I prefer to buy my e-books in a DRM-free format. It means I can read them on any device I choose, and they're not locked to a single vendor or company. I own them.
Here is a list I've compiled of online bookshops that sell DRM-free e-books and comics, usually in multiple formats.
What is DRM?
DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a technology used by many publishers and bookshops to limit how consumers are able to read their e-books. The reasoning is that it limits piracy, but in fact it only gets in the way of legitimate customers and their enjoyment of e-books.
A number of forward-thinking publishers and bookshops have bucked the trend, however, and are selling their e-books DRM-free. This page is a list of those vendors.
If you're looking for somewhere to store your DRM-free e-books, try Libreture.
Libreture provides online e-book storage for hardcore readers. Upload your DRM-free e-books, create and share reading lists, and discover great new titles.
Happy (DRM-free) reading
Founded by publishing veteran Chris McVeigh, Fahrenheit Press publishes crime fiction from the noir, hard-boiled to the experimental.
They've only recently started selling direct from their website, but when asked if their e-books are DRM-free, they responded with: "Yup. Entirely. Cause we're not twats...", which is good enough for me.
Fahrenheit certainly do things differently, so are definitely a publisher, and now retailer, to watch out for.
"We're intent on doing things differently and we're building a publishing company that's heavy on curation and deadly serious about marketing."
Books are available in either ePub or Mobi formats.
Not to be confused with the now closed 'pay what you want' bookshop, this Open Books have a more traditional model and some very interesting quirks.
Their bookshop is hidden away amongst the links on the website, but is referred to as Open Books Direct. While the site may give the initial impression of being amateurish, the books seem to be of a very professional standard. The covers are especially nice and varied.
Each book has its own colour-schemed page which contains plenty of information.
E-books are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats, and are very reasonably priced compared to their paper counterparts.
Predominantly a romance publisher, Riverdale Avenue Books also publish a wide selection of other genres.
Their author list is huge and they categorise their titles by their specific imprints.
The only reference to format I could find mentioned ePub, but Mobi format books may very well be available.
Founded in 2001, Haymarket Books is
"a radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago."
Their goal is to "publish books that contribute to struggles for social and economic justice". And they certainly do that.
Categories range from Arts and Culture to Sports, via Environment & Science and Poetry.
Books are available in both ePub and Mobi formats.
Founded from the best origin story in bookshop history:
"Like many foolhardy ideas, The Book Smugglers was born of a time of great adversity. Faced with threats concerning the overwhelming volume of books purchased on a daily basis, Ana Grilo and Thea James resorted to "smuggling" books home in huge handbags to avoid scrutiny."
Book Smugglers Publishing is the digital-first, book creation arm of the glorious review, discussion and news site for genre fiction. They publish anthologies as well as novels, and the prices are always very reasonable.
Books are available as both ePub and Mobi formats and the covers are absolutely fantastic.
Unbound is a crowd-funding platform for books.
So far, people have pledged over £5 million to various author's book projects on the site.
As you can imagine, genres vary greatly.
E-books are usually in both ePub and Mobi formats, but the author can select whether to apply DRM, so take care when pledging or buying a book.
A small publisher of LGBTQ titles, Riptide seeks to
"bring the Manhattan-quality aesthetic to small-press, author-friendly publishing—and in doing so, to elevate and integrate positive LGBTQ representation into the mainstream."
and not only limited to romance or erotica.
"First and foremost, Riptide publishes quality LGBTQ fiction."
Their books are available in ePub, Mobi, PDF and HTML formats.
Riptide also sell Gift Cards, so you can introduce others to their titles.
Founded in 1969, Pluto Press is one of Britain’s oldest radical publishers.
"anti-capitalist, internationalist and politically independent"
Pluto cover topics ranging from Anthropology to Geography to Sociology, and the quality of their titles are fantastic - their Awards page says it all.
Their e-books are available as ePubs, but are currently priced the same as the paperback edition. You do receive the e-book version free if you purchase the paperback, but this is a counter-intuitive pricing model.
Founded by web luminaries Jeffrey Zeldman and Jason Santa Maria, A Book Apart covers:
A spin-off from the web design, standards and strategy blog, A List Apart, the quality of the content and guidance is top-notch. Whether you're looking for web business advice or need some help with the technicalities of CSS, A Book Apart's titles are second-to-none.
Titles are available in ePub and Mobi formats.
Andrew Burt founded ReAnimus Press to:
"help fellow authors get their out-of-print books and short works back into readers' hands, and to publish high-quality new releases."
With authors like Ben Bova, Karen Haber and Severna Park on board, ReAnimus offers a huge range of titles, mainly from the science fiction and fantasy genres.
Books are available in ePub and Mobi formats.
Books by the late US author Jack Vance range from science fiction to mystery, and from a variety of pen names.
A lot of work has gone in to producing these digital titles, but they are only available to buy from the US. However, if you're located in the US and want to get hold of this legendary author's work, this site is for you. Many of the books also have new cover art.
Titles are available in ePub and Mobi formats.
The home of Michael Marshall Smith's titles, EmEmEss is the best place to buy your copies of the must-have, and very creepy, Straw Men series of novels.
