Momentum Drops DRM!


MOMENTUM BOOKS, Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-only imprint, today announced that by early August all its titles would be released without DRM. DRM – digital rights management – is the software used on digital content to prevent casual copying by users.

‘The problem,’ said Joel Naoum, Momentum’s publisher, ‘is that DRM restricts users from legitimate copying – such as between different e-reading devices. We feel strongly that Momentum’s goal is to make books as accessible as possible. Dropping these restrictions is in line with that goal.’

The move by Momentum follows recent announcements by sister company Tor in the United States and the United Kingdom. Momentum is the first imprint of a major Australian publisher to drop DRM.

Momentum’s director, Tom Gilliatt, comments, ‘Momentum was set up to innovate and experiment. The decision to drop DRM is absolutely in keeping with this role, and shows once again Macmillan’s global commitment to be at the forefront of digital change and development.’

John Birmingham, who will be publishing a series of novellas with Momentum in late 2012 said, ‘Every book I’ve ever published in electronic format has been pirated. Every single one. And they all had DRM. It didn’t protect me from piracy and it won’t protect publishing in general. The best protection is to make your work as easily accessible as possible, everywhere, all at once, at the same, reasonable price. Is it possible? Nobody really knows, but we’re gonna give it a hell of a shake to find out.’

Nathan Farrugia, whose bestselling novel The Chimera Vector was released by Momentum in May, said, ‘One of the main reasons I signed with Momentum was their willingness to ditch DRM – something that very few other publishers would do. But I think if pirates are better at distributing your ebooks than you are, then you’re doing it wrong. The best way for publishers to fight piracy is with convenience. I’m excited to see Momentum HULK SMASH DRM.’

About Momentum

Launched in February, Momentum is the digital-only imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Momentum have now published over forty titles, including Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read’s series of memoirs, Greig Beck’s fantasy horror Valkeryn and Lindy Chamberlain’s autobiography, The Dingo’s Got My Baby. All published titles are available globally and at highly accessible prices.

If you have any further questions about this change, please contact Joel Naoum on 02 8021 0705 or on

  • Well done Momentum. Let’s hope the tide is turning against DRM. 

  • Andrew Farrell

    I love the idea, still not sure what it actually means in practice though as most DRM is added by the retailers not the publishers… and from what I can see it’s in place more for the retailer than the publisher (or author) to tie people into their eReader/app/storefront.
    You can choose for the retailer to ‘not apply’ DRM, on your books, but again what does that mean in terms of what you are buying, as most commercial eBook platforms don’t send you a copy of the file anyway? Can I now magically move my Kindle eBook across and read it on my Kobo reader? Or grab my eBook and read it in my Kindlereader app?

    • I don’t think that’s quite accurate. The only retailer I know of that doesn’t make a file available at some point in the purchase process is (because it’s entirely cloud based). Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Google all make files available, which means that readers who are interested in moving our books to a different device can do so. It also means that we can sell our own books without DRM to all customers in any format we like. Potentially it means other retailers could sell our books without DRM in multiple formats too. There seems to have been a bit of confusion over why we’re doing this and what it means in practice, so I think I’ll elaborate in a blog post later today if I get around to it!

  • Awesomesaucery. Hopefully the other major publishers will follow suit. DRM is not helping stop piracy. It will only hinder legitimate customers from reading the books they bought, across multiple devices.

  • Maxim Zakharov

    I guess dropping DRM should facilitate donating and transferring ebooks to another person. According to this discussion on Amazon’s Askville the possibility to donate/loan of an ebook depends on publisher. What is Momentum’s policy on donating/transferring rights of their books? In particular I’m interesting to donate a Kindle ebook to another person, is that possible legally?

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