Chain break

From the Momentum blog:

As some of you might already know, we announced yesterday that we’re dropping DRM (digital rights management) from all of our books. The chatter on social media last night and this morning leads me to believe there’s still a bit of confusion about what DRM is, what it’s for, why we chose to drop it and what it actually means for you – assuming you are someone who might buy or want to buy our books.

In practice, however, DRM is relatively easy to remove from a book. This is why piracy of books and other digital content is so rampant – it only takes one person with a working knowledge of how to remove DRM from a book to make it available to the entire world for free. In other words – DRM is extremely bad at doing its main job.

 Given that this is so, what else is DRM for? DRM stops readers who buy their ebooks from one retailer transferring their purchase to an unapproved reading device. For example, you can’t read an ebook with DRM on it from Apple on your Kindle, and you can’t read a Kindle ebook on your Kobo Touch. So the answer to that question – what is DRM for? – becomes clear. The purpose of DRM is to encourage readers to buy their ebooks from a single source.

 So Why Are We Dropping DRM?


At Momentum we have a commitment to accessibility. As I mentioned earlier, we’re working hard to make our books available globally. All of our books released so far are available for under $10, and most of them for $5 or less. Ensuring that you can buy your books from wherever you want and read them on whatever device you want is part of that commitment.


Dropping DRM is not about encouraging piracy. Piracy is a reality of the digital era, and this situation is extremely unlikely to change. Some people are always going to pirate content and spread it around without permission. Let me be clear, here – this isn’t something we support. Authors deserve to be paid for their work. But we believe that the best way to fight piracy is to remove the barriers to purchase – make books cheaper, make them available everywhere and to any reader from any platform.


What Does Dropping DRM Mean For You?


The simple answer is: not all that much. You can still buy our books from all the same places for the same prices. Come August, however, if you want to read your Kindle book on your Kobo or your iBookstore book on your Kindle – you can. We’re still working with our retail partners (and in talks with others) to make our books available in as many places as possible – but that’s a separate issue to our decision to drop DRM.


So if you are thinking of buying our books, I urge you to encourage your friends to buy books from us. Most of them are the cost of a cup of coffee (or two), and they can buy and download them while waiting for the bus. Ultimately dropping DRM is an experiment – if it proves to be successful, then we’ll keep doing it.


  1. Finally a publisher who gets it on many levels

    1. DRM does not stop piracy
    2. DRM locks you in to a device or a company. I like to be free to choose where I get my books from
    3. Make the same book available to everyone at an equal price. We will not feel that we are being ripped off and will then be willing to buy the book instead of looking for other alternatives

    Well done to Momentum¡

  2. Retailer lock-in is a major barrier for customers. In order to follow authors and series, I’ve had to chase titles all over the place. Most of my authors and series are in different formats, and have to be read in different apps. I have one series of 7 ebooks which have to be read in 5 different ereading apps! It doesn’t need to be this difficult, and apart from the most stubborn readers (ahem, like me) you’re actually pushing away customers. Who wants to chase titles around different retailers? Who wants to have to keep track of multiple formats and multiple purchase points?

    When Adobe DRM was licensed, we were told this would reduce the problem of multiple formats/devices. It doesn’t, because each retailer has its own “flavour” of Adobe DRM. Each retailer has its own favoured device or app. I have more than a dozen ereading apps on my iPhone/iPad, where I should need only one.

    After all, I just want to buy and read text. Why do the Big Publishing Cartel make it so difficult?

  3. When I went to buy a book from Momentum, I found out that they are a digital-only division of Pan Macmillan Australia, who publish globally.

    Global ebook release and no DRM are two efficiencies the rest of Big Publishing badly need to adopt.

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