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Tor Books: piracy not an issue despite lacking ebook DRM

One year after Tor launched its DRM-free store, the publisher has said that there has been "no discernible increase" in piracy.

One year after Tor launched its DRM-free store, the publisher has said that there has been "no discernible increase" in piracy.

(Credit: Tor)

In April last year, Tor Books, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Pan Macmillan, announced that it would be removing Digital Rights Management software from the digital editions of its books. It was a controversial move, and one that worried other publishers.

At the time, president and publisher of the US Tor range, Tom Doherty said that the company felt that DRM was a detriment to its readers:

They're a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased ebooks in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.

Now, roughly a year later, Tor has published a blog post saying categorically that it has "seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles".

When it announced the decision, Tor said that it was a move that both its authors and readers felt passionately about. In its recent update, it reiterated the support from its authors:

All of our authors, including bestsellers such as Peter F Hamilton and China Miéville, were incredibly supportive when we asked them to consider removing DRM from their titles. All of them signing up without hesitation to a scheme which would allow their readers greater freedom with their novels.

Tor said that the experience has been "hugely positive", and that it plans to continue to publish its titles DRM-free.