‘DRM Free since 2006!’ It falls some way short of being a sexy headline, but how do you compete with other publishers apparently news-worthy headlines about going DRM-free in 2014, when it’s been 8 years since Rebellion took that decision?
Rebellion Publishing may not be one of the instantly recognisable names in the UK book trade, but for fifteen years we've been the home of the British institution 2000 AD, and first published our perennially bestselling graphic novel collection, Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01 back in 2005 (we publish volume 23 this summer). The following year we founded our first fiction imprint Abaddon Books. And in those pre-Kindle, pre-Twitter days, when digital rights management was something most publishers assumed was a music industry issue, Rebellion also started selling digital files for download with no DRM.
How was it that we took the step that most digitally-savvy publishers came to many years later? We had one big advantage, Rebellion is also a tech company, one of the leading computer games developers and publishers in the UK (our latest, Sniper Elite III, is out at the end of June). Our founders and owners Jason and Chris Kingsley understood how important ownership was for a digital consumer, how being able to buy something and keep it was a vital part of the trust relationship between publisher and reader, and gamer. You bought the digital copy? Well that’s yours to keep forever, and not just until you change device or operating system. It can be put like this: we value the support of legitimate customers more than we hate the activity of people who steal from us.
In the years since 2006 we've acquired the SF imprint Solaris books; begun simultaneous publishing in the UK and North America; launched the children’s and YA literature imprint Ravenstone; started our standalone ebook shop rebellionstore.com to go alongside 2000adonline.com; and have seen our books feature on the best-seller lists time and time again.
So, as a leading publisher of comics and genre fiction in the UK it’s great to have had Tor and others join us in the DRM-free world. The others will be along soon, we're sure.