The books are available as either Mobi or ePub formats and proceeds go direct to the author.
Windhorse Publications is a Buddhist charitable company based in the UK. We seek to produce accessible and relevant books of high quality for all those interested in Buddhism at whatever level.
Based in Cambridge, Windhorse publish titles by a huge range of authors that cover wide aspects of Buddhism.
In addition to paperbacks, their e-books are available in ePub and Mobi formats, as well as combined into discounted Paperback + E-Book bundles.
Create by the author Diane Duane, Ebooks Direct is where Diane sells all her own digital books.
Buying direct from the author means they get a much larger cut of the price, making it a great way to support your favourite writer. I'll be adding more Author-owned bookshops soon.
Ranging in genre, from magical fantasy, science-fiction and more, titles are available in ePub and Mobi formats to suit all devices.
Founded in 2007, Dreamspinner publish and sell gay romantic fiction, ranging from contemporary to western.
Books are available as ePub, Mobi or PDF, as well as paperback and hardcover.
Dreamspinner's site also offers a wishlist feature, which is always handy when planning a book haul.
A place to buy books by Lynn Abbey, C.J. Cherryh and Jane Fancher, Closed Circle is an interesting find.
Although in need of a visual update, I get the impression the site 'just works', which is all you need. The last news update is from November, 2017, so the site is still up and running.
Books are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF format.
Well worth a look,
"The publisher dedicated to meeting the information needs of IT professionals, developers, and tech enthusiasts worldwide"
Publishing books in IT, computing and the software development field, Apress also run Apress Open, which is a Creative Commons licensed suite of titles. Authors retain copyright, and the content is also available free online.
Their books are available as digitally watermarked PDF or ePub.
Snackreads is an interesting approach, experimenting with selling digital short fiction.
"Fun, fast and digital."
The catalogue only contains six titles for now, but it's worth keeping an eye on them for their writing resources and forum.
The UK-based romance & erotic fiction publisher, Totally Bound Publishing, started in 2006 and is part of the Totally Entwined Group.
Their books are available in ePub, Mobi or PDF format and each book has a 'Heat' and 'Sexometer' rating. I wonder if that's a metadata standard. ;)
It's nice to see an UK company just getting on and doing its thing.
Launched in 2008, Extasy Books is a publisher of erotic fiction in a huge range of categories, from Action/Adventure to Horror and Science-Fiction.
As well as e-books, Extasy also sell audiobooks and bundles. There are also free books to give you a taster.
Books are available in PDF, Mobi, ePub, PRC, and Sony PDF.
Founded in 1973 and based in the US, Guilford Press publish books in mental health, education, geography, and research methods.
Guilford publish around 90 titles a year and seem to get how useful e-books are for many of their customers in education and research.
Their e-books are available in ePub and PDF formats and if you buy any e-book, you can also get the print format for only 10% more.
A publisher of many genres, Alliteration Ink has been busy in fiction, non-fiction, anthologies, periodicals and more.
They have also ran a number of Kickstarters for their anthologies.
They do not provide format information, so take care when buying.
Hailing from the US, Bold Strokes Books publishes and sells LGBTQ fiction.
Bold Strokes aim for "quality and diversity in LGBTQ literature", and they have a wide selection on offer.
Books are provided in epub, mobi and pdf formats.
"Zed publishes across a wide range of topics, with writers from across the planet featuring in its line up. It is best know for publishing the work of marginalised individuals and groups, many of them originating in the Global South, others from oppressed elements of ‘Western’ society."
A non-fiction publisher, Zed books houses amazing reads on important topics. Authors range from Yanis Varoufakis to Nawal El Saadawi.
ePub and Mobi e-books are sold separately and at a reasonable e-book price.
"Unsung Stories are publishers of literary and ambitious speculative fiction that defies expectation. We publish stories that you’ll never forget, from the varied worlds of genre fiction – science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and all the areas in-between."
An imprint of Red Squirrel Publishing, Unsung Stories are the creators of the recent 2084 science fiction anthology. The book was kickstarted to over £22,000 - their initial goal was £2,500.
ePubs and Mobis are listed and sold separately.
The first publisher of Eimear McBride's fantastic novel, A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing, Galley Beggar publish a range of fiction titles.
Their books look extremely interesting, but the site is very bare-bones and provides absolutely no help or format information. Some text is even white-on-white. So take care when buying.
The Black Library is the bookshop for the tabletop gaming company, Games Wokshop's, many titles.
The catalogue includes fiction set in their popular Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings along with many of their other properties.
Black Library provide both ePub and Mobi versions of their titles.
"Influx Press publish stories from the margins of culture, specific geographical spaces and sites of resistance that remain under explored in mainstream literature."
Run by Gary Budden, Kit Caless and Sanya Semakula, Influx have quite a large catalogue considering their small size.
You may recognise their An Unreliable Guide to London short story anthology.
E-books are available as either ePub or Mobi files and are sensibly discounted compared to the paper versions.
Established in 1999, and based in Norfolk, Salt Publishing is:
"...one of UK’s foremost independent publishers, committed to the discovery and publication of contemporary British literature."
