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EBooks do they work?

is it worth it?

1:20 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I currently have a site, which is job related and am interested in selling my own product.

Does anyone have experience with selling his own ebooks?

1:29 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Does anyone have experience with selling his own ebooks?

Works great if you promote the book properly. One of the most important elements in promoting an eBook is its freshness. If the information contained in the eBook is of the type that changes periodically, letting your prospective buyers know that the book is continually updated is a big plus.

If your eBook contains information that is perceived as being of value by your visitors, it will sell.

2:52 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was thinking of collating information from sources on the net. Writing a 100-90 page ebook will take ages if this is done from scratch!
2:57 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I was thinking of collating information from sources on the net.

Hmmm, not what I thought you were up to. There are many concerns involved when producing an eBook based on others information. There are many legal issues to address also.

If it were your original content, then it is a different story.

2:57 pm on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"Collecting information from the net"

Do you mean ripping off content from other people's websites and then compiling then and profiting from OTHER PEOPLE's content? How grand ...

We've had a lot of problems with our content ripped off, finding its way to other people's ebooks. We view them as total scumbags with no grey matter between their ears that they are not able to create their own content.

9:22 am on Jul 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ok, I have a different question:

Let's say I sell e-books. How can I be guaranteed that the buyer will not copy and distribute it? It is an electronic information anyway. I know there are keys and there are companies - I think like Shareit that let you upload your ebooks and then when someone buys it, you send him a key. But how can I be guaranteed that the buyer is not familiar with computer hacking and will not crack the key or produce a key generator and distributes the ebook - just like what happens with software.
Do you have any idea how things work? Because I am not the first to sell ebooks.

11:45 am on Jul 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


You can try for a DRM system on ebooks but this tends to be cumbersome and scare off some buyers who are afraid of loosing the key down the road.

Two additional problems with DRM: With most DRM schemes you either have to buy expensive software to encode it and/or sometimes pay per unit royalties for each book sold. Second, most DRM schemes can be cracked and you do not even need to to be a hacker, all you need to do is Google it.

All of which is to say, most honest people will not copy your book and the DRM is not going to stop the dishonest ones.

A lot of ebooks are sold without DRM and seem to do alright.

2:02 pm on Jul 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I purchased an e-book and they have it go through and put a
"Prepared specifically for Customer Name"
At the bottom of every page.

I think that that is a good idea and would deter most people from sending it around.

12:06 pm on Jul 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

well it sounds interesting - but how should I apply this phrase on each book I send? it will take time to change it so often. anyway it is a good idea.
5:43 pm on Jul 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The place that I ordered it from has a script that does it (I emailed the author and he mentioned it). Takes the name from the credit card information and inserts it at the bottom of every page.

I have created PDF's before using some packages from the apache site. I would guess that they are doing something similar. When the book is ordered the script runs and then they email the link to download.

7:46 am on Jul 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Dudermont - so you mean the whole process is automated?
sounds great and in the same time so far away from me. I do not have any idea about scripts, web programming, etc. What I do is graphic design and the software version of the books. We do sell paper books but wanted to try the online version.
Do you think a company like shareit for example will offer such a service - automated input of the buyer's name on each page?
2:06 am on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm looking at the possibilities for my first eBook of original content.

Have found a DRM system that seems more user friendly than the norm and also gives a lot of control to the author (how many copies to allow each buyer, whether and for how long to "phone home" for authentication, and much more).

Have not done deep research on this, but it costs 10 cents per each customer eBook registration, seems pretty secure (eBook is always encrypted and only in the clear during reading) and it integrates with the shopping cart system i already know.

I realize that no software is absolutely secure - that's not the point. It's decent protection Vs no protection i'm wondering about.

My questions:
1. Assuming any DRM scheme will scare off some sales and will also cut into profits, but also considering that my original content might turn out to be valuable enough to be well worth protecting, just how risky is it to NOT use DRM?

I see lots of reports here of stolen content. And once my content is stolen, won't it be too late to do DRM? In other words, should i start right out with full-on DRM and drop it later if it kills too many sales?

2. For several reasons, eBooks have not caught on in a big way. Yet some people seem to be profiting from them. Any tips on how to leverage their advantages and minimize their problems?

