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PDF Ebook Protection - To Wrap Or Not To Wrap?

Aug 17, 2007
Ebooks are arguably the largest percentage of internet marketing products sold. With the "information age" well under way, this is not surprising.

The internet has made information exchange not only very easy, but also very profitable.

Ebooks do not need to be manufactured or printed so the cost of reproduction is zero. Add to this the tendency of ebooks to be sold for a higher price than a printed book, the profit potential in digital ebooks is huge.

Ebooks have the unique offering of 100% profit (not of course taking into account general business expenses such as payment processing, customer support, etc.). With the huge profit of ebooks, however, so too are there unique business issues when it comes to security and anti-piracy of your work.

There are two parts to ebook security, and these two parts are often debated in internet marketing forums.

The first part is security and protection of the sale itself, and the delivery of the product. Download management systems such as DLGuard (http://www.dlguard.com) will easily take care of protecting your sales process from being bypassed, as well as setting up a secure download area and expiring download links.

The largest piracy damage can be done simply by posting a business's download page on a forum or website. Potentially hundreds of sales can be lost in mere hours.

Manual delivery processes can be implemented to help stop this, such as waiting for a sale to come in and then emailing the ebook to the customer. This process is usually favoured by people newer to internet marketing and business, as those who have been running an internet business realise that delivering products manually will not only take up all of your spare time, but will eventually lead to many disgruntled customers, and a number of customers thinking they've been scammed.

This said, however, many people new to internet marketing realise that investment in a sales and download management system is an excellent way to build a solid foundation for their business. Suffice to say, medium and experienced internet marketers and business people agree that an automated download management system is imperative to the success of any business.

So the first part of Ebook security is generally agreed upon. An internet business owner needs to automate their product delivery system, and in doing so securing your download system is also highly advised.

The second part is the more controversial part. How does one protect an ebook after it has been downloaded? And furthermore, should you take steps to protect it?

The argument for protection an ebook after it's been downloaded is fairly obvious - you don't want someone passing it to their friends, or requesting a refund and simply keeping the ebook known as refund scammers.

So why the controversy?

The reason is that generally speaking, the ebook protection has the potential to cause more harm than good.

Ebook protection is usually done with what is called a PDF wrapper, or Ebook compiler. These are basically the same thing. These systems take a PDF, "wrap" it in a software application, and then produce an executable file (.exe file). There can be a number of problems with these files:

- Firstly, .exe files generally can't be read by Macintosh readers. This will eliminate a portion of your potential customers instantly, as they just won't be able to open your ebook.

- Secondly, PDF wrappers can carry a lot of baggage. For example, when a person buys a wrapped ebook in a lot of cases they then need to download more software to actually read the ebook. This software can either be a new ebook reader application, or simply extra runtime files that are required by some types of programming languages.

- Thirdly, PDF wrappers usually add a number of extra steps for your customer to take to simply open the ebook, can demand an internet connection be present when opening the ebook, can limit the ability to print the ebook, and more inconveniences for your customers.

These inconveniences can lead to a higher level of customer dissatisfaction, customer support requests, and refund requests.

Most people, even those that recommend ebook wrapping, will admit that ebook wrappers can cause inconveniences to your valid customers.

The question you need to answer for your own business when considering ebook wrapping is whether or not inconveniencing valid customers (and possibly increase customer support and refunds) is worth the added protection of an ebook wrapper.

The argument is often made that the people who would accept a pirated version of your ebook would never have bought it in the first place. While this argument isn't necessarily true in every case, logic dictates that in some cases it would be correct.

So while automating and securing your download process is always recommended, the choice to "wrap" an ebook is something that needs to be considered heavily before making a decision for your business and your customers.
About the Author
Sam Stephens
www.dlguard.com
Sam Stephens runs a successful internet business providing software tools for internet marketers and business people.
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