They publish in a range of genres, including Modern Fiction,Short Stories, Fiction Anthologies, Crime & Mystery, Creative Writing, Poetry, Children's Poetry, Poetry Anthologies and Literary Studies.
The majority of their books seem to be available as e-books, and are sold in ePub format.
Palgrave publish research from the fields of humanities, social sciences and business for academics, professionals and librarians.
With books across a huge range of topics, Palgrave is a great resource for those looking for specific research titles.
E-books are available as both ePub and PDF and are watermarked.
Wisdom Publications is a non-profit publisher of Buddhism, mindfulness, and meditation titles and courses, based in the USA.
With a huge selection of titles, Wisdom is a great place to start when looking for books on and related to Buddhism.
Purchased e-books include a bundle of ePub, Mobi and PDF versions.
The Dharma of Star Wars might take your fancy.
An e-bookshop that only sells DRM-free Star Trek books.
Simon & Schuster have certainly done the right thing here, making a major science fiction book collection available DRM-free. Talk about finally understanding your audience.
With books from every series and one I've never heard of, there's something for every Trek fan.
There is no information about the book formats available, but I would guess it's ePub only.
But there's definitely no need for this Captain Proton novel.
Carina Press publish adult fiction and are the digital-first imprint of the publisher, Harlequin.
"Our mission is to connect readers with authors who write the stories they want to read and the stories they want to talk about and recommend."
These guys obviously know and respond to their audience.
But I'm worried they don't pay their male cover models enough. Most seem unable to afford much more than a vest, let alone a shirt.
Their e-books are available in ePub format only.
"Mythic Delirium Books, the micropress run by Mike and Anita Allen, specializes in speculative fiction and poetry, with a penchant for writing that’s challenging to classify."
They also publish the digital fiction and poetry journal, Mythic Delirium.
A small selection of very interesting titles make it a great publisher to keep an eye on.
Books are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats.
Likely familiar to PHP developers, this technology publisher is a staunch supporter of DRM-free e-books.
"Published continuously since 2002, php[architect] magazine is the only technical journal dedicated exclusively to the world of PHP. We are committed to spreading knowledge of best practices in PHP."
Their e-books come in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats and have a healthy discount knocked off the digital price compared to the print version.
Also a great spot for some PHP-related Swag.
They sell e-books about Bridge. Yes, the card game.
Based in Canada, and owned by Master Point Press, eBooks Bridge look to be going strong. They're already promoting their 2018 catalogue.
I get the impression they've really got their audience sussed. The site includes a lot of useful information about e-book formats and how to load them onto various devices. Their books are also winning awards at Bridge-related events.
Books are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats.
A lesson in how to find and nurture your e-book audience.
"Founded in 2015 and based in Sheffield and London, Tilted Axis is a not-for-profit press on a mission to shake up contemporary international literature."
There are an interesting number of non-profit publishers around the world. Tilted Axis is one that concentrates on originality and doesn't limit itself to original English titles, but hires translators to bring books from around the world to more readers.
Their limited catalogue is available in ePub and/or PDF, depending on the title and suitability of the material. I get the impression they also work hard to ensure that originality in formatting is brought to the e-book field.
Y Lolfa (The Lounge) is a Welsh and Welsh language publisher, based in Talybont, South Wales.
Founded in the mid 60s, they have a huge catalogue of achievements in both welsh and English.
Welsh natives will likely recognise their books and merchandise from their school days. But some exciting new titles are proving they are still going strong.
Books are usually in ePub format, and sometimes in PDF.
and also take a look at their fantastic Mabinogion poster.
Diversion Books is a New York based independent publisher.
They publish and sell a huge range of titles, from colouring books and classics to romance and time travel.
E-books are available as ePub and Mobi and you get both with each purchase.
Diversion is the place to buy Emma Newman's final split Worlds books in a DRM-free format.
"Grey Matter Press is a Chicago-based independent publishing company committed to finding the best new voices working in the dark fiction arena today and bringing them to readers craving exceptional literature."
Creepy horror and darkly disturbing stories are Grey Matter's specialism.
They have published works by Bram Stoker Award winning authors and are sure to have a book to freak you the hell out.
Books are available in ePub and Mobi formats.
"Hex Publishers is an independent publishing house proudly specializing in genre fiction: horror, science fiction, crime, dark fantasy, comics, and any other form that explores the imagination. Founded by writers, Hex values both the author and the reader, with an emphasis on quality, diversity, and voices often overlooked by the mainstream."
With only a few titles for sale, Hex Publishers made a name for themselves with their CyberWorld anthology.
Hex also publish WORDS Zine, a free monthly fiction magazine.
E-books are available in ePub, MOBI, and PDF formats, they also sell bundles that include soundtracks and paperback/hardback + e-book combinations.
Phoenix Pick is a hidden gem. Based in Maryland, US, they have a surprisingly large catalogue of speculative fiction titles.
Take a look at the author listing for an idea of their selection.
E-books are usually available in both ePub and Mobi formats.
"For over three decades, books published by Bridget Williams have contributed to critical scholarship in New Zealand; they have told our stories, and deepened our understanding of what it is to inhabit these islands."
