Did you catch the news yesterday on Boing Boing? There was an early report (which was later corrected) that the indie comics publisher Top Shelf Productions had gone DRM-free in their online store, but that is sadly not the case – not quite, anyway.
Following in the footsteps of publishers like Tor-Forge Books, Image Comics, and Baen Books, Top Shelf Productions is taking steps to go DRM free. Today they are testing the waters by releasing a few comics without DRM.
A total of 13 titles are available direct from Top Shelf without DRM. You can buy and download the comics as PDF, Epub, or CBZ, and the files can be read in your preferred comics app. If you like you can also bundle the digital with the print edition at a reduced cost.
Chris Ross, tweeting on behalf of Top Shelf explained the motivation behind this limited release:
Top Shelf digital is starting its own experiment. We’ll be offering about a dozen titles DRM-free starting right now, with more to follow. We’re also pricing digital editions alongside physical editions. You all are familiar with it on the Amazon-side. It’s something we’ve been working on for the last year (since SDCC). Our experiments with
@barrelmag over the previous year were test driving the backend, both in terms of effectiveness, experimenting with formats, server stuff, and the old question “Is this a good idea?
This is a grand experiment to make sure we hit proof of concept & see how well it works outside of @barrelmag‘s audience. A few books:
— Chris Ross (@chrisross) February 19, 2014
For the sake of simplicity and clarity, I combined a trio of run-on tweets.
Top Shelf plans to continue distributing their titles to the leading ebookstores (including Kindle, comiXology, iVerse, iBooks, and more). You can find their digital catalog here (along with links to where to buy the digital titles).
And if you’re interested specifically in the DRM-free titles, you can find a list here.