Today is International Day Against DRM 2022, so let's check in on my ebook collection statistics. It seems that this is becoming a biennial endeavour rather than a quarterly one, but hey, better late than never!

I have a policy of refusing to purchase any e-books encumbered with DRM, which I observe strictly. My frustration has grown so immense that I have begun cataloguing all the e-books that I would have bought if not for DRM.

These are the results of my analysis to date, showing just how much more money publishers could have wrangled out of me if only they were willing to sell me actual products and not bogus contractural lookalikes.

Figure 1. Spending to date on e-books, and potential spending prevented by DRM


Note 1: Figures adjusted for assumed average inflation rate of 2%p.a. and reported in Australian dollars at today's prices

Note 2: Purchased e-books include DRM-free e-books purchased in both Australian markets, and in US markets (despite georestrictions) where available DRM-free in the US but not Australia

To date, publishers could have increased their sales revenue from me by 142% by offering DRM-free copies of e-books, a similar trend to Q4 2020 (149%).

Figure 2. Potential spending prevented by DRM by publisher to date


Note: DRM-encumbered e-books published by different publishers in Australia and the US are counted towards both publishers (as either being DRM-free would result in a purchase), so figures do not sum to those in Figure 1

Hachette – notorious for stepping on the feet of authors and other publishers in its relentless push for DRM, despite lack of evidence for its effectiveness – continues to lead the pack.

Figure 3. Spending on e-books by publisher to date


Self-published books continue their upward climb, narrowly overtaking Macmillan (which publishes the DRM-free Tor imprint). This year the growth in self-published sales was driven primarily by authors publishing via Amazon.

Is it uncouth to mention that, over this period, I published my own ebook, Points of Order, DRM-free pay-what-you-want on Gumroad? ;)