IPG, the Chicago-based distributor that recently made news due to its battle over terms with Amazon, has announced that it will offer its roughly 400 client publishers the option to publish their books DRM-free.
Three months ago, Amazon yanked over 5,000 IPG titles from the Kindle store after IPG refused to capitulate to Amazon’s demand for better terms. The titles were restored just before Memorial Day. IPG wouldn’t comment on those negotiations, but president Mark Suchomel wrote in a letter to clients at the time, “We will continue to work hard for every last sale so that all of our publishers stay healthy moving forward.”
Now, Suchomel says in a statement, “Whether or not to sell books with DRM is a decision publishers need to make. Since there was interest among our clients, we felt IPG could service them better by giving them an option.” Though Suchomel does not mention Amazon explicitly, anti-DRM advocates have argued that DRM keeps users locked to the Kindle store.
Cynthia Sherry, publisher of IPG client Chicago Review Press, says, “I do not believe that DRM prevents piracy, but simply frustrates paying customers and hinders sales. By removing DRM we are offering our customers the flexibility to read their e-books on whatever device they please.”
IPG’s announcement coincides with BookExpo America, the United States’ largest book industry event. Yesterday at the Publishers Launch BEA conference, Macmillan’s Fritz Foy announced that, in addition to removing DRM from all Tor/Forge titles, Macmillan is launching a DRM-free science-fiction digital bookstore.