I have just started to explore book market for English literature. I found that all of the big sellers use DRM. It's extremely inconvenient for me, as I have gotten used to the DRM-free Russian Ebook site (litres).

Is there a DRM-free bookshop with a reasonable stock of English books?

5 Answers 5


imore.com suggests:

I hope this helps you 🙂

  • 1
    Thanks. Unfortunately, they provide a rather limited number of titles... Probably, current dreaded state of the English-language book market is a fact of life. DRM is everywhere and that's all. I still have trouble to get used that people value freedom and ignore DRM existence at the same time... Sep 7, 2018 at 12:53
  • I agree, it is maddening. I think Amazon's market dominance, plus the commitment of the biggest NY publishers to favor DRM solutions discourages people from selling in alternate channels. Sep 10, 2018 at 2:22
  • @GeorgeShuklin smashwords has almost half a million books. I am not sure how that is a limited number of titles. Sep 15, 2018 at 8:23

There are actually lots of sources for books that are DRM-free.

Some provide free books (i.e. books that you do not have to pay for), and others are just publishers who choose to sell books without DRM, and trust you for not giving away copies, since they need to sell the books to make a living. It may also be authors who sell or give their books directly on the Internet.

For example, many retailers like Kobo, Smashwords or Amazon have most books for sale, but also have books available for free. Both kinds may be with or without DRM. Amazon uses private standards which, though not DRM stricto-sensu, may be very inconvenient for some users (such as myself, using Linux and Android) unless you run Windows or a Mac.

Where to look depends very much on the kind of books you are looking for. For example, I am interested in science fiction in English and classical literature in French.

Sites I would recommend for a start are Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive (see sites: Project Gutenberg - Internet Archive)

Macmillan is a major publisher who sells a lot of books without DRM. A lot of smaller publishers do that too (such as Baen, Phoenix Pick, Wildside Press and others in Science Fiction and Fantasy). Most occasionally give books away for free.

Book bundles sellers, such as HumbleBundle and StoryBundle, sell bundles of books that are usually DRM-free (in several years I encountered only one bundle that was under some kind of DRM control, and the seller actually accepted to reimburse me with no fuss). These can be very interesting sources of good books that are otherwise sold only with DRM. And they are usually rather cheap, compared to their standard price.

Most books in the public domain can be found for free and/or without DRM if you look hard enough.

Note that when books have no hard DRM (the kind that may be bothering you), they may still have watermarks, i.e. unique identifiable characteristics, so that the origin can be traced when those books are not supposed to be redistributed by the purchaser.


Ebooks.com has plenty in their DRM-free section. You can also filter your searches by DRM-free content.


Baen Books and Tor publish without DRM.

  • 1
    In addition, Baen Books has a Free Library, which is a selection of their books for free.
    – Makyen
    Jul 21, 2019 at 4:28
  • Tor is very interesting for me. Are they have own book shop or there is some kind of proxy-shop? If so, which one? Jun 14, 2020 at 9:21
  • The publisher Tor? They do not have their own ebook store. See ebooks.com
    – K7AAY
    Jun 14, 2020 at 18:36
  • The point is the publisher says whether a book has DRM not the platform. So TOR etc books are Drm free on amazon on kobo or where else they are sold
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 25, 2020 at 14:58

I think you have the wrong way of looking at this. The ebook store does not directly decide if a book is DRM protected. The choice of DRM or not is up to the publisher.

So find good publishers and use whatever ebook store is most convenient.

  • 1
    Things a a bit more complicated. Sone publishers will produce books they sell DRM free. These books may be found in web stores available only with DRM. The reason is that the store does not want to sell DRM free books, and the publisher does not want to lose a reseller. This is just pressure on publishers by the stores. But it could also be that other publishers put pressure on the store not to sell any DRM-free book. Everything is possible. From (failing) memory, I think books from Wilside Press that they sell DRM-free are found with DRM on some sites.
    – babou
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:28
  • @babou which stores force Drm? Tor and Baen at least do take a dim view of this
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 27, 2020 at 12:55
  • "force DRM" is stronger than what I wrote. Maybe my sentence was too affirmative, but it was my only explanation. All I know is that I have seen that at least once, and I think twice (though my memory is not too good). The fact is that, when I am really interested in a book from an unknown imprint, I try to check on the web whether the publisher might be selling it directly without DRM. Many small publishers sell DRM-free books, though many do not. I know about TOR and Baen, and you can add Phoenix Pick and some others. It seems to be a measure of involvement with the content they sell.
    – babou
    Jun 27, 2020 at 22:16
  • @babou the issue is that it is the publisher not the ebook store that decides on Drm or not
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 27, 2020 at 23:17
  • Well, actually you are wrong, any decision regarding a book belongs to the author. But, how comes everyone gets the feeling publishers decide. Maybe because publishers can exert more pressure, have bigger sticks than authors. But sometimes a retailer has an even bigger stick. Or some corporations have more économic power, or more political power, or manage to have unfair laws voted to their advantage. If you are not extremely cynical, then you never met these people. This said, some are really nice, devoted to their jobs, to the books, authors and public. But the system is corrupted.
    – babou
    Jun 28, 2020 at 21:20

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