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Which ebook sellers will allow publishers and writers to opt out of DRM?

My August Publishers Weekly column reports in on my experiment to see which of the major ebook stores would carry my books without DRM, and with a text disclaimer at the beginning that released readers from the crazy, abusive license agreements that most of these stores demand as a condition of purchase. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo were all happy to carry my books without DRM, and on terms that gave you the same rights you got when buying paper editions. Sony and Apple refused to carry my books without DRM -- even though my publisher and I both asked them to.

The upshot is that you can now buy electronic editions of my books in the Kindle, Nook and Kobo stores in DRM-free, EULA-free editions!

In May, I cornered Macmillan CEO John Sargent and CTO Fritz Foy at the Macmillan BEA party. As the publishers of my books with Tor, I asked them if they'd be willing to try offering my e-books to all the major online booksellers—Amazon's Kindle store, Apple's iPad store, Barnes & Noble's Nook store, Sony's e-book store, and Kobo—as DRM-free products with the following text inserted at the beginning of the file:

"If the seller of this electronic version has imposed contractual or technical restrictions on it such that you have difficulty reformatting or converting this book for use on another device or in another program, please visit http://craphound.com for alternate, open format versions, authorized by the copyright holder for this work, Cory Doctorow. While Cory Doctorow cannot release you from any contractual or other legal obligations to anyone else that you may have agreed to when purchasing this version, you have his blessing to do anything that is consistent with applicable copyright laws in your jurisdiction."

As I explained to John and Fritz, although all my books are available as downloads for free, I often hear from readers who want to buy them, either because it is a simple way to compensate me (I also maintain a public list of schools and libraries who've solicited copies of my books so that grateful e-book readers can purchase and send a print copy to one of them, thus repaying my favor and doing a good deed at the same time) or because they like the no-hassle option of tapping on their device to buy a book. I am more than happy to offer my otherwise free books for sale in any vendor's store, of course, but only if the vendors agree to carry them on terms I feel I can stand behind as an entrepreneur, as an artist, and as a moral actor.

Doctorow's First Law


2 Responses to “Which ebook sellers will allow publishers and writers to opt out of DRM?”

  1. [...] satisfy his publishers AND amend their missteps, the following is added to the front of each book (from Craphound):“If the seller of this electronic version has imposed contractual or technical restrictions [...]

  2. Jonathan says:

    Dude... I totally bought your book to support you after I had already read it online for free. I also give it out as a birthday gift to my friends and family under 25.

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