My eBooks Suck…

OK, yeah, yeah,  I heard you…

Courtesy of www.wikicommons.org (CCL)

Everybody hates the anti-theft software and wants me  to go back to (unsecured) Adobe .pdf’s. Or, as one eloquent writer told me recently…

“Your digital book sucks! 1 year ago I got one from you and frozen the program every 15 20 pages I can’t close the window I have to restart my computer. For this kind of money I shouldn’t have this aggravation. I hate the whole java program too. And I am not the only one with this problems trust me. And now I got it from you again and it does the same damn thing again And its not my computer its your program!”

(By the way, it’s ALMOST ALWAYS (99% of the time) a setting on your computer or anti-virus software, as it turned out in the case above. (Of course, it would also help if they read the order page BEFORE buying, or the download page, or the auto email sent  AFTER buying where typical solutions are explained.)

Everyone wants unsecured .pdf’s.  That isn’t realistic in today’s digital world. If you have a product that sells for $5.99, that might be an option, as long as  you don’t care that it gets passed around like popcorn, and people are more interested in stealing it than paying for it.

If you have a valuable, one of a kind product, (and I do) it isn’t.

I don’t understand the venom and hostility towards something they encounter everyday, in every store they go into, in the offline world of their lives. From Wal-Mart to Barnes and Noble, From the Dollar-Tree store to Nordstroms. Do they go up to the security personnel in those stores and scream at them for the inconvenience?

How about software? When was the last time ANYONE bought software that didn’t have more intrusive anti-theft devices built in? If I install Microsoft Office on more than 2 computers I have to call them and explain why. Not to mention type in a 25 digit number to get it back. Same with Adobe, Corel, and many others.

Can you think of any offline bookstore that doesn’t safeguard their property? Can you think of ANY business online or offline, that allows rampant theft to go unchecked, period?

How about your personal property? Do you leave your car unlocked and the keys in the ignition? When you go to work, or on vacation, I bet you leave the front doors to your house wide open and unlocked, right?

If you don’t, why should I? My copyright IS my personal property.

What most aren’t getting is digital theft is just too rampant. It’s not a myth or an illusion. One day a few years ago, I had over 5000 hacks and downloads IN ONE DAY. No joke. Do the math. If you have a good product, people want to rip it off. That’s the way the digital world is.

digital theft

Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I know you guys think I’m just raking the money in hand over fist.

The truth is a lot different.

The truth is the website break even most years. I say most, because it lost money last year. My consulting work supports this website…not the other way around. Only one year did it actually make a “profit.” At least by the IRS sense of the word. (I have profited by meeting a lot of cool people, though)

I’ve never been compensated for the 1000’s of hours of research and writing that went into these books. This is a labor of love…not profit. If it was all about profit, I would’ve quit years ago. You may think they’re overpriced, but my competitors are selling them for much more. Up to 10-20 times more in some cases. NO ONE ELSE sells this level of quality at my price. No one. Nor have I raised prices in 5 years.

Oh wait…I can hear the comment now….”but eBooks don’t COST you anything.”

They don’t cost anything if you can find graphic designers, web designers, web hosting, book formatters, editors, proof-readers, internet researchers, affiliates, (50% off the top to those guys) publishers, printers, marketers, payment processors, third-party download services, search engine optimization specialists, PPC ad specialists, professional software programmers, internet lawyers, who all work for charity and give away their valuable time and services. And of course, you pay yourself nothing as well. Then you’re right, it doesn’t cost anything. It’s been my experience not too many people offer professional services for free.

But to all the people who think eBooks don’t cost anything to produce, why don’t you A.) give it whirl and I’ll sit at your knee and take notes, or B.) offer ME your services for free in exchange? How long would you be willing to work for free? You know, just because you’re a nice guy and all.

So here’s the deal. I can…

  1. Keep the anti-theft software in place, and try to keep the prices the same. ( I’ll ignore the whining and complaining)
  2. I can get rid of the eBooks altogether and just sell paperbacks. (and no supporting bonus material…your loss because they’re needed and necessary.)
  3. I can add the bonus material as separate paperbacks, but just sell paperbacks…no eBooks. (and the price of the books will have to go up, paperback price will probably double to get the same amount of material.) I can’t find a publisher who will print books of this size and content without adding separate volumes.
  4. I guess another option is, the minute I get a anti-theft software complaint, I refund them, disable their Ebooks and tell them to move along.

Anyhoo…I’d like to know what you think. This is your chance to weigh in and make a difference. If I don’t get any replies, or enough of them, I’ll simply make the decision without your input. Probably I ‘ll just discontinue the eBooks and go to paperbacks only.

