® Why no ebooks?

I am asked fairly regularly to make my booklets available in electronic form. I would love to. You have to believe I have wanted from the beginning to sell the booklets more efficiently electronically. Be assured I have explored the facets of doing this thoroughly. To date there is no known method to make them secure. None I am aware of. A few years ago I met with two different companies who claimed security and whose products failed miserably when tested. When I challenged one of them on his claims, he simply defended his product by saying that the Apple iMac doesn't count. Really? Anyone with an iMac can read my "protected" file? Chalk up one wasted afternoon.

My takeaway on digital rights management (DRM) is this: at the prices I can afford (some charge $10,000 per year), no service offers actual security, regardless of their rhetoric. Even Cyclepedia (who attempted to woo me into their author fold) uses a proprietary reader requiring a special app and membership, just as with ebooks at the public library. Makes sense. Amazon does the same thing, of course. But I don't want either as a business partner.

So I shifted gears in this quest and tried to set up dealers in Canada, the UK, Australia and elsewhere, reaching out to people I knew and could trust in those areas, and whom I expected would welcome the opportunity. Absolutely no interest. Zilch. Sirius Consolidated in Canada is now working with me, so something good came out of that. But, to illustrate how at risk online intellectual property is, consider that after being begged repeatedy by one individual amid assurances on his mother's grave he would not disburse it, I acted against my better judgement and what do you think? I have not sold that particular title since. You and I both know the reason. Some folks think the Internet is some kind of free ticket to whatever. I find it interesting that the courts long ago established print and online to be equally defensible and I expect I'll have to pursue recovery one dark day. In the meantime the best course is to be proactive.

You know, you can't please everyone. For years I used only very fast Priority shipping for international sales. And every season someone complained of the price. Understandably. International Priority Mail is very expensive, to most countries exceeding the price of the booklet itself! In other words, famously expensive DHL would not have been appreciably less! And perversely and inexplicably, there is no middle ground with USPS between Priority and very reasonably priced First Class. The difference is up to five times as much, not just a little! And you know what? They both actually travel by air! Figure that one out.


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