Bridget Williams Books is an award-winning New Zealand publisher. They sell historical and contemporary titles on Maori and New Zealand. They also publish Texts, which are short books on particular topics from New Zealand writers.
As well as their own site, many of their books are available to buy through Tomely, the third-party bookshop widget. So, check each book carefully to ensure you get the format you want, since 'buy' links vary between list pages and individual book pages. I was happy to find The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000 actually was available DRM-free when I thought it wasn't.
"Fantastic Books Publishing is a family run, independent publishing house based in East Yorkshire.
We pride ourselves on delivering extremely high quality e, print and audio books while maintaining our foundation of charitable giving with all of our projects."
If you want to know more about how Fantastic Books bucks trends, take a look at their inspiring History page.
Fantastic Books offer a huge range of genres, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Autobiography, Crime, Poetry, Paranormal, Humour, Literary Fiction, Horror, How To, Childrens, and Cookbooks.
They are also official licencees of fiction based on the Elite: Dangerous computer game.
Customers receive all three ePub, Mobi and PDF formats with their purchase.
"Barking Rain Press seeks to publish novels and novellas in a variety of genres, including General Literature, Speculative Fiction (Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction), Mystery/Crime, Romance, Suspense/Thrillers, Westerns and YA/Young Adult."
Barking Rain Press is a non-profit publisher, based in Washington State in the US.
Their e-books are available in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats. They also sell paperback+e-book bundles, which includes a hefty discount compared to buying both formats separately.
Lektu is a Spanish and Spanish-language bookshop selling original Spanish as well as translated works.
They are working on an English language site, so there will be even more choice to come.
As well as e-books, Lektu also sell comics, audiobooks, and bundles from a variety of publishers. They currently stock over a thousand titles.
Depending on the title (e-book or comic), their products are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF.
"Monsoon publishes fiction (literary and commercial) and nonfiction (biography and autobiography, true crime, food and drink, history, travelogues and current affairs) with Asian themes. It publishes quality books from outstanding writers the world over and has several regional bestsellers to its name."
Monsoon Books is an award-winning independent publisher of English-language books on Asia. With over 100 books in stock, there's a huge range of quality titles to choose from.
Their e-books are available in both ePub and Mobi formats and are free when buying a paperback.
Kraken Press publishes horror, dark fantasy and weird fiction. There are no two ways about it. But, it's not your usual horror, darkness and weird, it's a kind of Weird Americana. (The screaming has an American accent?)
Kraken's authors are currently few: Richard Thomas, Max Booth III and Curtis J. Anderson, but with an open submissions policy and a very clear, interesting style to their titles, they'll certainly grow. And probably grow weirder.
Only Kraken's back catalogue titles are available for purchase DRM-free from the site. All other titles are only available through Amazon.
The back catalogue books are available in ePub and MOBI formats.
"The bookHaus is an independent bookshop dedicated to travel writing and literature from around the world."
Based in the UK, Bookhaus offer a huge range of titles. And while not all of their books are available as e-books, the range is well worth a look. I'm still hoping to find some Gavin Maxwell titles as e-books...
Their titles cover the globe and provide in-depth insights into the cultures, customs and lives from the past and present.
Bookhaus e-books are available in ePub and Mobi formats and are priced sensibly less than their paper counterparts.
They also provide a guarantee to match Amazon's price. Can't go wrong there.
"We guarantee to match amazon.co.uk prices when you order online or we'll refund the difference."
"Valancourt Books is an independent small press specializing in the rediscovery of rare, neglected, and out-of-print fiction."
And specialise they do. Founded in 2005, they stock a wonderful and informed selection of gothic horror and supernatural fiction. I have my eyes on The Cormorant by Stephen Gregory.
Another speciality of their is gay interest, where they are constantly re-releasing out-of-print LGBT titles and classics.
And the covers... the beautiful covers.
Books are available in ePub and Mobi formats and are sent manually after purchase.
Founded in 2010 by two partners with experience of the e-book industry, Untreed Reads is home to over 1,500 titles from a range of authors. They stock fiction, non-fiction, children's books and foreign-language titles.
This particular book, Waves in the Wind, caught my eye with it's nicely designed cover. That's all it takes sometimes.
It's clear from the blog that Untreed are constantly trying out different approaches and are doing their best to get their books in front of readers. Take a look and see if there's something for you.
Most books are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats, but check each listing first, since the options vary.
Wildside Press mainly concentrates on reprints, books originally published between 1930 and 1990.
They have an interesting approach where they compile Megapacks around particular themes, eg. 'Sherlock Holmes', and publish them as e-books. Think of it as a bundle approach that resurrects lost titles.
Their e-books are usually in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats.
Invisible Publishing is another not-for-profit publisher, this time based in Canada.
They produce contemporary Canadian fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.
"Since releasing our first fiction titles in the spring of 2007, our catalogue has come to include works of graphic fiction and non-fiction, pop culture biographies, experimental poetry, and prose."
Books are available in ePub format as well as physical copies.
