Yesterday Amazon surprised us a bit with news of a Kindle app store, but there's a change they haven't mentioned: Publishers are now being allowed to skip adding DRM to Kindle books. Updated.
According to Nieman Lab, several publishers noticed the change around January 15th when a "new option gave [them] the choice to "not enable digital rights management" in Amazon's Digital Text Platform. There was no formal announcement, but this is the explanation from Amazon itself:
You may choose, on a per title basis, to have us apply DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology which is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files for titles. Once your title is published, this setting cannot be changed.
It's doubtful that major publishers would be quick to take advantage of this change, but we'll see. Kudos to Amazon for finally letting the people putting out the content decide how to present it to ebook shoppers. [Nieman Lab]
Update: Amazon wrote in to say that they've "always given publishers the choice [to skip DRM], [they] just added new functionality to make it easier." I guess it must've been pretty difficult to choose to skip DRM in the past since many publishers didn't seem to be aware of the option, but let's not dwell on it and just be happy that it's easy now and we all know about it.