If People Are Stealing Your E-Books – Let Them!

Posted In: General Chat 

Greetings one and all, welcome to a long overdue newsletter. I’ve been in the e-Book business for around two years now, I also work for a design company setting up “plug and play” websites for people wishing to sell electronic books. One of the most common questions I am asked is:

“How Do I Stop People Stealing My E-Books”

As a website designer/technician person it is my duty to roll off the usual ways of protecting the download links; password protecting the folder, putting in an index page, turning off the directory view etc. but as a marketer this is the answer I would give:

“Let Them Steal Your E-Books!”

That’s right, you should let them steal your e-books. Why not try and make it easy for them, put all of your e-books in an easy to guess folder like “Downloads” or “EBooks”.

I know this is going against human instinct, nobody likes a thief but in this case you really do need to put your sub-conscious thoughts aside and trust me that it really is in your own benefit to let them steal your e-books, let’s jump onto the thing you are all wondering….WHY!!

The short answer is exposure, increased website traffic, increased opt-ins and increased name recognition.

In every e-book you create you should (in my opinion of course) include back links and plugs to your site, newsletter, downloads, other products or whatever else is relevant to the book. That way every time someone “steals” your book and then decides to pass it onto a few friends you will always get a few that come back to your site and maybe sign up to your newsletter, basically what I am getting at the is “the more exposure you get the better” and if that includes letting people download your e-books without paying then so be it.

I have some new software currently being tested
That will make sure everyone that steals your
e-book or product will HAVE TO sign up to your
Newsletter before they can use it.
More details will be revealed soon.

Obviously you don’t want to turn your book or report into a massive plug-fest, try to find a happy medium between quality content and self-promotion.

Even if you are selling products with resale rights don’t think you can’t use similar techniques, you might not be able to change contents of a book to include links back to your site but there is nothing stopping you adding a “Bonus Items” folder along with the e-book that links back to your site. A popular method is to offer some free e-books or another incentive if they sign up to your newsletter. I have used this method with great success; some of you reading this article probably joined this newsletter through one of my “Bonus Items” folders!

Hopefully you can now see why people “stealing” your e-books might not be such a big problem as you first thought. People are always going to try and get around your download security so you may as well use it to your advantage!

Thanks for reading. As always feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have regarding the article – that’s what the blog is here for!


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10 Responses to “If People Are Stealing Your E-Books – Let Them!”
  1. Thanks for a thought-provoking article. Turning things around may be a good way to see things in a new perspective. Very much appreciated. 🙂

  2. Very insteresting… I will follow your advice 😉

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dan (el_passo) says:

    Thanks guys,
    I’m glad you found it interesting.

  4. Good heavens Dan!

    Who needs to steal ebooks these days when you can get them on Ebay for 1p or 1c or whatever.
    Sometimes you even even get another 50+ bonus ebooks chucked in as well for the same money.
    Some people really will sink to the lowest levels!!!
    Joking apart we all see something on Ebay from time to time that really is cheap. But be careful I bought a 1c item some time ago and thought what a good deal that was. Then I got my English statement and realised they charged £1 for all foreign transactions. Not such a good deal.
    If I did the same thing through my Spanish bank there is virtually no charge.
    Many thanks for the recent package Dan.
    Chris in Spain

  5. Colin says:

    Wow!That was a very enlightening post Dan.Very useful information,most people will guard their ebooks with their life but like you say if you have a few affiliate links and links to your sites in the ebooks ,it will probably pay you to let people steal them!
    Thanks Dan,

  6. Chris says:

    Hi Dan,

    Whilst I agree that the extra (and free) exposure is great, you must alos think like the thief.

    If someone has the balls to go checking for file names, what would they do with the content? If they are OK with stealing it they would probably have no quarms plagarizing it either.


  7. Dan (el_passo) says:

    That’s very true CJ.

    Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to prevent this.

  8. Daryl McCoy says:

    Hi Dan,

    Good article and it makes a good point. Something a lot of people don’t think about when they try to protect their stuff is some search engine spiders ignore the robots.txt file. When this file is ignored, everything that is in the first seven levels may be indexed unless it is password protected.

    I’m willing to be some of the smaller search engines and meta crawlers have many products indexed without the seller being any wiser.


  9. Sally says:

    Hey Dan

    Great post, I agree that sometimes getting your “downloads” stolen can be an advantage.

    I do use this with some of my ebooks.

    What I do find is people trying to guess download names, for this I make sure I have an error page set up so that each time they fail in guessing the file name they see the affiliate offer on the website error page, so I trick the thieves!!!

    Even though they intended to steal a freebie from me they often end up making me more money haha!

    Sally 🙂

  10. Dan (el_passo) says:

    LOL, yes the custom error page trick is a good one as well Sally.

    My El Passo Books error page is stuffed full of ad’s, I should really do the same thing for this blog 😉