So take a vote below by adding a comment. Choose door number one, two, three, or four.

Share the knowledge!
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 13 comments
admin

test

Reply
J.P.

Thanks for explaining what’s entailed in owning and running a website and the reason for using anti-theft software. People need to read instructions on how to download software, etc. – it’s only as good as the user. I vote to keep the anti-theft software in place so it can be purchased as an eBook and the price down.

Reply
Dirk

I am sorry te hear of all the crap thrown at you from rude and disgruntled ebook readers.

I do not have space for paper books and prefer the ebooks, with security features and all.

Why not publish it for the specialised ebook reader tablets only,  to keep you from hassles?

Regards.

 

Reply
Daniel Kainer

David,

I have purchased all of your books and I completely agree that they are absolutely top notch!  It is obvious how much work went into them and to have people demanding that you simply remove any protection shows that they don't know the first thing about the amount of time and effort is required to write something original!  My feeling is that the complainers are just the squeaky wheel and, while it is true that they tend to get the grease, I don't believe that they represent the majority of your customers.

My vote is to keep the protection and keep the system as it is.  Your work is valuable and has the potential to change the world.  Don't let small-minded people who don't share your vision deter you from your important work because of such a trivial thing.

Thanks for everything you do!

Daniel Kainer

Reply
Brad Patrick

I can sympathise with both sides here, but the fact of life is that customers expect eBooks to be (almost) as easy to use as paperbacks. This means unrestricted use on any computer or capable device and full printing ability. Maybe a minor solution would be to embed the customer's name into the pdf along with a strongly worded copywright notice. This would at least deter some people from sharing their eBook with others.

Reply
Mark

Don't have any thoughts as to what you should do.  But, if you do decide to shut it all down will I still have access to the books? I have all of them.

Reply
    admin

    A little clarification here. I’m not shutting down the website. I’m not quitting writing books. I’m just doing away with the digital editions. As far the any past customers go, of course you’ll still have access to the books. I won’t leave anyone high and dry. I don’t operate like that.

    I may have found a solution that might be acceptable to everyone, or at the very least a compromise. Talking to my publisher today, they told me with my volume of sales (in paperbacks) he would reduce the unit price if I went to stright to paperbacks. (Good news for you) it still doesn’t solve the bonus issue though. What I could do is sell the main books in paperbacks, and make the bonuses available immediately by .pdf. You’d still have to pay, and wait  for a paperback, but the bonuses could be downloaded immediately. No anti-theft. Straight pdf’s.

    Any one have any thoughts on this?

    Reply
admin

test

Reply
Julian Proszenyak

Hi, sorrry to hear about your problem. I am an aussie and work at sea but my wife is indonesion. Some of her relatives live by the sea next to disused prawn ponds, and I've been wondering if it were possible to do something there, but at the moment I have no time. Paper books would be inconvenient(with no fixed postion in the world),but I have more than enough to go on  with your previous books until such time as I start to do something. Then it wouldn't matter what form they were in.Paper books with PDF bonus's would be fine.

                                                                   Regards Julian

Reply
Nick Pucea

G'Day David,

Sorry to read about your troubles with your ebooks and the internet mob. I have a frase of my own: "once you build a pond, loads of frogs will jump in and start singing". All visionaries were, are, and will be plagued by mediocrity. Hang in there buddy you are doing good work. Your knowledge, your memories, and your deeds, are yours alone. They become part of your soul and no one can steal that. Pesonally I thank you for your work, I bought two paperbacks from you because I'm old fashion and I like to read when I'm not pluged in to a powerpoint. One day I will have my own biorefinery, and I like you to know that you and your knowledge are part of it. Thank You !

Best wishes,

Nick Pucea

 

Reply
Trent Havard

David,

I have been following your articles for at least a year and a half. I have also downloaded several sample chapters out of your books. I started researching algae biofuels in September 2007. I even went as far as creating a corporation and had a business partner. We went for a funding opportunity and we both thought that we were going to get it, but at the last moment the other company backed out. My business partner left and got a job and I had to look for employment as well. Currently I drive a tow truck at night. I would have loved to have gotten a digital copy of all your books but I simply cannot afford it since I am barely making ends meet now. I am truly sorry that so many people have been so negative about your ebooks. You are right they have to deal with anti-priracy in all other areas of their offline lives. I wish there was a way that I could get a digital copy of your entire library…as a former IT professional I know what you mean when you have a good product and you want to protect yourself. Again I am sorry that so many have made it a stressful time in your life. I believe the future is still in algae and I am still researching algae when I can. I am sure that the information in your books would be a great addition to what I have already learned.

Reply
admin

test2

Reply
admin

test3

Reply

Leave a Reply: