4 Surefire Ways to Prevent Your Ebook From Being Stolen

Imagine this: one day, you get a random idea and decide to write an e-book. You spend sleepless nights writing that e-book, pouring out all the knowledge you can find on the subject to make it worthwhile.

Eventually, you finally launch it! Yay! People start buying your e-book and you feel great. One day, you are scrolling randomly on Twitter when you come across it being sold online by someone you don’t even know.

Or maybe you are getting lunch with a friend when she informs you that the e-book you wrote with your sweat and blood is being shared by one of her coworkers at the office to everyone they know – friends, families, students, co-workers, etc.

That’s really heartbreaking, isn’t it? All your hard work shared for free without any due credit to you.

We are sure you would do anything to prevent your ebook from being copied, or shared. Hence, the reason why we’ve written this blog post to show you four effective ways to protect your ebook from being shared or stolen online as a Nigerian Creator.

Let’s dive in!

Common forms of ebook theft in Nigeria

In order to effectively prevent e-book sharing, we must first understand the common forms of e-book theft here in Nigeria.

There are three common forms of ebook theft in Nigeria.

Someone buys your ebook and shares it with her friends, families and colleagues

This is the most common form of ebook theft in Nigeria. One person buys the ebook and several others get it for free, which becomes a loss in revenue.

Someone buys your ebook and sells it to others at a price lower or higher than yours 

This is common among digital creators in Nigeria. Someone buys your product, changes your name to theirs, probably changes the title as well, and sells it to their own audience, which betrays your intellectual property rights.

Someone buys your ebook and uploads it on his website for others to get it for free without your permission 

Usually, this happens to ebooks that have recorded massive sales and wide acceptance. The buyer might use it to gain more traffic to his/her website.

At this juncture, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as a 100% full proof way of protecting your e-book from being copied. This is because once something is on the internet it becomes very hard to control its spread.

People will surely find a way around it, but what you can do as a creator is to reduce the rate at which it’s shared or sold to the barest minimum.

Here are two things to keep in mind:

  • If an ebook is being protected and it’s really hard for people to share, they will be discouraged from sharing or reselling it
  • If it’s easier to buy an ebook than sharing, people will prefer to buy it.

Preventing Your Ebook From Being Copied or Shared in Nigeria: 4 Ways to Make That Happen

Use a Digital Service Provider to sell your Ebook

The easiest and most effective way to prevent your ebook from being copied is to use digital service providers. 

Digital service providers are platforms that make it easy to sell digital products, such as ebooks, courses, webinars, memberships, and so on.

They accept payments on your behalf and most of them help you deliver your ebook to your customers, and automate the process on your behalf, giving you free time to focus on other aspects of your business. A great example of a digital service provider in Africa is Selar.

Apart from the fact that you can sell your ebook on Selar, we are also very intentional with developing features that protect our creators from ebook piracy.

It also has a feature that protects your ebook from being copied or shared: the Read online only feature.

Here’s how to use Selar to protect your ebook from being copied or shared. After filling in the necessary details of your ebook on Selar, all you have to do is to turn on the read online-only feature. With this, your customers won’t be able to download the PDF but will be able to read it online, on the platform.

Prevent File Sharing

You can prevent customers from sharing files after buying your e-book by changing them into the read-only mode.

A very good tool you can use for this is Google Docs

All you need to do is add the customer’s email directly to the file and put it on view-only mode.  When you do this, customers won’t have access to download the files nor would they be able to share them because they can only be accessed with the specific email added.

This can however be stressful because you will need to manually add customers who buy the eBook one after the other. Of course, Selar has made it easier for you. On Selar, the e-book will automatically be delivered to your customers immediately after payment. 

All you need to do is activate it once while adding your products.

Create a Product License

Another way to prevent your ebook from being stolen is to create a unique download key for each copy. 

To access the product, the customer has to enter a unique key. This creates a strong protection because you can easily monitor whoever shared your ebook. 

With this method, buyers cannot share, rename or copy your file because each copy is tied to its own key. 

However using this method can make it harder for customers and can make them lose interest during the process of getting your product. A good tool to use to create a product license for your ebook is Book Guard Pro.

Copyright your Ebook

If you finally catch someone sharing your ebook, how can it be confirmed that you are the owner?

That’s where copyright comes in.It’s believed that once you have written an ebook and published it, it’s automatically copyrighted but the best way to go is to have it legally copyrighted.

Copyrighting your product does not give 100% protection against ebook theft but it helps you to take legal action against anyone that steals your ebook. When you legally register your ebook, it makes you the actual owner of the ebook in every ramification and you can easily sue anyone distributing or reselling your ebook.

How to Use Ebook Sharing To Your Advantage

As mentioned earlier, you can’t have 100% full protection for your ebook from being stolen or shared.

That said, you can use it to your advantage.

How is that possible?

  • Make sure you promote yourself and other services you render, your website, your newsletters etc throughout the ebook. This will make those that get your ebook either legally or illegally to connect with you after reading it. 
  • Make sure you always have another product for sale as a back end offer. Talk about this product all through the ebook and you can even offer discount to anyone who reads the ebook
  • Offer freebies to your reader(whether they bought from you or they got it somewhere else). The freebie can be a free ebook, free subscription, free newsletter, just to get their email address and connect with them through that.


Ebook theft doesn’t only hurt your sales but affects your brand reputation. Hence you need to take every measure to prevent your ebook from being stolen or shared freely.

While taking the necessary measures, consider the easy delivery of your ebooks to your customers as well.

We hope that you have found a permanent solution to prevent your ebook from being stolen or shared in this post.

Have you ever had your ebook shared or resold by someone else before? Share your experience in the comments section.