Digital eBook Freedom, The Pitfalls of Copy Protection

Whether you are selling or buying eBooks there is one topic that will be on your mind.

Copy Protection.

Authors want to protect their eBooks from theft and file sharing, usually by locking the file to a certain computer as well as a host of other “control” features. Anyone that has ever written or created anything wants to protect the creation from theft. It’s only natural to want to protect current and future earnings.

Buyers want the freedom to read their eBooks on multiple devices and not have to hassle with multiple readers that may or may not be compatible with the desired viewing device.

Pitfalls of copy protection for sellers

The cost of intense copy protection can be rather expensive especially when using a service or dedicated product such as a reader. Expense is not only measured in the cost to secure the eBook but also to provide support to buyers that are having issues.

Creation and management of multiple version of an eBook can be a huge issue. If you are using multiple services or software to protect your eBook, management of a single resource is always easier than managing multiples, especially the time and technical factor.

Decreased sales can be a big factor when considering copy protection. The loss of sales due to file sharing or theft can be offset by the additional sales from using a more flexible format.

Pitfalls of copy protection for buyers

Being tied to a single device is frustrating and turns off potential buyers because not everyone uses one computer (or device). There is nothing worse than buying something and being told how it can be used.

Most eBooks that are copy protected use an eBook Reader (additional software that is needed to read the eBook). This additional software places technical barriers to reading the eBook including compatibility issues with the device the reader is being installed on, as well as having to manage multiple readers on multiple devices.

Interactivity with a copy protected book is non-existent. The ability to annotate, increase/decrease font size, zoom in/out on images is just not available on most of the readers that are being used. Also as time progresses, the integration of video will represent a huge challenge for any reader, or dedicated device.

Summing it up

Copy protection is a great idea for the seller, but for the buyer it makes the experience less flexible and more cumbersome, which can be a real turn-off. And remember if it is a turn-off for one person, it usually is a turn-off for others, thus decreasing your sales.

We advise any new author to think before you jump into a publishing solution, including ours. If you want your eBook to be successful you have to have the right mix of copy protection and user flexibility.

We suggest using the PDF format with our PDF Protection Suite. It has the best of both worlds. It offers great copy protection and a fantastic usability for the buyer.