Ebook Theft: Protecting What’s Rightfully Yours

After several months working on his latest e-book, he breathes a sigh of relief when he finishes editing the last line. Finally, he clicks on the PDF converter, and within seconds, he has a formatted ebook.

Since you finished editing the sales page on your website two weeks ago, there’s nothing to do but upload your ebook and wait for the huge profits to roll in, right?

Even if your eBook is as promising as your ambitions, someone could steal your earnings the moment it’s published online. Digital product theft continues to skyrocket each year. So unless you securely protect your ebook distribution, those profits could slip out the back door.

a perfect world

Imagine if Mercedes Benz had someone steal their design plans. The thief later packaged it as an e-book and showed how an average person could have one built by another company for just $1,500. Which company do you think most people would approach to buy a new Mercedes?

What if your local bank didn’t have tellers or security guards, but left money on the tables and posted signs on the walls asking customers to transact honestly? Do you think your bank would be in business for long?

As silly as these examples may sound, many writers continue to lose their hard-earned money because they assume that by placing a copyright inside their e-books, they will deter theft. However, they feel that most customers are sincere and would automatically pay for their books.

Unfortunately, eBook theft is widespread even in countries that have strict copyright laws, and you can forget about those countries where copyright laws are lax or non-existent.

As writers, we must protect our work from hackers, crackers, and other internet thieves. With the ability to transfer files at the speed of thought over the Internet, you need a secure method to create and deliver your eBooks.

public trust

“For me, it comes down to economics over ethics,” says a sophomore at Colorado State University when asked if she thinks it’s acceptable to download someone’s ebook without paying for it. “With everything I need to pay these days, I’m willing to cut corners where I can.” She is not alone.

In a recent study conducted by IDC for the Business Software Alliance, “Two-thirds of surveyed college students see nothing unethical about sharing or downloading copyrighted digital files (software, music, and movies) without paying for them. In addition, more than half, 52 percent, think it is also acceptable behavior in the workplace.

Internet piracy is not only crippling the recording industry, it is also affecting all companies and individuals that sell downloadable products over the Internet. With those staggering numbers, it’s easy to understand how much money an author could lose.

where robberies happen

Thefts can start directly from your website. Some hackers may find your e-book download page due to lack of website security. Other places you can look for illegal copies of your eBook:

eBay – Many criminals like to put their item up for a quick bid. By starting with a low bid, you are guaranteed to make some quick sales. If you have been selling items on eBay regularly, you have the opportunity to sell multiple copies of your e-book at a fixed price. You may want to explore the book categories to see if anyone is selling your eBook under the same title, or even a new title.

Online forums and bulletin boards: Some of these sites have more than 100,000 members. These groups exist only to provide free software, e-books, and scripts to their members. Although some charge a membership fee, most allow unlimited access to files that members upload to sites like rapidshare.de, megaupload.com, useddit.com. Within a few days, thousands of users could download your e-book to their computers, without paying for them!

Personal Websites: There are even those who are not interested in auctioning off their book or giving it away on a forum. These people will copy your website, upload it to another server, and then sell your book as their own. The clever ones will even change the name of the author, the e-book and even the links you have inside. Even if you password-protect a PDF file from editing and copying, there are software programs that will automatically remove the password protection, allowing anyone to change the author’s name and other information in your eBook.

Friends – Sometimes it’s just someone sharing your ebooks with friends and family. It’s probably similar to a person renting a DVD from Blockbuster and then letting others make copies. In the end, it reduces profits.


Unlike audio and video CDs, it can protect e-books against 99.9% of theft. Here are some of the security benefits of these top software picks:

1. Ebook Pro – http://ebookpro.24ex.com/

2. Virtual Vault – [http://just-go.to/virtualvault/]

Benefits of eBook Pro

It connects to an online server the first time users register the software and checks to see if that person has purchased your e-book, preventing a customer from sharing the e-book with others.

Deactivate any e-book from within the software. This is good if you offer a money-back guarantee, as it prevents customers from using the ebook after requesting a refund.

You can prevent users from copying and pasting your information

You can disable the print features.

eBook Pro requires Internet Explorer 4.0 (or higher). The cost is $197. After registering 1000 ebooks, you will need to pay $0.10 for each additional registration (this is not a problem if you are selling that many ebooks).

Benefits of the virtual vault

Provides full protection against all kinds of thieves and gift seekers.

You can try it for 30 days for only $2.95

Lock any PDF file, software application. y .exe e-book: Saved as an .exe file

You can prevent users from copying and pasting your information

You can disable the print features.

Virtual Vault charges a monthly access fee of $24.95. What makes this program so attractive is that it also protects PDF files. Most authors prefer this format because it is easy to compile and works for both PC and MAC users.

A common misconception among e-book authors is that if you password-protect a PDF file from changes to the document or printing, it’s safe from changes. Unfortunately, there are many programs that remove these restrictions in seconds. This allows enterprising thieves to repackage your ebook and sell it as their own.

The only way to prevent changes to PDF files is to password protect both the master password and the user password. Therefore, a password is also required to open the document. This automatically blocks PDF password removal tools from removing your settings.

Finally, why go to the trouble of protecting editing features and allowing printing? Can you go to a library and ask a librarian to photocopy an entire book? No, because that would be a violation of copyright. So why would you allow those privileges to someone who downloads your eBook? Yes, many computer users like to print the material because it is easier on the eyes. However, if someone uses “print to file” software, your eBook could be massively downloaded, for free, in a matter of hours or even minutes.

Even if you password protect a PDF or EXE file, it doesn’t prevent people from sharing it with friends or posting it in newsgroups or forums. So if you take pride in your artwork, you need to have a way to protect your investment.

Whichever program you choose, make sure that it is you who benefits from your e-book, not the criminals.

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