In an announcement sent out on January 8, self-publishing Web site Lulu.com stated that it is going to stop using Digital Rights Management to protect e-books that it sells directly to consumers.
However, Lulu e-books purchased from mainstream online retailers will continue to be protected, but by the bookseller rather than Lulu. "Companies like Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble integrate a reader's experience from purchasing to downloading and finally to reading. These companies do a fantastic job in this area, and e-books published through Lulu and distributed through these retail sites will continue to have the same rights management applied as they do today," the announcement stated.
Brian Matthews, executive v-p of Lulu, said that removing DRM on EPUBs and PDFs "removes friction and increases choice," while stressing that authors can continue to easily distribute through the major outlets, a combination that "will translate into reaching the broadest possible audience."
Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.com, has been an advocate of “DRM-free” e-books for years. He told PW “No doubt, DRM will deter some file sharing…but whether it deters piracy or not is really irrelevant. What’s relevant is whether the cost of DRM (measured by fees to Adobe, [and for consumers] increased complexity, decreased availability, decreased sharing and word of mouth, decreased customer satisfaction) outweigh the benefits of DRM-free.”