Steps to Protect Your eBook Before You Publish

It does not matter if you have been writing eBooks since the early 2000s, or if you have just begun in your venture, there is always going to be the distinct possibility that your hard-written work gets stolen one way or another.

This is in no way unpreventable, but let us give you the necessary insight you need to know to learn how to protect your eBook and make it past the pesky digital thieves that would get in the way of your livelihood.

It is Always A Good Idea to Protect your eBook

One might think that with all the methods of verification and authentication, we might be able to keep our digital assets safe, but the reality is quite different. When it comes to protecting your eBook, it is almost impossible to make it 100% theft proof. No matter what form of digitization your work takes, it is always going to be replicable on some level.

Which is why to protect your eBook, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure that you are the sole authentic owner of the original copy, and the rest—whether they are printed or digital softcopies, are not.

Here, we present to you a few ways—or a dozen—on how you can protect your eBook and prevent online pirates from stealing your intellectual property, especially if you plan to become a content producer full-time.

eBook Theft is a Reality of the E-Publishing Industry

In both maturing and budding industries, there will always be someone who rocks the apple cart the wrong way, leading you to discover that the cart had quite a few bad apples already.

The unfortunate truth is that you cannot 100% protect your digital softcopy if it is stored somewhere online. Even once you have successfully published your book online, there is danger for it to be replicated and sold via resellers.

To protect your eBook, you need to take matters into your own hands, and use these methods to stay ahead of the curve.

#1 Hit ‘em Where it Hurts – Contact the Payment Merchant

This is not one of the pre-emptive steps you can take to protect your eBook, but is instead a retaliatory step. This is most important if you have already seen your book someone in an online store where you are not the seller.

An example of this can be your book popping up on Amazon under another seller name, and what do you know? Amazon is processing payments on that account!

Well, now you really need to get into action, and protect your eBook by contact the payment merchants directly. Once the payment merchant is blocked or shut down, it can be very difficult—or nigh impossible—to restore that account.

Payment merchants, such as PayPal, can be contacted directly. Explain why you are making that dispute, and be sure to not waste any time in doing so.

#2 Protect Your eBook by Using Its Name Against Them

When people steal something, especially digitally, they do not scour through every file and detail. They generally check something, like a name of a document, and download or copy that for themselves.

An effective way to protect your eBook can be to simply give it a name that isn’t normal. Use the same philosophy as passwords. Give it weird symbols. It will appear on the marketplace as the name its supposed to have, but the file itself can be named anything.

#3 Protect Your eBook by Hosting it on a Secure Server

Chances are you have saved your file on a public domain somewhere.

That is a surefire way to get all your efforts into protecting your eBook down the drain.

Make sure your eBook is hosted somewhere safe and secure, or that you use a digital service provider that hosts the file for you.

This is especially useful if you sell your eBook on your own website. Chances are that you aren’t a computer whiz and a masterful writer, so it is best to leave the network security to protect your eBook to someone else.

#4 Update the Download Link at Regular Intervals

If you host your eBook on your own website, or are planning to do it, you should consistently change the download link regularly.

You need to protect your eBook differently from something like a personal account. While your personal account has no monetary value, your eBook is a digital asset with monetary value and potential. Keep it safe.

#5 Protect Your eBook with Privacy Settings (Such as Disabling File Sharing)

This is not a recommended step if you really need your eBook to do well in terms of sales.

This method blocks users from sharing or ‘digitally lending’ files. This can also be called a Digital Rights Management tool, or DRM. A DRM essentially allows digital files to have authentication certificates to prevent users from copying a file and sharing it online, a method otherwise known as internet piracy.

This can be fine for authors or content creators who create many eBooks, as file sharing brings more potential users and organic growth. However, for someone with one or two eBooks at most, you might want to disable file sharing to protect your eBook.

#6 Protect Your eBook via a Password

It sounds simple, and it is, but this step is rarely ever followed.

All you need to do to put a massive boost to your eBook’s digital security is to protect it with a strong password. Not everyone fulfills this simple step. To protect your eBook, put a password on it, and call it a day.

You can also automate passwords to be received to customers on purchase, or try a different method that accomplishes a similar (but not the same) goal.

#7 Use Encryption Software to Protect Your eBook

Encryption essentially makes it so that someone who purchases your eBook gets the decrypted version of it, and someone who has not purchased it cannot access it. The encryption renders the eBook unusable without a decryption key to decipher it—which is an automatic process that is fulfilled when an eBook is purchased.

You can use existing encryption tools to protect your eBook, which is also sometimes called anti-theft encryption software.

#8 Make a Secure PDF Version of Your Word File

Most of us use Microsoft Word for almost all the writing we do, and to sell or publish anything, it is usually in the PDF format.

This is a simple yet effective way to ensure that your eBook is secure. You can even restrict printing, copying, and more. That means text won’t be selectable (so it can’t be copied), and that the text won’t be detectable via a screen reader. This will protect your eBook by making it difficult for pirates to replicate it.

#9 Use a DMCA Takedown Notice – or Prepare for One

A website is easy to shut down, especially if it is not as secure as Amazon, for example, which is an unfortunate reality that even you might have to face sometimes.

A DMCA notice is a way of stopping internet thieves from stealing your content. If someone is committing copyright infringement, they will have their account, purchases, or their website blocked.

Unfortunately, you will also need to ensure you protect your eBook and your website as well, as this goes both ways, and a DMCA notice can take some time for the authorities to investigate and resolve.

#10 Market Your eBook and Yourself

This is one of the best advices you will receive to protect your eBook.

As long as people know you, they will know who to come to if they want your product.

Market your eBook and ensure that viewers have links to where you sell your eBook, so people don’t use search bars and stumble on the wrong product, and instead, interact with you and the link you provided directly. Not only will this protect your eBook, but also serve as valuable marketing, self-promotion, branding, and more.

# Bonus – Copyright Your eBook If You Plan to Sue for Theft

In terms of copyright rules, once your eBook is finished, you essentially own the copyright.

But, how will you prove that you have a copyright?

Well, that is where it gets complicated. It is best to NOT get a copyright for unpublished work, because you can only protect your eBook if it is already an eBook. But if you have published it, make sure to do it through the US Copyright Office with a .gov address in the website.

Once you write it, however, it is yours. Until and unless someone posts your words with your eBook cover and sells it as their own, you might not really have to worry about copyright issues. The reason that getting a copyright is not necessary is that it does not deter online pirates, and you need to either take matters into your own hands, or depend on your seller, such as Amazon, where you will file a complaint against the theft.

Until then, what are you waiting for? Publish your eBook now!

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