I have written a short guidebook that I have been selling hardcopy. There is now interest in a digital version. How do I protect this guidebook so only the people who purchase it have access to it? I don't want them to be able to forward it to someone or load onto more than one computer?

  • 5
    I would just use a digitial publishing platform (iBook, Amazon Kindle, etc) and let them handle that for you. They all support some form of DRM or another.
    – vcsjones
    Oct 24, 2014 at 15:06
  • 1
    In your case, I would recommend self-publishing an Ebook using a third party like Amazon as this seems like the best solution in your situation. However, to answer your question -or rather to prompt others to in depth, the concept of DRM is what you are looking for. It seems you want to know how to potentially roll out your own DRM (perhaps so you can keep 100% of sales). I would hope that someone could explain a good way for you to rollout your own DRM. Oct 24, 2014 at 18:58
  • Without this turning into an anti-DRM argument, the only real way of preventing piracy is to make buying the document or book more appealing than pirating it in my opinion. If you do decide to go with rolling your own DRM, keep in mind that you're probably going to end up doing 80% of the work preventing 20% of your readers from pirating.
    – tangrs
    Oct 25, 2014 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


In general, this is impossible. Anything your users can access, they can create an insecure copy of.

That said, this is a problem that people have tried to solve before, and they have come up with some partially effective methods (see iBook or Amazon Kindle, as vcsjones suggested in a comment). These methods rely in part on punishing violators, so that copying the document, while nowhere near impossible, is difficult and unappealing.

  • Why was this downvoted?
    – Xander
    Oct 24, 2014 at 19:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.