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Avon Romance to debut ReadingSocial App and DRM free ebooks

Avon Romance, an imprint of HarperCollins, was the first to drop agency pricing and is now ready to go DRM free for some books. Tor recently announced that its books would be DRM free. Tor is an imprint of Macmillan. This is tremendous progress.  I’m just going to post the part of the  press release for your perusal (the deleted portions are just about HC business and fluffery about Facebook).

New York, NY – October 16, 2012 –Leading romance publisher Avon Books is piloting a free Facebook app,, which will give readers the chance to read excerpts from Avon’s latest books, share their favorites with friends, and discover new content based on what their friends are reading.  Up to 20 percent of each book will be available to read, and once a book is browsed in the app, a person can choose to have that book show up in their News Feed or timeline for friends to see. There will also be clickable buy links to DRM-free editions of the selected Avon books from  Consumers can also choose to purchase DRM-enabled versions of the books at other online retailers.

A recent online consumer survey indicated that romance readers are highly active in the digital arena, purchasing e-books and sharing information via social channels.  Many of the respondents pointed to Facebook as being the center point of their social/digital sharing world.  “Many are using apps to share the news stories that they are reading online instantly with their friends,” says Liate Stehlik, Senior Vice President and Publisher of William Morrow and Avon Books.  “The recent word-of-mouth phenomenon surrounding Fifty Shades of Gray confirms that women are talking about the books they are reading in equal measure.  Thus, Avon worked to create a simple way for friends to connect on Facebook over the books they are most passionate about.”
She continues, “The Avon Social Reader is a fun, user-friendly way for readers to sample an interesting mix of excerpts posted to this Facebook app every month, and then virally spread the news about what they are reading via social media.”
Partnering with allows Avon, for the first time, to offer a DRM-free option to their authors and readers, “a publishing capability many of them had asked us to pursue,” Stehlik says.  The files can also be delivered as secure Adobe ePub -book editions.  Bestselling author Tessa Dare expresses her excitement, saying, “I know that DRM can be a frustration for honest, paying readers who just want to purchase and read books on their preferred devices.  Avon’s experiment will help me reach a new segment of the digital readership.”  New York Times bestseller Cathy Maxwell says, “I’m excited that readers will now have a new way to get the inside scoop on our books – and what a great, easy way to share with all of their friends on Facebook!”

The Avon Social Reader will be launched out via Facebook today, with excerpts and buy links for the following titles:

·        A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel  by Pamela Palmer

·        A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare

·        A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

·        A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney

·        A Warrior’s Promise by Donna Fletcher

·        A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

·        After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries

·        Chosen: A Dark Breed Novel by Sable Grace

·        Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville

·        Darkness Becomes Her by Jaime Rush

·        Dark Desire by Christine Feehan

·        How to Be a Proper Lady: A Falcon Club Novel by Katharine Ashe

·        Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure: A Summersby Tale by Sophie Barnes

·        Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller

·        Lyon’s Bride: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell

·        Mating Season: A Cabin Fever Novella by Alice Gaines

·        Nine Lives of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista

·        Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel by Jeaniene Frost

·        Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown

·        Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol

·        Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles by Zoe Archer

·        Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Copper

·        The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash

·        The Way to a Duke’s Heart: The Truth About the Duke by Caroline Linden

·        Under a Vampire Moon: An Argeneau Novel by Lynsay Sands

·        Wanted: Undead or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks

·        When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell

·        Wicked Road to Hell: A League of Guardians Novel by Juliana Stone

·        Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.
More information about The Avon Social Reader is available online at Avon’s Facebook page, or via the direct link,

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Brian
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 15:13:59

    There will also be clickable buy links to DRM-free editions of the selected Avon books from Consumers can also choose to purchase DRM-enabled versions of the books at other online retailers.

    It’s a good start, but why not go DRM free at all vendors? Also am I reading it correctly that it’s only on some (“selected”) books, not all? That’s just asking for confusion among readers.

  2. jane_l
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 15:32:31

    @Brian: My understanding is that it will be DRM free at other vendors, if the vendors permit (like I don’t know if B&N or Apple sells DRM free books. But I don’t know how the books will be chosen. I asked and was directed to the press release. My guess is that they don’t know at this point.

  3. Brian
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 15:55:06

    OK, I guess it’s the “Consumers can also choose to purchase DRM-enabled versions of the books at other online retailers” line that led me to believe they wouldn’t be DRM free elsewhere.

    FYI, B&N and Apple both allow for DRM free books.

    Looks like the books listed above are already live as DRM free. I looked at Under a Vampire Moon by Lynsay Sands and it lists available formats as “Available in: Epub, Secure Adobe Epub eBook”. I think selling them as both DRM free and DRM’d is going to confuse some people although I could be wrong.

  4. LG
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 16:48:11

    @Brian: “FYI, B&N and Apple both allow for DRM free books.”

    As far as B&N goes, even if they allow for them, they don’t make them easy to find. As far as I know, product pages don’t indicate whether books have DRM or not, and search options don’t allow customers to limit their results to DRM-free. Unless there’s some list out there of publishers/titles/authors that are always DRM-free, you have to buy things on the assumption that they will have DRM. That’s been a gripe of mine since I first bought my Nook. Heck, since I first tried out a friend’s Nook to see if I’d even like it.

  5. Brian
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 18:02:58

    Yeah, it’s a pain at B&N. For the Tor books which are all DRM free now there is a line in the books overview that says “At the publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied”, but those are the only books where I’ve seen it (so far).

    Amazon’s not much better, but if the description lists “Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited” then it doesn’t have DRM. Or the Tor books have the same line as they do at B&N “At the publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied”

    It would be nice if all the stores could be clear about a titles DRM status.

  6. LG
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:19:45

    @Brian: Thanks, that’s good to know! I tried asking BN how I could tell which of their books had DRM and which didn’t, and all I ever got was a confusing form letter-y reply that blamed DRM on publishers and sort of made it seem like all BN e-books had DRM, which I knew wasn’t true. I came away from that customer service experience more angry than enlightened.

  7. Kaetrin
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 04:24:57

    I’m not really interested in the Facebook thing. My FB account is in my own name and I occasionally visit to catch up with family or distant friends. My blogger stuff isn’t connected and I don’t want it to be. It’s the same reason I don’t review on Amazon. It gets back to the online privacy/doxxing/BBA’s we’ve been discussing lately. I just don’t want to invite that home I’m afraid.

  8. DS
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 08:35:40

    About that sharing with your friends things. I love telling people when I’ve read a good book (or a particularly bad one for that matter) but it seems a bit excessive. I was buying some office supplies the other day and I was given an option to post on Facebook that I had just bought six bottles of white-out. Would anyone care? I don’t have a Facebook account but if I did I would not want to be getting all this crap nor would I want to spam my friends about every book I buy.

    Maybe my recent 57th birthday has made more curmudgeonly than usual.

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