"Dzanc Books was created in 2006 to advance great writing and to impact communities nationally with our efforts to promote literary readership and advocacy of creative writing workshops and readings offered across the country."
Dzanc Books is a non-profit publisher, based in the US. They primarily publish literary fiction and host a range of other projects, including a monthly online literary journal, support emerging writers and conduct an annual prize.
Their titles are award-winning, sold in physical as well as e-book formats and you know that the revenue goes back into the business of creating more books and supporting authors. A great cause.
A multi-genre bookshop that gives 100% of the profit to the publisher. 0s&1s ('zeroes and ones') currently sells titles from 35 different publishers and in genres ranging from cerebral, classics and drama to sci-fi, short stories and suspense.
Their site is beautifully designed and the purchasing process is smooth as silk. E-books are available as a package of ePub, MOBI and PDF and almost all cost $6.
0s&1s also host conversations around books and their subjects. The site is well worth a read for the articles alone.
A leader in how to create a modern bookshop.
Serialised books have been making a comeback for a few years now. Serial Box are taking that model and turning it into their unique selling point.
The founders include former Tor and Penguin Random House staff.
In their own words:
"Serial Box is here to change all of that: artfully blending together the best of series television and the convenience of ebooks and audiobooks to bring readers a new form of story telling. Releasing fiction serials over the course of 10-16 week seasons, Serial Box is about delivering addictive episodes straight to the user’s digital device to be read or listened to anytime, anywhere."
Episodes are available in ePub, MOBI, PDF and Audiobook formats and cost $1.99 each for individual purchases and $1.59 each for a subscription. Each episode in a series is written by a different member of the book's author team - in a similar way to a television series - and has an estimated reading time of 42 minutes.
Another example of an e-book business to watch.
I'm still not sure about including Kobo in this list. They're not a dedicated DRM-free bookshop, but they're the only place I can buy certain unencumbered books. For example: Kobo is now the only shop where I can buy DRM-free titles by Tor, since they closed their own online shop and I boycott Amazon.
Founded in 2009 in Toronto, Canada, Kobo has since been bought by the Japanese company, Rakuten. They make the excellent Kobo e-reader device, so have a stake in the e-ink device market too.
Books are available in ePub format and to ensure you are buying a DRM-free title, check the Download options near the bottom of each book page.
JournalStone was founded in 2009 in California, USA and publishes in the science-fiction and horror genres for both adults and young adults.
They also publish Dark Discoveries magazine and the Hellnotes horror news website, so they're truly embedded in their genres.
Their titles are available in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats and samples are available for immediate download.
And nobody is allowed to run a horror press without some nod to the Old Gods...
"Aqueduct Press dedicates itself to publishing challenging, feminist science fiction. We promise to bring our readers work that will stretch the imagination and stimulate thought."
Based in Seattle, USA, Aqueduct have an active stream of publications on the way for both 2015 and 2016.
Their books are available in both ePub and MOBI formats and cover categories such as fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as a few specific imprints especially for convention events.
Aqueduct provide a large and growing catalogue that supports an important area of discourse.
"Atomic Fez Publishing is the Canadian press that provides hard-to-categorize but eminently readable fiction, including horror, humour, fantasy and noir, with an occasional dash of erotica."
Founded in 2009, Atomic Fez provides titles in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats.
Their book product pages have a nice amount of information with enough detail to make an informed purchase - such as clearly stating that books are DRM-free.
Sleepless Knights by Mark H. Williams looks like a fun read.
"Bundoran Press publishes quality science fiction novels and anthologies."
It seems they also publish fantasy novels.
Their titles are available as a zip file containing both MOBI and ePub formats.
Many people will recognise New Internationalist from their ground-breaking magazine, Their bookshop is just as important.
"New Internationalist reports on issues of world poverty and inequality. We focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and the powerless worldwide in the fight for global justice."
New Internationalist also manage the online shops for other organisations, including Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth.
They also sell the exposé of the illegal practices of the construction industry, Blacklisted, which is definitely worth a read.
All their books are DRM-free and usually available in ePub, MOBI and PDF.
Operating out of Alpena, Michigan, in the USA, World Weaver Press publish fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction titles.
In their own words:
"We believe in great storytelling. We believe in challenging genre boundaries and engaging the fundamental human drive to tell stories that resonate emotionally."
The host a strong selection of anthologies and collections, of which I have my eye on Corvidae.
Their books are available in both ePub and MOBI formats and are usually significantly cheaper than their dead-tree counterparts.
The Emma Press is an independent poetry publisher based in the UK. Founded in 2012, its titles have beautiful covers and the founder, Emma Wright, clearly loves each one.
Categories include anthologies, pamphlets and children's books, and are available in ePub and MOBI formats.
Apex is a small press that publishes works of science fiction, horror, fantasy and non-fiction. At the moment, they have around 40 e-book titles for sale, available in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats, all included in a single Zip download. They have beautifully crafted cover images and are heavily discounted compared to their paperback counterparts.
For twenty years, Tachyon have been publishing award winning smart science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. Famous for their anthologies, such as The Sword and Sorcery Anthology, Lovecraft's Monsters and Treasury of the Fantastic. Their e-books are available in ePub, MOBI and PDF formats.
