May 27, 2024


The Gods Made Home

How to Protect Your E-Books From Piracy

Did you know that approximately 22.5 percent of all book sales are made up of E-books? Those book sales bring in a whopping 8 billion dollars in total sales. That’s a lot of downloads!

If you are a self-publisher who has a lot of E-books out there you may be shocked to find out how much potential income you’re missing out on due to lost book sales and copyright infringement of your work.

Studies show that the average E-book consumer is an honest Abe, with 69 percent having purchased all the books in their collections. As far as the wider book market goes, the statistics are also very positive, with 75 percent of all E-books offered up for sale actually being purchased.

However illegal downloads make up a disturbingly significant portion of the 25 percent of E-books that are not purchased. Estimates are that well over 2 billion dollars in potential book sales revenue will be lost in the current year due to piracy and other forms of content infringement.

A Solution for Piracy Concerns

You work hard and put hundreds of hours into creating thought-provoking, educational and entertaining E-books for your readers, so why should it be that someone else benefits financially from your efforts?

Securing your documents properly means preventing them from falling prey to several types of negative events:

  • Unauthorized distribution
  • Copying
  • Screen grabbing
  • Illegal reprints
  • Using documents beyond authorized access time

When it comes to protecting your car or home, you can have an alarm installed or deadbolt all your doors. But how do you protect your content from being stolen by a freeloader who doesn’t want to pay to read it? Or worse yet, people who would take your content and resell it to others?

While the prospects may seem grim, there is good news.

You don’t have to fall victim to predators who would access or repurpose your works without delivering proper compensation. There are many methods you can use to safeguard your E-books with specific software and even a few useful services.

How Exactly Do You Protect an E-book?

As an E-book author, you likely already know that digital books can be protected from piracy, but if you’ve ever wondered about the process that goes into it, here’s a short overview.

Protecting an E-book means preventing its unauthorized use. This usually means preventing your books from being read by someone other than the person who bought it or who you otherwise gave specific permissions to.

Under normal circumstances you, the author want to make absolutely certain that no one obtains, copies, transforms or transmits your work in any way without expressed permission from you.

That said, there are two main ways to achieve this goal.

  1. Legal Copyright Protection

The first and simplest way to protect your E-books from piracy as a self-published author involves registering your copyright to prove that you are the original creator of the material in question.

Next up is to include a simple legal copyright statement and page in the front of the book.

This page acts as a notice to potential pirates while also making it possible for you to take legal action, if necessary, once your book is published and someone decides to infringe on the information.

To ensure you cover all of your bases it is important to include verbiage in your copyright page that speaks to several legal protections such as:

  • A copyright statement
  • An all rights reserved statement
  • Legal disclaimers

Depending on the nature of your book, you may want to include your contact information on this page as well as your unique ISBN.

It may also be necessary to speak to an attorney to be clear on the wording of the copyright statement you include in your book as well as the level of legal protection the specific statement affords you if you end up having to enforce it.

If for some reason you do find yourself dealing with a clear case of content infringement, having the legalities in place makes it much easier for you to stop the offender and/or seek compensation if necessary.

  1. E-book Encryption

The second and more technical method of protecting an E-book involves utilizing Digital Rights Management (DRM) or data encryption to create a “lock” that prevents anyone without the proper “key” from gaining access to the contents within the book.

If you use E-book distribution platforms like Amazon’s Kindle or FairPlay by Apple, your E-books are automatically encrypted with each sale. However, if you plan on selling your E-books independently, there are several options available for E-book encryption.

Adobe Digital Editions Protection Technology

Adobe’s ADEPT Digital Rights Management system is the one most commonly used by independent book sellers.

It allows you to create your E-book in PDF and XHTML formats, then encrypt it so that you can manage who is able to receive and read your document.

Another great benefit of using ADEPT to protect your E-books is that it makes them readily available for download and use on major word processing platforms like Windows and Mac systems as well as on e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle.

Aside from protecting your books directly with Adobe software, there are other options for E-book encryption software and services that you can explore to see which one is best for your particular book protection needs.

Lock Lizard – Offers a DRM Software that protects your intellectual property against theft and being willfully compromised. The software even comes with a free demo option.

Edition Guard – If you don’t want to do your E-book encryption yourself, Edition Guard is a service that uses either Adobe DRM or Social DRM to protect your books for you.

This service has several features that make it an awesome choice. One standout is that unlike Amazon and Apple based E-book services, you never have to pay this provider a portion of your book sale proceeds. All you pay for is the service and you get to enjoy all of your sales income and profits.

Another plus is that you are able to provide potential readers with secure access to your books on over 150 different types of devices and mobile apps.

More Ways to Reduce E-book Piracy

While stopping piracy in its tracks completely is next to impossible, there is still a lot you can do to slow down the possibility of infringement dramatically:

  1. Improve Accessibility

While some digital pirates get a kick out of stealing content, in many cases potential readers end up looking for freebie copies of books because they aren’t available in a readily accessible format. This is a simple solution that is often overlooked.

  1. Set Up Google Alerts

A neat trick that every writer can use to find out if their work is being accessed or used without permission is to set up Google Alerts. Simply take a very unique sentence or paragraph from your book and set up an alert for Google to notify you if and when that sentence or paragraph is posted online.

  1. Use DMCA Takedown Notices

Once you track down piracy instances with Google alerts, the next step is to issue the offender with a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice, which instructs a search engine or web hosting company to permanently remove pages that contain your copyrighted content from the internet.

Use these tried and true anti-piracy solutions to help avoid the issue of lost income and to reduce potential competition from those who intent to steal and rehash your information.