How Much More Would You Pay for a DRM-Free Ebook?

tangled wiresIf given the choice, would you rather pay $5.99 for a DRM-free version of an ebook or $4.61 for a version that has digital rights management software?
DRM, a hot-button issue for publishing’s digirati, is in the news again as several independent bookstores have filed a lawsuit against Amazon and the six largest U.S. publishers alleging anti-competitive behavior stemming from DRM agreements.
Authors, who generally favor DRM for a variety of reasons, and agents, who advocate for authors, are not considered in this thinking. But neither are readers. Do most readers know what DRM is or how it affects them? And of those who do, how much do they care? (Read: How much of a premium, if any, would they pay for DRM-free ebooks? Our guess, either zero or nothing – take your pick.)
We at DBW have a somewhat unique situation that directly relates to this. Our first ebook, Finding the Future of Digital Book Publishing, is available as a DRM-free ebook from the DBW store for $5.99 or as an Amazon Kindle ebook with DRM for $4.61. Which would you prefer? Read more.

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The rest of the day’s top news:
More on Indie Bookstores vs. Amazon, Big Six (The Verge)
More on the big story of the week from Tim Carmody, “Just when these publishers settled for colluding against Amazon, they’re being charged for colluding with Amazon.”
Innovative Publishing (DBW)
We sat down with the author (and publisher) of a Publishing Innovation Award-winning ebook to find out how he did it, what he would have done differently and what he’s working on that we can look forward to.
No More Tax Break for Ebooks? (Bloomberg)
The European Commission is suing France and Luxembourg (where Amazon’s European operations are based) for defying a law that sets a standard value-added tax rate for books. In France, the 7% tax on ebooks is below the 19.6% tax usually charged on books. In Luxembourg, the ebook VAT is 3% versus 15% on books. No court dates have been set.
Change Agent: Penguin’s Jeff Gomez (DBW)
“It’s up to writers to invent new forms, and then it’ll be up to publishers – if they wish to remain the gatekeepers of literary culture – to find a way to get them to the public.” From literary agent Jason Allen Ashlock’s interview with Penguin vice president of online consumer sales and marketing (and self-published author) Jeff Gomez.

Future-Proofing Your Publishing Career (Pub Perspectives)
How many unemployed (not by choice) software developers do you know? Understanding technology could be the key to maintaining and advancing your publishing career. Here are ten posts that will get you started.
Reselling Ebooks Illegal? (The Digital Reader)
Debatable. The Digital Reader breaks it down.
The Week That Was (Jane Friedman)
DBW expert blogger and publishing industry gadabout Porter Anderson sums up the week that was in publishing with his usual flair.
Apple to Enhance iPad Reading Experience? (CNet)
Apple has filed a new patent to create a floating toolbar in its iPad reading experience that would improve note-taking and annotation.
Bribe Your Librarian (Book Riot)
Apparently it’s the best way to have them create for you a Netflix for books. We thought that was something start-ups were working on….


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Image Credit: tangled image via Shutterstock

9 thoughts on “How Much More Would You Pay for a DRM-Free Ebook?

  1. Ken E Baker

    As a paying customer, I don’t see any need to pay more for a non-DRM book. DRM is acknowledged by many in the publishing industry to be a flawed model, and giving customers the option to pay to remove the digital fences that the publishers themselves have erected – well, I don’t support that.

    (Sidenote, I will pay more to remove the ads from my apps on my phone – because the ads are an additional source of revenue for the developer, and they don’t lock you into an ecosystem by installing your the app).

  2. Graham Storrs

    I’m a writer and I do not support the use of DRM. The problems with DRM are legion and most people aren’t even aware of many of them (like accessibility for blind or partially-sighted people who want to use their favourite screen reader software but can’t). The fact is that, if you consider the reader, the buyer, the consumer of your work, your customer, DRM is obviously wrong. Yet who else should we be thinking about?

    Paying extra not to have a publisher or retailer shackle the book I buy just begs the questions, Why would a publisher or retailer do that to its customers? and, Isn’t there another publisher or retailer who’s not trying to squeeze me for removing something that should never have been there in the first place? The answer to the second question, if course, is yes.

  3. Gavin King

    Yet again were lagging behind other industries, music is sold DRM free even through Apple, movies and documentaries are now released through alternative distributors DRM free. It makes no sense to pay more for DRM free, it should just be standard practice.

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  5. Jon Jermey

    IF I know that I will be able to get access to the text of that book at any time in the future at a reasonable cost — in other words, the same reasonable assurance that I have when buying a printed book — then I’m fine with DRM; but so far no publisher has given me enough confidence in them to make that a reality. So I would buy the cheaper DRM version and strip the DRM to make a safe backup copy that I knew would be there when I need it.

    And the ‘cost’ of finding a printed book I purchased a while ago? Searching time, looking through shelves and crates and boxes, dealing with dust and silverfish. I’m happy to pay something to avoid that — but not a great deal.

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