If you need a critical read about the classic computer game, Jagged Alliance 2 or perhaps a discussion of the innovative gameplay introduced by Galaga, look no further than Boss Fight Books. Their Kickstarter to create the books was funded to over 900% and it's easy to see why. Take a look the next time you're wondering about the origins and development of Earthbound.
As well as their comic shop (see comic section), DriveThruFiction sell from varied publishers, including Solaris, Monte Cook Publishing (of Numenera fame) and Onyx Path Publishing (publishers of the World of Darkness setting). There's plenty of choice here, across genres, publishers and formats. Driven by its link to the RPG industry, the selection is strongest in that area, but is growing all the time.
Rosenfeld Media claim: "We don't publish books; we publish expertise." Their expertise is in the field User Experience. Alongside their books, Rosenfeld also provide consultation, so are embedded in the UX industry and apply UX to their business practices. Continuing this ethos, their books are provided in paperback, PDF, ePub, MOBI and DAISY (an accessible format for blind or dyslexic users) formats.
Created as a spin-off from Brooke Bond tea in 1968 after the success of their collectible aviation cards, Osprey Publishing is now a well known "military history brand... covering history from ancient times to the modern day". Their history is an interesting read in itself, but Osprey is primarily an enthusiast press. Their detailed reference titles on military history, units, vehicles and aircraft are the go-to books for military hobbyists and tabletop gamers alike. The e-books are available in both ePub and PDF - with the PDF format probably being the best choice for their well illustrated reference titles.
Candlemark and Gleam publish science-fiction, fantasy and anthologies. They intend to experiment with both new and old forms of publishing, such as the Victorian serial; a book released chapter by chapter, available individually or as a subscription. Great ideas like that make Candlemark and Gleam a publisher to look out for. Their reasoning behind going DRM-free is a joy to read:
"Pirates will share books illegally no matter what; keeping you from reading a book you've paid for on your computer, your e-reader, and your iPhone just complicates matters for you, not for them."
Founded in 2001 to publish a poetry book in response to the 9/11 attacks on New York, Melville House is an independent publisher of factual and fiction titles. They've also innovated quite a bit in the e-book and publishing field by creating something they call Hybrid Books:
"Each book in the HybridBook program features not only the core text of the novel, but extensive additional material rendered in digital form - the Melville House Illuminations. The Illuminations consist of highly curated text, maps, photographs and illustrations related to the original book."
"Girlebooks is your resource for classic and contemporary ebooks by female writers."
A nicely designed site (a rare thing in online bookshops) with a large selection of free and paid-for e-books in multiple, DRM-free formats. The books are predominantly classics in the public-domain, but many have had additions and illustrations added, creating paid-for alternatives to the free titles. They've also started their own Proofreading Initiative where they digitise public-domain texts for distribution on their own site and on Project Gutenberg. I'm going to grab myself a copy of Pride and Prejudice. Oh, Miss Bennet!
Belgrave House, and their sister site Regency Reads, sell over 800 e-books in various genres. You can probably guess that they concentrate on Regency-related titles, but not only that. The titles are mainly by self-published authors and come in a variety of formats, including PDF, ePub, PRC/MOBI, MSReader, Palm, HTML, Word and RTF.
Verso, named after the left-hand page of a book, has been publishing a huge selection of radical books on progressive topics for 40 years. They publish around 80 books a year from authors like John le Carre, Naomi Klein and Tariq Ali and cover topics from Anthropology & Sociology to Political Theory on a global perspective. Their books are watermarked and come in both ePub and MOBI formats.
"OR Books is a new type of publishing company. It embraces progressive change in politics, culture and the way we do business."
OR's founders, John Oakes and Colin Robinson, both have 'elite veteran' status in the publishing industry. They use print-on-demand and e-book publishing to stay agile and respond to current affairs. OR Books also accept payment via Bitcoin. :)
Leanpub is a site that allows authors to use online tools to write, publish and sell their book. It even provides ways for them to donate a portion of their income to certain causes. It provides a huge variety of programming books, but also stocks a number of other genres. Leanpub's niche is that authors can sell their books, even if they aren't finished yet - their motto is Publish Early, Publish Often. If you can't afford the high price of some programming books, you may find a cheaper alternative on Leanpub - or you might want to write one yourself.
Angry Robot Books only offer books in ePub format, but have a firm belief in the strength of DRM-free publishing. If you're happy to convert the books to Mobi yourself, for use on a Kindle, you should be okay. A large selection from a variety of genre publishers, including plenty of science-fiction; fantasy; steampunk; alternative history, as well as some really interesting magazines.
Baen Books offer their titles in the widest range of formats I've seen, including: Mobi/Kindle/Palm, EPUB/Nook/Stanza, Sony LRF, Rocketbook, RTF, MS Reader and HTML/Online. They predominantly offer science-fiction and fantasy.
Need some Tamil Pulp Fiction? Blaft is for you! These guys are independent, based in Chennai, India and offer "...bestselling Indian and Pakistani crime novels, Nigerian soyayya fiction, experimental writing, pulp art, folktales, graphic novels, and picture books about girls who are in love with monsters." What more could you ask for?
