Password Protection: A New Purchase Flow to Selling Ebooks

Protect your Ebooks against Google and Unauthorized users; Stop existing Customers from Sharing the Ebook Files.

Selling Ebooks: Password Protect WP


Nim is an internet marketer who wants to sell his own ebooks on his website but fears that someone will just buy them, make a copy and share them with to all his friends.

He also wants to protect his MOBI/PDF and EPUB files sitting on WordPress media library against outsiders such as Google and unauthorized users.

Proposed Solution

It will be nice for ebooks sellers not to provide a direct download link to their customers but instead a protected online PDF viewer as well as an auto-generated password for each customer to access them. Besides, it’s good to have some sort of statistics to check suspicious password usage and then have the ability to terminate that password.

In other words, his customers need to visit his website to view the purchased ebook. They shouldn’t be able to download and view it on their own computer. This gives the business owners some boost in traffic, and more importantly, an opportunity to upsell them as well.

What’s more, each of the auto-generated passwords is tracked to prevent sharing the ebook link. When our client sees something suspicious, he can just delete that password to prevent sharing.

Last but not least, almost everything including the passwords, notification emails are handled automatically. This automation process saves our client a massive amount of time he would otherwise have to spent and wasted.

New Purchase Flow

This is a new purchase based on the proposed solution:

  1. A lead subscribes to an email list on the client’s website
  2. ActiveCampaign starts his automated emails
    • send welcome email
    • wait for X days, send next email, etc.
  3. Customers purchase his ebook through PayPal
    • A unique password is auto-generated after purchase. This will be used to access the private page on the client’s website where the purchased ebook is embedded.
  4. PayPal sends signal to Zapier which in turn sends signal back to ActiveCampaign to start another automation
    • Send an automated email with that unique password to each customer.
  5. The customers get the email then come to his website where the ebook PDF file is embedded. They will need to use the provided password to view the purchased ebook.
  6. The ebook sellers can track if there is any suspicious use of the unique passwords and can terminate them if they need to.

How we do it

Based on that purchase flow, we come up with 3 new plugins.

  • Watermark WordPress Files plugin
    Embed the PDF file into WordPress content (pages or posts). Protect it from download using expiring links
  • Password Protect WordPress plugin
    • Password protect a chosen page where the ebook PDF file is embedded
    • Track usage and terminate (deactivate or delete) existing passwords
  • ActivateCampaign Integration extension
    • Call our plugin’s API to generate a new password for each customer after purchase (Step 5)
    • Store this unique password on the client’s ActiveCampaign account

The best thing is 90% of this new purchase flow is on automation. He will just need to copy and embed a custom ActiveCampaign shortcode into your desired email(s).

The automation part lets me have a bit more free time to focus on to next ebook projects. This can only happen with your ActiveCampaign integration!
– Nim

Limitation and Potential Improvement

This is by no means a perfect solution. If someone really wants to copy the file, he can just use his mobile and print screen it anyway. Alternatively, they could find a way to somehow download the PDF file on his website.

People who want to steal will steal anyway. But this makes things a little bit harder for those pirates while preventing 90% of average users from doing so.

Some of this are somewhat unavoidable. However, we could certainly improve the process of showing and protecting the embedded ebook on WordPress. For example, we could go a step further and watermark the ebook file with the customer’s name and email, which helps stop them from sharing the file.