Cory Doctorow is reporting that Bertelsmann’s “Random House Audio has announced that it will now allow its audiobooks to be sold without DRM by all of its online retailers.” Already, it sells DRM-free audiobooks through emusic.com. From that experience, Random House Audio has learned that not treating its customers like criminals is a good thing. One would hope such a move by the largest book publisher in the world would lead other publishers to recognize (as I blogged in January) how ridiculous it is to encrypt downloaded versions of audiobooks while the same audiobooks on CDs are not encrypted (i.e., you can go to a public library with your laptop and load up DRM-free audiobooks for free, but you can’t buy the same thing online). As I said then, for the same reason Amazon.com doesn’t sell music downloads that have DRM, it should pressure publishers to allow it to sell DRM-free audiobooks on its new acquisition, Audible.com.
Oh, yeah, and then it should do the same with eBooks for the Kindle.
(I learned about this on Twitter from @marshallk.)