Book View Cafe is a cooperative publisher, whose members are comprised of the authors themselves. They cover a broad spectrum of genres. Here's how the sales revenue is split, according to their site: "At BVC, 95% of the cover price goes to the author. That's more than at any other online bookseller (Amazon, B&N, iTunes)."
When the description of your DRM-free bookshop begins with "Available now through our website is Tor's entire catalog of 2,500+ eBook titles, including the entire Wheel of Time series." you know you're in for a treat. As well as their existing selection of science-fiction and fantasy novels, Dragonmount also sell independently-published titles, including ones from new authors. Their e-books are available in ePub, Mobi and PRC formats. Unfortunately, this bookshop only serves customers in the US.
A great source of computing books, Manning also provide you with the e-book version for free if you already own the paper book - even if you didn't buy it from them! Their books are available in a number of formats.
Momentum Books are a digital-only and DRM-free imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Being based in Australia and being digital-only means they are able to publish titles with less overheads and from authors we wouldn't usually get to read in the Northern hemisphere. They provide a wide selection of genres and seem pretty up on geek culture. :)
As the finest in geek entertainment, No Starch Press produce excellent books on computing. From programming in Scratch to 3D work in Blender, No Starch has you covered. I still have my eye on Wicked Cool Shell Scripts. You get the e-book for free with most purchases of the paper book. Not all books come in all formats - many are only available in PDF.
"Originally focused on open source software, Packt pays a royalty on relevant books directly to open source projects. These projects have received over $400,000 as part of Packt's Open Source Royalty Scheme to date." Packt's e-books usually come in multiple DRM-free formats, including ePub, Mobi and PDF. They also provide a subscription service (PacktLib) which allows users to search for relevant information from their online library of digital books - a huge benefit when all you need is that obscure script.
PS Publishing don't seem to offer a large selection of e-books, but what they do offer is unique and interesting. Great for essays and horror; or even essays on horror.
An e-book imprint of Solaris books. With categories ranging from Apocalypse to Zombies and Gore, you know what you're getting from Rebellion. Along with lots of Judge Dredd titles, they also stock the latest by Juliet E. McKenna.
Smashwords provide a huge selection of indie books, directly from authors or through publishers. They make their titles available in a wide selection of formats and this is the only source I could find for a DRM-free version of First Blood by David Morrell.
"StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers." StoryBundle run regular, themed and DRM-free e-book bundles at fantastic prices. All the titles are provided in multiple formats. You can decide the price, split it between the authors and StoryBundle and even donate a portion to charity. A great way to discover new authors.
You'll recognise this publisher's computing books immediately, even if the name doesn't ring a bell. One of their greats is Designed for Use, by Lukas Mathis. They also provide discounts if you already own the paper book.
An independent bookshop, Weightless Books seem to mainly sell science-fiction and fantasy works. They also offer a number of magazines and anthologies, such as Clarkesworld and Lightspeed. Their direct-to-Kindle delivery system is a great feature.
"Urbane Publications is a new and exciting independent publisher dedicated to developing and producing the books you want to read – hip, contemporary, groundbreaking fiction and non-fiction designed to entertain, excite, and engage."
Urbane publish and sell titles in Contemporary Fiction, Crime Fiction, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Business, Self-Development, Biography and Humour. They also offer the Urbane Book Club, where members can get hold of all the titles for £99.99 a year.
Their books are usually available in ePub and Mobi formats and are priced sensibly lower than their paper versions.
"Phase 5 endeavors to publish art and fiction firmly rooted within the genres, or their in-between spaces, cross-overs, mish-mashes and descendants. The goal is not to publish "what's hot today" or focus on a particular type of plot or character, but to publish what will be timeless."
Publishing horror, science-fiction and fantasy, Phase 5 has a small but interesting range of titles available as ePub or PDF. So you'll need to convert the ePub to make a Kindle compatible Mobi file.
Many e-books are priced at US$0.99, so well worth a visit and a dig about.
The founder, Rebecca Ledford realised she was:
"Tired of the formulaic 'theme of the year' trends that flooded bookstore shelves, I began Phase 5 to enable the wonderful artists and authors I knew and met at conventions to be able to reach their potential fans."
I love their periodic table-based symbols for book genres and content tags.
It's good to see another bookshop that allows authors to upload and manage their own books.
Best Indie Bookstore provides 80% royalties and allows authors to personalise their own author page. As you can imagine, the quality varies greatly. But with over 200 titles listed so far, there's bound to be something for everyone.
Most books are available in ePub, Mobi and PDF formats.
There's a good chance of finding a hidden gem here.
"OpenBooks.com is an independent eBookstore where readers read first, then decide how much they want to pay based on what they feel a book is worth and how much they can afford."
Do you see how different this is? This next bit is extremely important for authors to digest and understand:
"Take a moment to imagine that each copy of your book, shared by your readers, works for you. Imagine that you can get paid by each reader who appreciates your work."
