Personally, I don’t like DRM (Digital Rights Management, aka copy protection) much. I grew up with dead-tree books, mostly paperbacks, not e-books, and the ease of handing a dead-tree book to a friend with the words, “you gotta read this, it’s great,” is still a great draw to regular print books. For the record, I’ve been on both ends of that conversation.
However, I understand what the DRM advocates say about the ease of copying an e-book that really isn’t possible with a printed book. The thing of it is, as a starting author, I want as many people as possible to read my work, and having a friend give a copy to a friend and encourage them to read it would likely add to my sales for later books.
My logic is that when you’re an author, your name becomes your brand, and if you’re good enough people are going to buy a book based on your name alone, as I just did yesterday with Marion Harmon, whom I’ve mentioned before (superhero fans, his Wearing the Cape series is well worth the money — and I didn’t get anything for that plug, he doesn’t even know I’ve done it yet). But you need to get people to recognize your name as an author worth the money, and that means you need to convince people to take a chance on you.
Free e-book days help with that, but there’s also the stigma of, “if they’re giving it away free, it must not be worth that much.” There is, honestly, some justification for that feeling, given the number of e-books that I’ve picked up on free promotions and haven’t finished because they were just not worth my time to read. On the other hand, a personal recommendation from a friend is a powerful incentive to read an author you haven’t heard of.
Bottom line, I am giving serious thought to releasing Librarian and subsequent books without DRM. I think the possibility of acquiring new fans through sharing outweighs the monetary loss from copying.
Your thoughts, as always, are welcome in the comments. 🙂