If you haven’t read him, you should

books locked with DRM

The word choice is mentioned so many times in the next few paragraphs that it will probably make you scream. Good, because that means that I have your attention and I need to have it, because this affects you. This article is about choice, freedom of choice, your freedom of choice.

Do you know what DRM is? If not, then don't be alarmed, because you're not alone. Digital Rights Management is a tool that some retailers use to restrict your choices on how you use the product that you paid them for. It enables the retailer to monitor your actions after you make the purchase, stop you from transferring your book to another device and even to go as far as deleting the book that you paid for from your computer or e-reader if you are not compliant. Imagine walking into a book store, selecting a paperback, paying for that book and then finding out that the bookstore has placed a remote controlled self destruct mechanism inside the book's cover. The novel that you started to read in bed, is restricted to one room of your house and cannot be read in the kitchen. Even the bathroom is off-limits because it is licensed for use in bed only, attempt to change rooms and you risk losing your paperback completely. A bizarre situation and yet it happens every day with e-books.

A digital book should be no different than a paper book. Your book, your choice. When you finish reading a book, isn't it your choice if you want to put it back on the shelf to read again, give it to a family member or throw it in the nearest trash can? Your choice. Locking down your purchase with DRM takes away that choice. If you want to move your e-book collection to another device in the future then you may have to go back and spend more money with the same retailer for the same product. As an author with loyal readers, that bothers me because it comes across as rather predatory. On a selfish note, I also feel that by leaving readers feeling frustrated and disenchanted with the purchasing process, DRM has the potential to affect both my own longer term book sales and those of the e-book industry as a whole.

I practice what I preach. At my request, "Darlinghurst Road" is being sold without DRM at most retailers. Regrettably, some stores have hard policies in place and like every other author who deals with them, I had to accept that restriction to be sold in those stores. If they gave me a choice, then I chose to trust my readers. If you have purchased a copy of "Darlinghurst Road" from a retailer that has locked it with DRM then by all means, let me know and I will be happy to exchange it for a DRM free copy. When you buy my books, you are supporting an author that supports your freedom of choice.

I publish electronically because I believe it to be the future. Restrictive and monopolistic technologies like DRM stand in the way of progress. People want the freedom to read on the device of their choice and DRM prevents them from doing that. Centuries ago, the printing press popularized books because they became cheap and portable. They could be shared. If e-books are to be the way of the future then they need to replicate the success of the past.

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