Home Books DRM Free • What is DRM?

DRM Free • What is DRM?

Published on October 25, 2012 by

I have a dream that one day all books will be DRM free.

All my eBooks are DRM free.


What is DRM?

DRM: Digital Rights Management

For those of you that don’t know, DRM is basically the technology that prevents you from sharing something digital (e.g. a game, a book, or a song) to other people. It limits unauthorized copying, sharing and printing etc.

For the longest time, pretty much every single eBook had DRM encrypted into it. Apart from sharing with others, it also prevents you from using it on another device. For example, if you own a Kobo, but you bought an eBook from Barnes & Noble, you could not read it on your Kobo, but only on a Barnes & Noble Nook, and so on.

You cannot share it with a friend, or your partner, or child, onto their device. There are many limitations and variations on this technology.

Recently, however, following pressure from independent authors, vendors are now beginning to let publishers choose whether to add DRM to their books or not. Thankfully, Amazon is now also offering this option and most indies are choosing to go DRM free –including myself.

The greatest negative I find with eBooks, is the inability to share. If someone in my office has a book and they want me to read it, they just throw it on my desk. Several of us like reading the same kind of book, so that happens often. But now that some of us have gone digital, it makes it very hard. Although sharing can still be achieved fairly easily with downloadable eBook management programs such as Calibre, it shouldn’t have to be that way.

If people want to pirate and distribute something, DRM isn’t going to stop them, as has been proven for the last 20 years with computer apps.

Although we are now heading in the right direction, there still needs to be changes. An ultimate end goal would be being able to swap and lend books to each other over multiple devices (no matter the brand) and not have to try to cheat the system or feel guilty about it. And we should be able to do it with simple Bluetooth/3G/WiFi to each others devices. Then reading would turn into the social activity it often is with paperbacks.

If you are an author or publisher, PLEASE make sure you go DRM free.

1 Comment  comments 

One Response

  1. This is an important issue, and what bugs me about Amazon (and probably the others) is that the DRM setting is permanent. I can understand making the DRM-free choice be permanent (there’s no point closing the barn door after the horses are gone), but it should be possible to stop using DRM. Instead of being “DRM settings are permanent” it should be “disabling DRM is permanent.”

    I’ve been against DRM for a lot longer than I’ve been self-publishing my books, but somehow I managed to have DRM enabled for the Kindle edition of my self-published novel. I can’t imagine any reason I would have done that on purpose, but however it happened, that mistake is permanent. Apparently the only way to fix that is to remove the title entirely and start over, but I don’t know what other problems that might cause (e.g., maybe losing reviews posted for the DRM-enabled title, etc.).

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