Independent Publishers Group [IPG] announced Tuesday that the Chicago-based book distribution company is offering its client publishers the option of selling their titles without Digital Rights Management, or DRM. DRM bars consumers from sharing electronic files by requiring account and device authentication. There is debate in the industry about the effectiveness and value of DRM, with some criticizing it as limiting consumers from moving purchased files between their devices.

Marc Suchomel, who is exhibiting with IPG at BEA in New York this week, explained that the company decided that publishers should have the option of selling books without DRM if they so choose.

“Whether or not to sell books with DRM is a decision publishers need to make,” Suchomel said, “Since there was interest among our clients, we felt IPG could service them better by giving them an option.”

To date, four of IPG’s client publishers have chosen to sell e-books without DRM: ECW, Chicago Review Press, Triumph Books, and Medallion Press. David Caron, ECW publisher, explained DRM can “sour” the relationship between its authors and their readers. “We must trust that readers will respect authors by only copying e-books for their private use.” Cynthia Sherry, the publisher of Chicago Review Press, IPG’s parent company, argues that DRM does not stop piracy, but, instead, “simply frustrates paying customers and hinders sales.”