Let's begin with what DRM means. It stands for "Digital Rights Management" and in simple terms, it's a lock that's been placed upon your e-books by retailers or publishers.
For example, when you purchase an e-book on Amazon, you're only permitted to read it on my Kindle or in a Kindle app. You're "locked into" one store's ecosystem of products. To be clear, this isn't an Amazon-specific thing. Most major retailers and large publishers use DRM locks.
In contrast, a DRM-free e-book is a book without locks, one you can keep and read on any device you'd like.
With a DRM-free e-book you can:
- Transfer your e-book between devices like Kobo Readers, Nooks, and Kindles with no problem.
- Save a backup copy on your computer.
- Open your book in all devices and apps.
Not all readers are bothered by DRM locks! But if you'd like more flexibility with your e-books, you can find DRM-free editions in a few ways:
1. Buy direct from the author.
All the books I sell through CheriBaker.com are DRM-free and in the universal EPUB format.
2. Check Kobo, Google Play, and Smashwords.
These retailers are more likely to offer DRM-free editions. It varies from book to book, however.
3. Search for DRM-free publishers.
For science fiction and fantasy, Baen and Tor offer DRM-free editions. Mystery is more challenging, but Scarlett Ferrett has a growing collection.
A Personal Note about E-book Piracy
The most common argument in favor of DRM is that is prevents unethical people from uploading e-books to pirate sites, and piracy is a valid concern! As an author, I've felt the frustration of seeing my work stolen and placed on pirate sites.
It's hurtful, disappointing, and it truly pisses me off!
Still, I remain skeptical of DRM. Pirates are gonna pirate regardless of what technology is applied to an e-book, so to my readers I say: I trust you and I want you to have choices.
That's why I choose not to use DRM in my store.