How do I sell access to view ebooks online to Smart Phone, Ipad, & Kindle users?

13 replies
Salute Warriors!

I hope all is well with everyone.

I’ve recently completed an ebook that I will sell as a download. The ebook will be protected by file-locking security (probably through a service called Virtual Vault). This service, and all other file locking services I’ve researched only work on PCs, or with some Macs that can run windows. This leaves A LOT of potential money on the table.

There are a lot of people these days who’d rather read ebooks via other devices like their I-Phones, Androids, I-Pads, or Kindles instead of just on their PCs. I would really like to have something to offer these customers as well.

So my plan is to sell the downloadable ebook, then as an upsell item--------sell access to view the document online through a membership site set up. I would like for them to be able to view this document but block everyone from copying, downloading, or printing from this web page.

Here are the ideas I’ve come up with so far:

1. Make the web-page password protected through a program like Wishlist Member.

2.Maybe make the book viewable through a PDF-type viewer that allows them to search or scroll for their convenience (this would be a cool option to have, if I could still somehow protect the document from being copied and pasted via Internet Explorer’s “select all” feature).

3.Find a way to only allow access to the page through certain “registered” devices (Do I-Phones, Androids, Kindles, or I-pads have “IP addresses” that could be captured to somehow deny or allow access to my web-page? I have no idea.).

4.Lastly, if I do find a way to do this, what would be the most affordable way to manage bandwidth in order to ensure that my web-page traffic doesn’t crash my site? Bear in mind that they won’t be doing any downloading, just viewing, searching, and scrolling.

Of course, I know that there’s no way to ever completely protect a file from being copied in some way and given way for free eventually-------but I’m trying to maximize the scarcity of this product as much as I can initially. And I also want to make things convenient for potential customers who prefer reading ebooks using smartphones and other devices.

Has anybody here done this, or do you have any suggestions on how I might accomplish this?

I’d appreciate any input anyone may have on this subject.


Biz Man
#access #ebooks #ipad #kindle #online #phone #sell #smart #users #view
  • Profile picture of the author Biz Man

    Can anybody give input on this topic?


    Biz Man
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  • Profile picture of the author Hoopatang
    It's good that you're thinking about this, but the more difficult you make it to read the book, the less likely people are to buy it. Instead of worrying about theft, make sure the book points back to your site and your sales funnel. That way if it does get traded, you might end up making a sale off of it anyway.

    Also, your idea of selling the 2nd book (I *think* you mean 2nd book, surely you don't mean to upsell the same book but just the ability to view it online?) as a "view only on my site" kind of thing... ehhh. If a customer paid for it, they are going to want to download it. It's a sense of ownership. Instead of "selling" the 2nd book itself, sell *access to* the membership area. Play up the membership area idea of it, and you get access to the book as part of the membership. That way they don't feel like they paid for a book they can't "own" (download).

    Make sense?
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  • Profile picture of the author Les Tatum
    Hey Biz Man,

    I think maybe you are over thinking this, or maybe I don't know the whole story. I would just make the ebook a .pdf file and sell it that way. pdf files can be read on smartphones with a pdf viewer app. Pdf files are pretty much uneditable. Someone could still copy and paste the info and give it away that way or pass the pdf file around, but that's probably gonna happen anyway to a small degree. If you want to fix that just put a few of your site links or your affiliate links in the ebook, then if someone gives it away at least you are getting some promotion out of it.

    I would recommend using Wishlist Member to secure the download page so people aren't just passing around your download page link.
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  • Profile picture of the author Biz Man
    Thanks for your input Hoopatang. I appreciate it.

    Yes, I understand your points. The aspect to the book that I'm playing up is that it'll be a rare, "top secret", classified document FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.

    I realize I'm walking a fine line here. On the one hand, I want to maximize the profits BEFORE it gets passed around all over the net (hence the file-locking security). But on the other hand, I know that the more accessible that I make it to various mobile device users, the more people I can market it to.

    I know that many writers/artist, etc. who have spent years of their life creating something that they valule feel this way. The idea of just putting my work out there with no safeguards whatsover fills me with dread. I know my "fear" is not irrational because I've seen how readily availabe ebooks are all over the internet-----illegally, that is.

    Also, I must admit it's kind of hard to ignore the harsh reality of how much content is stolen these days. But as I move forward, I'm gonna try to shake at least "some" of the nightmares of what free downloading has done to the once burgeoning music industry these days.

    Having said all that, though I remain reluctant to put it out totally unprotected, I'm still very open to the idea of compromising somewhat in order to reach more customers--------which is why I'm considering the membership site option for secure viewing.

    You bring up a good point about readers needing to feel a sense of ownership about something that they've paid for, so I'll be continuing to explore options that will accomodate this reasonaable consumer desire.

    Thanks again for your input. It looks like I have much to consider.

    If I choose the membership site model, do you, or anyone else happen to know of a service or software package that protects documents online from being copied?
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  • Profile picture of the author Biz Man
    Thanks Les.

    Yes, I agree with you. So far Wishlist Member is my top choice for implementing the Membership site aspect of what I'm trying to do.

    I heard the owner (Stu) during an interview stating that Wishlist Member has a way of limiting the amount of unique IP addresses from accessing a page using the same password. So that's a bit of info that sounds promising.

