I’m very happy to see that Tor/Forge is dropping DRM from their ebook titles as of July 2012, and I can only hope that this is just the first in a long line of publishers to adopt this route.
There are a few things which have kept me away from buying ebooks, and DRM is definitely one (lack of a reader I really feel like reading on, and price being the others). I’ve seen enough tech companies come and go, and enough policy changes, that I’m not willing to bet the farm that the dozens of books I buy in a year will still be readable. And before anyone laughs at the prospect of companies the size of Amazon or Apple or Barnes & Noble disappearing, consider that Borders is dead, that RIM/Blackberry is dying, a that a company no smaller than Microsoft will be shutting down its Microsoft Reader servers later this year. What that means for paying, honest customers, is that the books they have trapped in Microsoft’s format will be tied to whatever devices they’re currently on, without future possibility of being moved. Quick, pat down your body, what’s the oldest gadget you have on you right now? Sure, anyone with their books on a decent desktop PC can reasonably expect that those books will be available for another half-decade at least, but e-readers or other portable devices? I don’t see many people flaunting their original iPhone (2007), or 1st gen Kindles. You’re going to replace your hardware eventually and your DRM-crippled books go with it. Before I make the permanent switch to ebooks, I need to know that the ones I buy will be usable ten or twenty years from now, barring file corruption. As it stands now, Amazon could decide to yank its reader software from other platforms, other platforms could decide to end support for or access to Amazon’s app… there are so many ways for companies to end my access to things I’ve paid for that it simply doesn’t seem worth it.
I can’t see any benefit to the consumer with DRM, so obviously I think this is a great move by Tor. I’ve been a reader of their physical books for a very long time, so I hope this is a boon for them.