It's been 18 months since O'Reilly, the world's largest publisher of tech books, stopped using DRM on its ebooks. In the intervening time, O'Reilly's ebook sales have increased by 104 percent. Now, when you talk about ebooks and DRM, there's always someone who'll say, "But what about [textbooks|technical books|RPG manuals]? Their target audience is so wired and online, why wouldn't they just copy the books without paying? They've all got the technical know-how."
So much for that theory.
Instead, expect to hear DRM apologists (either DRM vendors or technologically naive people in publishing who believe what DRM vendors tell them) now saying, "Oh sure, it works for O'Reilly, but those are tech books. Regular trade books can't possibly work the same way!"
During the past 18 months we've seen a dramatic shift in customer preference from print to digital when looking at sales from oreilly.com, which is a substantial sales channel for us. And looking across all of our sales channels for individual ebooks — including mobile apps — 2009 ebook revenue was up a staggering 104% on 2008 (which was more than 50% above 2007).
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