Tor and Forge, publishing imprints of Tom Doherty Associates and a subsidiary of Macmillan, announced yesterday that by the end of July the two popular imprints, as well as Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, will only be offering DRM-free e-books. DRM, which stands for Digital Rights Management, is technology that limits the access and use of certain digital products (MP3s, e-books, etc.) in order to curb pirating and prevent copyright infringement. Although DRM makes stealing digital content more difficult, it also limits the use of the product and can be a disadvantage for buyers.
Currently, almost all of the e-books offered by the “big six” publishers, the major New York City-based publishing houses, and sold through major online retailers are DRM encrypted and can only be used on the specific e-reader associated with the retailer (for example, you can’t — easily — read an Amazon e-book on a Nook, or a Barnes & Noble e-book on a Kindle). This challenge, the results of DRM restrictions, has been one of the issues that keeps ownership of e-books and print books from being synonymous.