When the O’Reilly and TOR publishing companies announced their now-historic decisions to drop all DRM from their respective e-books, it’s probably fair to say that the digital reading community felt nearly as vindicated as it did relieved, and elated.
But for the most part, O’Reilly and TOR both serve reading demographics that are especially tech-savvy–the types of readers, in other words, who tend to have the strongest opinions about the uselessness and frustrations of DRM. In a sense, it probably would have been even more surprising if they hadn’t eventually changed their DRM policies.
At the end of August, though, Harvard Business Review Press opened its own e-book store, and proudly announced that its entire catalog would be free of DRM restrictions. In fact, anyone who purchases an e-book directly from HBR Press receives it in three different formats: ePUB, mobi and PDF. On the store’s FAQ page, the policy is briefly explained:
We make our ebooks available to you DRM-free so you can read them on the device of your choice. We trust that our customers will abide by copyright law and refrain from distributing ebook files illegally. Please note that in the case that you download a PDF, it will be personalized with your email address.
Boing Boing, Techdirt and Digitopoly have all covered the story; the latter two both have in-depth and thought-provoking posts that are definitely worth a read. (Digitopoly’s post was written by Joshua Gans, who has his a HBR Press book of his own coming out soon.)