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You could specifically identify each book, and would therefore know which book is in circulation and which customer reference that applies to.
nothing is 100% .. the benefit to the customer not to release it is in your added value.. eg: any free subsequent updates, back up or support, basically any extras you can add to your book to make it more appealing.. these privilages being removed if you find it has been illegally distributed..
You would do this for each customer. Simply create a database or SS to hold the info. Then if you find it later on a site, you know who to contact.
Of course anyone can simply extract the text out and make a new copy in Word or something. Nothing is 100% safe.
Something like HTML Compiler Pro. It's website seems to have disappeared, but I found it to be the best years ago.
More softwares here: [ebookcompilers.com...]
You need one that will combine to web pages into an executable, _and_ which doesn't need Internet Explorer to work, to maximise your audience. Mac users get left in the cold, but ...
and its protection:
This offers hardware locking. The trick is not to be anal and use all the security options, as that will probably cause errors on some users PCs. The main thing is to stop casual swopping of your ebook.
PDFs aren't secure.
That won't stop anyone from ripping the content and recompiling it, but it should prevent people from simply putting it in the shared folder of their favorite p2p application.
After all, would you want to spread around a copy of an e-book that has "Licensed to: your name your@email" right next to a paragraph that prohibits distribution?
Why does he do that?
Because he's found that people will read part of a book online, decide they like the book, and then BUY it to finish reading it. Reading books on a computer monitor is a pain, much easier to head over to Amazon or your local bookstore and buy the thing for $7. Cheaper to buy the book than to print it out on your printer at home, too. Some of the authors involved have "donated" older titles to the experiment -- and seen sales of those older titles dramatically jump.
So if it works for the big boys -- you might consider not worrying about theft of the book, but rather, worrying about getting people to read the digital file and then buy the complete book in paper form from a POD publisher. I believe there's a few that charge very little up front to get started.
Tho if it's a good book -- have you considered simply putting the content on a website & adsensing it? If the content's okay with Adsense's TOS, it might be the most profitable way to go.
We were going to put a book I wrote into a ebook and CD and use the security features. Then we figured out that you could just save the file in "save as" and take it off the CD.
When you all say that you put a special # or the persons email on the ebook, if you use the security features, how can they rip it out?
If you put their email or a code on it, I guess this means that you are manually emailing the book?
I suppose whether you worry or not depends on the type, size, price, etc. of a particular ebook...and how well-known you are as an author.
I sell a niche ebook at my website. I use LinkLok for PayPal, which automates the process and does not show the link were the ebook is on the server. No one, not even a bot, will find that link.
I have copyright information on the last page of my ebook which includes information that indicates copies can be bought at my site and invites persons to contact me for group pricing. I know very well that others will copy and pass it around but I have a number of hyperlinks back to my site listed in the addendum for related reading. If someone reads my book that far then I believe they will have interest in visiting my site.
So I look at my ebook also as a form of advertising. More visitors means there may very well be more clicks on my Google and other ads.
I have enough site visitors each month that I know there will always be a fresh supply of potential buyers. I'm not going to get rich from sales of it but right now I'm selling between 1-4 ebooks a day on average.