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Industry News: TOR drops DRM; Amazon books solid Q1 results; Mein Kampf publication

April 28, 2012

TOR Books drops DRM

Citing the fact that their readers tend to be technically advanced and are annoyed by the limits imposed by digital rights management (DRM) software, science fiction and fantasy publisher TOR has announced it will discontinue DRM for e-books sold in the US and UK by July of this year. TOR is owned by Tom Doherty Associates (and ulimately by MacMillan), which has announced all its lines will be included in the move away from DRM. The results of this move will bear watching, but given the general technical prowess of TOR’s target audience–and their ability to hack the DRM software if they want, this probably isn’t a fair test of what would happen if a more mainstream publisher took the same steps.

Amazon Shows Solid First Quarter

Driven by digital and electronic sales–led by the Kindle product line–Amazon showed a 34% revenue increase in the first quarter of 2012. The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s new low-end tablet, was the number one selling item in the time period. Amazon’s media offerings, including books and e-books, rose 16% to $2.2 billion. According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon currently has more than 130,000 titles that are exclusive to the Kindle store. Earnings forecasts are mixed for the second quarter, with estimates ranging from a $260 million loss to a $40 million gain. Amazon is currently spending large sums of money on its product line (largely on Kindle) and on 13 fulfillment centers it plans to open this year.

Germany to Publish Mein Kampf for the First Time Since World War II

The German state of Bavaria, which holds the copyright to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, has decided to publish Der Fuhrer’s, uhh, classic, three years before the copyright runs out in 2015. The book will be released in hardcopy and electronic form in several  languages, including English. There will be commentary included to indicate that many of Hitler’s ideas weren’t…optimal for civilized society. One version of the book will be aimed at school children. With the copyright running out in three years, the German government has decided to publish its own version to combat curious potential readers from getting a version from hate groups. It’s not illegal to own or read Mein Kampf in German, but it is illegal to use it to spread hatred. The release was also influenced by the general ability to read Mein Kampf on the Internet now.

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