A few problems i'm aware of are:
*The low resolution of displays Vs paper
*The hassles of buying and downloading eBooks (equivalent to buying/downloading software online - easy for most of us, but maybe not for the newbies who are my market).
*Brain-dead DRM that won't let you move your eBook to other PCs. This won't be a problem for me, but has already spoiled the concept of eBooks for some.
*Lack of ability to print (more DRM security).
*Unfamiliarity with eBooks

3. Have not yet investigate ClickBank and PayPal to see if they have DRM or equal. Anyone have experience with those services and eBook security?

Thanks all!

11:32 am on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


In general, non-fiction ebooks sell better than fiction, because they have information people need. So if you have a non-fiction book maybe a DRM scheme will work for you.

Some things to consider:

1. Formats. Some work only on desktop computers and not very well on PDA's. Most people prefer to read on a handheld when that option is available.

2. DRM scheme: does that work on PDA's? If so, does it work on both Palm and Pocket PC?

3. Does the format work on both PC and Mac?

Now if it is a work of fiction then you should probably make it available in as many formats as possible. If it is non-fiction, then look at your competition, if they are offering the same information non-DRM then you might have too also.

I think you can see from my points above why ebooks have had a hard time catching on. You have a mix of hardware, OS's, proprietary software readers and formats combines with DRM schemes that it all becomes bewildering to the public. Even for handheld owners how to transfer an ebook to the handheld is not intuitive when you first try it. So you need to also consider who your likely customer is: tech-savvy or Joe-average reader.

3:11 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the earlier posts, pageonerResults. Made me realise freshness and free updates for a year or two was an important customer benefit for my eBook project.

Good points Brad, thanks.
My first eBook is a practical, non-fiction, "how-to" about computers and computing, for desktop and laptop users, and most useful while they are at those systems. So that seems to take care of the handhelds issue.

Only found one similar product, after extensive searching and only on ClickBank. Will buy that and check it out. My eBook will be expanded to cover more related info later and will then have 2 to 4 ClickBank products with a lot of overlap, but i'm pretty confident i can add more value and synergy.

As for platforms, my info only applies to Windows, so i don't think i need to worry about Linux or Mac.

New questions:
1. Yesterdays research seems to point to ClickBank as the way to go, for their affiliates, 3rd party transaction handling, no need for merchant account, etc. Yet they don't seem to have a DRM system? I can't seem to get more detailed info without joining first, so can anyone verify this?

The only good DRM system i can find requires using that company's servers, and integrates with my favorite shopping cart web app (which i've used for my eCommerce web evelopment/marketing clients).

2. But that loses the ClickBank advantages and requires a merchant account and also a separate authorization gateway service - expensive and difficult for me. Any tips on easy inexpensive merchant accounts?

Also checked out PayPal and they don't seem to offer much for virtual products.

Decisions, decisions :)

6:43 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well there is eBookAd for fullfillment and a built in affiliate program. Nearly all of there stuff is non-DRM but you might be able to use Adobe's DRM for PDF files. That might work.

For other fullfillment services, you might want to look at some of the services that independant software developers use where they automatically send out a Registration code to unlock a program, perhaps that would work. Unfortunately I can't think of the names of any of these outfits right now.

7:08 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, a software product fullfillment service is a good idea!

Unhappily, Adobe's eBook reader forum has lots of angry complaints about Adobe's DRM only allowing one copy and no way to move content to another PC, or to recover it after rebuilding a crashed OS, etc.

Think i'll avoid Adobe DRM for sure, they seem to have "shot themselves in the foot on the way to lake stupid" on this one.

A shame, as PDF is a major eBook medium. But if PDF means Adobe DRM or no DRM, i may have to do without PDF.

7:24 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

eReader (fka Palm Digital Media) has a DRM scheme. You do have to pay royalties, but they have a pricing program for self publishing authors that may be reasonable. The reading software is available for Windows, Mac and Palm and is second in popularity only to PDF. The actual editor software to make the ebook is reasonable.
7:36 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Many thanks Brad.

I'll check out eBookAd and eReader and look into some software fullfillment services.

1:33 am on Aug 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ClickBank is looking pretty good.
Didn't find enough info on their site (without joining), so i emailed their sales staff.

Got a quick reply and a quick reply to my reply :)

Proceedurally, it seems they basically just send approved, paid customers to your site to download your virtual product and it's all in your hands at that point. They do require support pages and such customer-friendly stuff, which you would want to do anyway.

What i like is that this leaves you free to use your favorite DRM product, eBook compiler, etc. Since it is all coming from your own site, you can do things the best way, without the hassles you might have using someone else's server instead.


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