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Archived Message:

New Security Feature Suggesiton

KewlKat007 The Activ E-book compiler is a great program with great security features.  There is one feature, though, that I feel would be a great addition.

As you know, there are people out there who buy an e-book, get the registration code, then request a refund.  In essence, getting the e-book for free.

I have noticed another e-book compiler which has a feature to disable a registration key once the buyer reqeusts and is given a refund.

I do know that there is a link on the ebookcompiler website to a third-party service.  Unfortunately since I am on a tight budget and am just starting out writing ebooks, $30.00/month for that service is a bit steep.

Posted on: 5:35 pm on November 20, 2004
Storyman KewlKat007,

Before buying Active e-Book the feature was a major concern to me, but after some reflection I don't think that it's worth it. The main reason is that in order for the ebook to disable itself it needs to access the internet to verify that the user has a valid ebook.

Since Activ e-Book allows you to provide unlocked chapters so the user can preview the ebook before purchase it is not unreasonable to state that there are no refunds.

With that said there is no reason that Sunil cannot provide some scripting that will allow the ebook provider to create a database on their own Web site that accomplish the same thing as the $30 monthly service does. In fact I'd imagine a little javascript program could very well accomplish the same thing.

Has anyone used javascript to access a MySQL database to verify the user?

Posted on: 4:49 am on November 21, 2004
Alaska KewlKat007, Storyman -

 Here's one JavaScript kluge: add your cancelled purchasers in a set of JavaScipt arrays that you maintain yourself; it's not a true database in the strict sense, but would be effectively the same thing.  You'd upload an edited .js file every time you had a cancellation.

 Unfortunately, JavaScript doesn't have the server-side functionality needed to access a real database; you'll need some server-based program to do this, and pass the data to your ebook.

This means using .asp, .php, ColdFusion, Perl or JSP...

 No matter what language and set of tools you use, the script within the ebook itself wouldn't be but a few lines; sending the user ID, and receiving the confirmation value.  The real effort and time would be in building the database and queries on the server.

 So, if $30 is too much to pay for that service, learn ColdFusion, lease some CF-ready server space, and roll your own database.

 You can use CF for free for a month (extended to two, if needed) but it gets a little more expensive after that, what with the software and the server components.  Then, there's server space expenses....

 best -

 roger n

(Edited by Alaska at 2:22 pm on Nov. 21, 2004)

Posted on: 11:11 pm on November 21, 2004
Storyman Roger,

Do you have any idea on the $30 site functions.

From what I've read it appears that every time the e-book is opened it needs to access an online database that looks at the user and then gives it a go or no go to continue opening the program.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but javascript or java could be used in the e-book that then connects to a PHP db for verification.

Personally, I think it is too much of a hassle for dialup users and will discourage them from purchasing the e-book.  There are those cheats out there, but I don't feel that there are enough of them to inconvenience the honest user with user verification systems.

So far I haven't seen the figures to impress me that it is worth spending $360 a year on a verification system and spending a whole lot more than that for aggrevation to the end user.  In other words there is no emperical data to support the idea that a verification system does more than punish your customer.

I'm not set against the online verification system. I'd appreciate hearing another point of view.

Posted on: 12:30 am on November 22, 2004
KewlKat007 I have looked over the matter and thought about it.  As I mentioned in my post, there is an e-book compiler which has a similar feature built in.  Unfortunately the program is $97.00.  As for the third-party service, I agree with Storyman in regards to the cost and the inconvience for the customers.

I have decided to have a "No Refund" policy.  To be fair, the e-book will be a free trial which they will have a week to read the e-book.  That way they will know what they are buying.  In the trial version, customers will not be able to print out pages nor copy information.

If they like the e-book, there will be a link where they can purchase the unrestricted version.  

Posted on: 1:49 am on November 22, 2004
Storyman KewlKat007,

We probably looked at the same $97 program.  A major reason I didn't purchase the 'other' program was that if you read between the lines that program performs much the same as the $30 site--except it is using your web site's database to verify.

One thing you might like to look into is Microcreations add-on program. Their program provides the key immediately after purchase rather than you emailing it to them.  One thing to be aware of is that the entire list of keycodes for your program are contained within the ebook. The program introduces one more door for the hackers, but if they really want to hack they will work at it until they find a way.  Fortunately, most users are not aware of the hacker sites nor would they likely use it even if they did--IMHO.

Posted on: 2:02 am on November 22, 2004
Storyman KewlKat007,

I like your sales sample of allowing them a couple of weeks to use the book without printing or copying. Hope you will let us know the results.

Posted on: 2:12 am on November 22, 2004
KewlKat007 For the matter of issuing a key, I have thought about it.  I have heard many mention "ClickBank".  My major downfall is their $49.95 setup fee.

I have found that the most cost-effective method is to use regsoft.  Regsoft allows you to send them keys.  You could include a link in the e-book to the full version /full version key they could download either from regsoft.com as soon as their payment is verified.

The only startup cost for regsoft is $9.95.  There is a charge of $3.00/transaction. or 8.9%/transaction for transactions over $30.00.  I find that they have a large number of features for the customer as well as the vendor.

Posted on: 3:20 am on November 22, 2004
Alaska StoryMan -

 Not sure if we're talking about the same system, but the one I tested allowed the book to open for x number of times before it HAD to have confirmation from the server.  This allowed for those with only occasional access, but it doesn't really cover everyone, does it?

 One solution; if the user wants their money back, they need to apply from within the ebook form itself.  This process will submit the user and all the appropriate ID info, and just turn off the ebook again with {iscorrectpassword}.

