillan, but McMillan in its entirety isn’t going DRM-free, just the Tor imprint.

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