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Tor Books to drop DRM on entire catalog of e-books

A major publisher drops DRM on e-books, and some expect more companies to do the same.

"Peace" by Gene Wolfe, just one of many e-books slated to go DRM-free this summer.
Tor Books

Science-fiction/fantasy publishing company Tor Books dropped a big bomb on the e-book world today by announcing plans to abolish DRM on its entire collection of e-books in early July.

The shift will most likely appear seamless to consumers, as an official blog post on the Tor Web site mentions that DRM-free titles will sell at the same retailers that currently sell Tor's books, and will additionally appear on DRM-free-only e-book stores. The Macmillan-owned company also publishes titles under Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen.

Boing Boing, for one, expects that Tor's plan to drop digital-rights management tools might start a wave of other companies following suit, eventually leading to a world where e-book DRM no longer exists.

Among Tor Books' most well-known titles are "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan, and the Ender saga by Orson Scott Card.

"Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time," Tom Doherty, president and publisher of Tor Books, said in a statement. "They're a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another."

In related news, Tor Books parent company Macmillan USA is preparing to square off against the U.S. Department of Justice after accusations of e-book price fixing.