eBooks from Prufrock Press and Copy Protection
eBooks From Prufrock Press and Copy Protection
PUBLISHED: Sunday, September 09, 2012 by Joel McIntosh, Publisher

eBooks from Prufrock Press use a form of copy protection. For this reason, in order read and print the eBooks you buy from our web site, you need to install the free Adobe Digital Editions application on your computer. This is the same software used by Google Books, Kobo Books, Books-A-Million, BooksOnBoard, and many others, and it is the closest thing publishers have to an industry standard. With this software, you can read and print the books you buy from Prufrock on up to six devices. With a little extra work, you can even read the books on your Barnes and Noble nook or your Apple iPad.

Personally, I don't like copy protection on eBooks. I think it adds a level of complexity to what should be a simple experience. Given that we protect our books with Adobe's software, that might seem like a contradiction. I suppose it is. However, let me offer a bit of perspective on why we use Adobe's software to protect our books from illegal distribution. Two years ago, we acquired a wonderful publishing house called Cottonwood Press. Prior to the acquisition, Cottonwood sold its books in both print format and as unprotected PDFs. The result? Take a look at this email from a teacher that I received shortly after the acquisition.

Hi, I am a 7th grade English teacher, and I love using the materials you’ve acquired from Cottonwood Press. However, it has come to my attention that at least one of these books, "Games for English and Language Arts" by Charlene Hunter, has been uploaded to the Scribd website and is now available for download. Here is a link: [redacted]. This means that my students have access to the answer key! 

Hopefully, you will be able to resolve this copyright issue with the website quickly. Thanks, Katie

We dug into this problem a bit and found that a simple Google search for some of Cottonwood's titles showed that many were available from download sites like Scribd. We got busy and started sending copyright violation "take-down" notices to these sites. After several months, we finally managed to get all of the illegal copies taken down, but it required lots of time and effort. It still does–we continue to monitor these sites.

We didn't want a repeat of this experience with our other titles, so we adopted Adobe Digital Editions as our copy protection system. Even though it presented a level of complication for my customers (you need to install Adobe Digital Editions on your computer), I finally "bit the bullet" and protected our eBooks with Adobe's software. To my way of thinking, this was similar to the need for me to establish rules in my classroom when I was a teacher. Most of the kids I taught did not need rules spelled out. They were well behaved and eager to learn. However, a small few in every class were not so well meaning. The rules were really designed to help with those few kids, but the rules had to apply to everyone. Unfortunately, this is similar to the problem I'm facing with people who don't respect our author's copyright.

Adobe Digital Editions offers a reasonably simple, industry-standard way that we can sell our eBooks and protect our authors copyrights. Most customers never have a problem using Adobe Digital Editions, but we are always available to help if you need some extra technical assistance. Call us at 800-998-2208 during business hours or e-mail us at any time.