    What's in question is how this effects smartphones, Kindles, I-pads, etc. I think I remember reading somewhere awhile ago that said that cell phones DO NOT have a unique IP address, but I'm not sure that that's a definitive statement or not though.

    Anybody know where I can find out that kind of info?
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Yes, you are very much over-thinking it. Nothing will stop the malicious hackers and notorious thieves from stealing it. Get over it.

    I don't know whether you own a smart phone or not... but if I buy something to read on my iPhone, then I want it available on my iPhone even on a plane when I must switch to airplane mode (i.e. not emitting radio waves and not being connected to any network). While the "phone" acts only as an ipod or mp3 player or a small device to read pdf files... I still can enjoy audio books, pdf documents, music etc.

    Now if your "genial" plan is to let me read your stuff only when connected to your site - FORGET IT! Nobody will buy it. Period.

    Channel your creative energy into making it available in different formats for different devices - and you will be praised. Channel your energy into making it difficult for your customers... they will hate you and you will lose.

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  • Profile picture of the author drmani
    Originally Posted by Biz Man View Post

    There are a lot of people these days who'd rather read ebooks via other devices like their I-Phones, Androids, I-Pads, or Kindles instead of just on their PCs. I would really like to have something to offer these customers as well.

    So my plan is to sell the downloadable ebook,

    Biz Man
    Look at SmashWords - Smashwords - Ebooks from independent authors and publishers

    It lets you publish in .epub, .mobi (as well as other) formats - automatically.

    All success
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  • Profile picture of the author smallbusinessguy
    One thing I can definitely tell is that your ebook will get copied if it's too good. I see lot of WSO's being posted for free at blackhatworld. If windows can be pirated so much, what makes you think that a simple protection for your pdf file would be ll that is needed to prevent it from being copied.

    You are going to find it tougher when people ask for a refund because they cant simply read the book the way they want it. Unless your target audience is highly technical, chances are that they would find it hard to use the copy.

    Looking to build stunning, functional landing pages that convert like crazy? Check out Optimizepress.

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  • Profile picture of the author Les Tatum
    Hey Biz Man,

    Yes Wishlist can limit IPs. You can choose how many unique IP addresses each member can login with per day so it can help reduce theft, but the fact is that overall it is not too big a deal really for most of us. You will have people stealing your stuff at some point but the truth is that those people will never have given you any of their money anyway and your loyal subscribers that love what you do will want to pay for it! I don't know much about IPs on phones so I can't say much about that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Biz Man
    Good point Istvan.

    I hear you loud and clear. Though there is much to be said for "security" I realize there is MORE to be said for creating enough of a human connection with my prospective customers through producing something that the majority of honest ones will WANT to buy.

    Though I don't have an Iphone, I did just by an Android a few days ago, and I see that there are applications that allow for ebook reading. In regards to the Kindle and the Ipad, can these devices read "standard ebooks", or must they be especially formated for each device.

    The reason I ask is because I remember having a conversation with a woman earlier this year about another ebook that I'd put out and she asked me "Is it available for the Kindle?"

    When I told her that I knew it was available in standard PDF ebook format, she seemed disappointed as if she were unable to view it for some reason.

    Now, whether she had some kind of older version of the Kindle or maybe she just wasn't really interested in that particular book, I'll never know. lol

    Regardless, from the responses that everyone has been kind enough to offer me, it looks like my biggest decision is going to be: Will I let the choice of how I distribute my book be "fear-based" or "faith-based."

    But I do realize that I have to make a decision soon, because I know full well that I'll reap NO PROFITs from paralysis of analysis.
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  • Profile picture of the author Biz Man
    Thanks Drmani.

    I'll look into that website. I recently was on and I noticed some of the file formats that you mentioned listed for various ebooks. This speaks to Istvan's suggestion to make it available in as many formats as possible.


    Yes, I must admit that the last thing I want is for somebody to be pissed off that they can't open a book they've bought from me. Though most file-locking services assure me that refunding items will not be a problem-----I really see no value in being known as the guy who "always gives you your refund promptly".

    And Les:

    Thanks for confirming the info about some of Wishlist's IP monitoring capabilities.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    PDF is not that universal... It is (as its name says) a portable document format for computers.

    A lot of book readers, like Kindle, require special formatting and saving in that format.
    This might help (to understand the woman's disappointment, LOL)
    Comparison of e-book formats - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    • Profile picture of the author Peeps66
      Istvan is right. There needs to be special tagging added to pdfs on for example mobiles and smartphones. This information is used by to software to display the pdf correctly. Without it some smartphones etc will not work without while some will reflow the pages incorrectly.

      The tagging gives information to the software to
      • show the information in the right order
      • format different levels of headings
      • Format bullets etc
      • show pictures
      as well as for many other reasons.

      An added bonus for this is that people using screen readers etc can read the pdfs properly as well.

      The Adobe page where you download the acrobat reader for mobiles even states that tagging should be done.

      Adobe Reader - Mobile Devices

      For a while now I've been experimenting tagging pdfs mainly in the accessibility field as that is what I concentrate.

      If you like I could tag your ebook. One thing I would be interested in would be to see how well this tagging works on the different kinds of devices as I don't have the devices to check them out. Feedback from people would be great.

      Any suggestions on the commercial viability of this from anyone would be greatly appreciated

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