 You can't take the password back, but you can have it check in to be sure the owner's userID isn't on the cancelled list.

 I suppose you could still use only JavaScript to read that array.

 Using a .js file like this wouldn't normally be a good idea on a web page, because the whole world could see it.  But, this is an ebook, and if you never called it from a real web page, then it would probably be safe.

 It's still a kluge, though.  A 'server-side solution' would be better.

 best –

Posted on: 3:50 am on November 22, 2004
Storyman Roger,

I agree SSI is the best way to go. The reason for mentioning javascript is that SSI will not initiate the call to the server.

It would be great if Sunil included some scripting in the next version of Activ e-book so as to allow us to use methods as you have outlined them. I suspect a lot of us would prefer this inclusion more than any other feature. What do you think?

Posted on: 4:11 am on November 22, 2004
Alaska  Not sure what Server Side Includes references, but they do exist on and are called from the server.  That isn't really used in this case.

 The main point is that you need an application on the server, that delivers a yes or no, or some value, to be used in the ebook.

 And the script in the ebook could be written yourself in a few lines.  The real task is in your building the database and application and installing it successfully on your hosting server...

Posted on: 4:36 am on November 22, 2004
Storyman Roger,

I don't think we are in sync on this. Server-Side scripting (sorry for referencing SSI) and db is clearly the only way to go. However, you still need to use js or java to initiate the call to SS/db.

What I'm suggesting is that it would be better for Sunil to create coding to initiate the call for verification instead of using js (mainly for the reasons you've mentioned about security).

Posted on: 5:17 am on November 22, 2004
KewlKat007 To make this as secure as possible, I would imagine you would have to set it to where if the exe could not communicate with the Internet, then it would not open.  After all, if you have a firewall, you could bypass that security measure by simply denying that exe access to the Internet.

This would be bad for users whom still have dial-up accounts.  They would have to connect to the Internet every time they would want to read the e-book.

Personally, I find this too complex of a solution for the problem we are trying to solve.  That is why I will simply give people the opportunity to read the e-book in full for a set period of time (with limitations such as not being able to copy or print).  If they like the book and want to continue reading or keep it for referance, then they can purchase it through my regsoft.com account.

This way you won't have to worry about giving refunds and dealing with as many chargebacks.  You will have already given them their "trial period" to review the e-book.  Whereas the other way, they would  have paid you money for the e-book, then decided they didn't like it.  So now you would have to give them a refund (unless you specify no refunds, which would turn off people because they wouldn't know what they were getting BEFORE they give you their money).

Posted on: 5:56 pm on November 22, 2004
Storyman KewlKat007,

I'm interested in using your approach and was wondering what type of book you have that a user will want to pay for copying and printing. Maybe I'm being too cautious, but up to this point my thinking has been to provide a couple of free chapters along with a table of content.

It would seem that once the user has full access to the book (sans copying and printing) that they would have to have a burning need to copy and print in order to motivate them to buy.

I have know one fella who put 90% of his book online as a pdf file, then sold bound copies with two bonus chapters that were not online. Are you using POD to supplement your sales?

(Edited by Storyman at 10:23 am on Nov. 22, 2004)

Posted on: 6:22 pm on November 22, 2004
KewlKat007 Storyman,

The copying and printing is simply a security measure to prevent the continual viewing of the e-book once it has been downloaded.  Remember, after the user initially opens the e-book, they will only have a set number of days to read the book.  After that, the book expires and can no longer be read.  If you don't disable the copy/print feature, then a person can print out the e-book or copy/paste the e-book elsewhere.  Then, they would not have to worry about an expiration on the e-book itself.

To answer your questions in regards to the type of books I will be selling: I am writing books about subjects that I have investigated.  In particular, information about how to write e-books (from my experience) as well as an e-book on things people should know before investing in one of those "e-book rebranding" programs.

For the passed few years a large hobby of mine has been investigating companies and such.  I consider myself a consumer advocate.  I have literally read hundreds of TOS/AUP agreements, contracts, programs, etc which deal with "e-book regrinding" and related topics.  There's much that the "seller" does not tell the person.

I understand that people can get a refund, but most I have noticed do not bother with the refund of "$29.95" and just cancel the program or whatnot.  One of the books I am writing deals with topics people can learn about beforehand so they can know what to look out for.

As for the e-book on creating an e-book, the meat of the book comes from my experience in website design and searching literally hundreds of resources for designers, researchers, etc.  I do not say the word "hundreds" lightly to try to hype my future book.  I say this because as mentioned before, I have a hobby of researching.  I have literally sat down and read hundreds of technicalities of various resources and came to my own conclusion of how to do things a certain way and at a minimal financial investment.

Please do not confuse me stating that things can be done with minimal financial investments with authors that promise the world with a couple bucks.  I simply have taken an economic out of the box view at how people spend/waste their money.

To answer one question you might be thinking.  No, I don't have much of a life outside of my regular job and researching.  Hence where all this time comes in.

Finally, to answer your question on POD, I do plan to offer that feature very soon.  Since I am writing the books myself, I have no problems with self-publishing the books in print (as opposed to simply purchasing a "rebranding" license of an e-book someone else wrote).  I have found cafepress.com to be quite economic.  There are no setup fees.  You only pay a per page fee and a flat fee of the type of binding (wire-o, saddle stitch, perfect bound/paperback books).  Cafepress.com handles all the credit card transactions, etc.

I use regsoft.com for intangible products and cafepress.com for tangible/promotion items.

Posted on: 7:00 pm on November 22, 2004

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