Random House will begin selling its online audiobooks without DRM protection starting next month, according to WSJ, confirming an earlier report on BoingBoing. The Bertelsmann-owned publisher’s Random House Audio division began experimenting with DRM-free sales via eMusic in September. About 500 audiobooks, which carried a watermark, were selected for the eMusic experiment and Random House was satisfied that none of the titles involved were pirated on file-sharing networks. In fact, during its tracking of pirated copies of audiobooks, the only illegal files Random House found were made from CDs or from files whose DRM was hacked.
By selling its audiobooks under the MP3 format only, Random House will be able to sell its titles across any online retailer, not just through its other retail partners, Audible (NSDQ: ADBL), Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and iTunes. The company did say that it will keep DRM audiobooks in place for authors who request it. Craphound has a copy of the Random House memo here.