OpenBooks is a new model that is not only dependent on authors understanding how best to use it, but also on readers appreciating and rewarding authors for the work they produce. The effectiveness of the pay-what-you-want model has already been proven in approaches like online digital bundles and computer games, and the founders of OpenBooks have pedigree in that area (one founder was co-founder of the "world's second largest independent platform for games distribution", GOG.com).
Founded in 1988, Cemetery Dance is a horror and dark suspense publisher. Their authors include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub, William Peter Blatty, Clive Barker and many others. They started selling e-books in 2010 and now have a large collection of DRM-free titles on their site, available in both ePub and MOBI formats supplied in a Zip file.
Emily Books want to:
"...carve out a space in the retail environment for independent ebookselling by proving to publishers that it can and should be done."
Emily Gould and Ruth Curry wrote why DRM is crushing indie booksellers online and did something about it by opening Emily Books. With a delicious variety of titles and passionate descriptions for every book, Emily and Ruth have created the online equivalent of your favourite local bookshop. Bring your own coffee.
Snowbooks has been around since 2003 and is one of the best designed online bookshops I've seen. It may be something to do with their award-winning approach to the business of publishing and selling books. They stock a wide range of genres in paperback, hardback, e-book and wonderful-looking slipcase editions. There are plenty of novels, anthologies and non-fiction titles to choose from (including the mandatory Cthulhu) and I have my eye on a copy of Sharkpunk! ...but why the specific and separate section on cycling? Snowbooks also develop and sell the award-winning (again) Bibliocloud.com, their "enterprise-level publishing management system", that also powers the Snowbooks shop.
SpaceWitch is an UK company that specialises in genre fiction, and whose stated aim is to help the reader "discover the best of British independent publishers." Their site layout is very different and imaginative, which is great in the current world of online bookshops ;). They provide DRM-free titles in epub, mobi and pdf formats. In response to my e-mail query, they stated: "We don't believe in DRM in principle", which helps me feel confident buying from them.
Tomely is an interesting one. It isn't a bookshop, so much as an e-book sales platform. Which is fantastic. Publishers and authors can sign-up to Tomely, add their DRM-free book(s) and produce widgets to sell the books from their own websites. Tomely also sells bundles of DRM-free e-books. Keep an eye on this exciting venture.
As Tim O'Reilly says:
"At O'Reilly Media, we've always published our ebooks DRM free, following the advice of Lao Tzu, who said, 2500 years ago, 'Fail to honor people, they fail to honor you.'"
You can't argue with that, and when O'Reilly sells over 8,000 e-books from top publishers all over the world, why would you. They predominantly publish technology reference titles, but that can cover a wealth of topics from Arduino and Raspberry Pi to digital art manuals. Free updates and discounts on the paper book if you own the e-book keep me coming back to O'Reilly.
Comic Shops (7)
Josh Centers provides a great intro to drm-free comics in his article, The World of DRM-free Digital Comic Books, including the best reading software and the most suitable introductory editions for new readers.
A micro publishing house based in Glasgow, Scotland, BHP was founded in 2001.
They only sell one series in digital format for now, Rok of the Reds, but they'll hopefully expand.
I expect the files are available as PDF, but there is no information available at this time.
The British comic book publisher, 2000AD have been providing DRM-free versions of their comics in both PDF and CBZ (Comic Book Archive) formats since 2007. A great alternative to online comic services that don't let you download what you've bought. Along with the Rebellion bookshop they have your Dredd covered.
The introduction of DRM-free titles by Image Comics has been big news. While not all their titles are available at the moment (they're starting with new books before hitting the back catalogue), there's enough to get you started. Comics are available in high quality PDF, CBR, CBZ and ePub formats. I can't wait for a DRM-free version of Nonplayer to go with my paper (and comiXology... ) copy
According to the creators, Mark Waid and John Rogers, Thrillbent is "...an experiment in new-media publishing." The experiment seems to be a blend of free-to-view webcomics with DRM-free PDF download versions available to buy. The webcomics are different from the usual static panels, though. They've been designed to seem dynamic when viewed online, but still work as PDFs when bought and downloaded. A very interesting direction, that I hope takes off. And, of course, there's plenty of Cthulhu-related content.
Top Shelf have followed the other great comic book publishers and retailers by starting to convert to a DRM-free model. They have a few ready right now, including title by Jess Fink, Robert Venditti, Brett Weldele and others. They'll be making many more books available DRM-free in the future. Another great addition to a growing trend.
A part of OneBookshelf, DriveThru provide a number of online shops for digital comics, RPGs, fiction and card games. Their comic shop is another place where the comic-hungry fan can discover titles from their favourite publishers. From 2000AD to White Wolf, there's plenty from across the genre spectrum, all in DRM-free PDF format. If you can't find your comic anywhere else, try DriveThruComics.
Dynamite's CEO and Publisher, Nick Barrucci explains that:
"Expanding into DRM-free content, made available directly to consumers from our website, is simply giving the consumers the option for what they want and how they want it, and continues to reach out to a non-traditional comic-reading audience."
Dynamite have a massive selection of comics. From Battlestar Galactica: Zarek to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, there's a range and depth to their collection. I'm going to dive into the Pathfinder titles and maybe some Bob's Burgers.