Question from Ben from Texas: What is Digital Rights Management and how does it work for eBooks? I am going to publish an E-Book next month and its going to be a pdf file, and I don’t know whether anything can be done to prevent unauthorized distribution of pdf files on the Internet. Please let me know your suggestions. Thanks.
Answer: Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a technology used to place limitations like, access to or copying of, onto digital content (eBooks, music, etc.). You as the publisher or author of the ebook can determines the level of restrictions applied to an eBook. This includes how many times an eBook can be downloaded for a single purchase, and the number of devices (computers, eBook readers, etc.) to which the eBook can be transferred.
Encrypted or copy-protected eBooks can only be read on authorized computers or hand-held devices a limited number of times. An unencrypted or not copy-protected eBook can be transferred to personal computers or reading devices an unlimited number of times.
Lulu.com offers Digital Rights Management for eBook publishing, however you have to agree to their revenue sharing scheme. And e-junkie.com offers an easier but less stronger solution where you can limit the number of downloads of the ebook.
If your ebook is high value, then you can even send it to the buyer by email attachment after purchase. You can set the expecation on the order/payment page that its not an instant download but it will come by email within 12 hours. You must give your phone number in such cases to give confidence/credibility to your message.