3 Steps to Sell and Protect eBooks against Downloading & Sharing without Permission

Monetizing WordPress digital products in general and ebooks, in particular, is no longer a strange term. It has become more and more popular to readers due to the lower cost and flexibility.

You can create PDF ebooks in the format of digital comics, art books, or simply how-to guides, and case studies. Unlike physical products that require material cost, ebooks make you invest once and earn from it forever.

Believing or not, it’s not complicated to sell ebooks on WordPress sites if you have the right plugins. You can use WooCommerce to set up an online shop and sell your e-publications there.

However, the challenge now lies in digital piracy. Your ebooks can be shared on social media and forums easily without your notice. So how do you control this file access?

That’s why today we will cover how to protect your ebooks from being shared along with 3 easy steps to sell them. Before we start, let’s discuss the issue of ebook piracy.

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Why Blocking eBook Downloads Matters

Ebooks theft is rising year by year. Shady readers can steal your ebook, offer it to their friends for free, or even resell them. The amount of $300 million lost in author income due to pirated books surprises each of us. This figure was estimated in 2018 in the US only.

Nobody wants others to share and spread out their intellectual products without permission, for sure. You try various ways to prevent unwanted users from stealing your ebooks, from adding copyright, inserting watermarks, to prevent direct access to the file.

WooCommerce also allows you to restrict virtual product downloads by download limit and download expiry. But this just prevents unauthorized users from accessing your e-books.

The problem now narrows down to those who have bought your e-publications. Since they already have permission to access your file, the high chance is that they can download these files then re-upload them to other platforms and share them with others.

That’s why we have come up with the solution of preventing buyers from downloading their ebooks after purchases. Instead, they can view them only.

To achieve that, you need to embed the PDF ebook which is already protected with Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold plugin in your WordPress page. Then, password protecting that page with Password Protect WordPress (PPWP) Pro plugin. Lastly, selling this content page using WooCommerce, PPWP Pro, and its WooCommerce Integration extension. We break this process into 3 clear steps as follows.

Step 1: Protect and Embed PDF eBooks in WordPress Content

You need the support from PDA Gold plugin and Watermark WordPress Files plugin to insert the PDF ebooks to WordPress pages/posts. To install these plugins in your WordPress site, you need to:

  1. Download PDA Gold plugin and Watermark WordPress Files plugin under zip files format
  2. Log into your WordPress admin dashboard
  3. Choose PluginsAdd New in your left-hand navigation menu
  4. Click Upload Plugin and select the zip files you have downloaded
  5. Enter the license keys sent to your email address and activate the plugins

Upon installation and activation, the Watermark WordPress Files plugin will add a PDF icon to the page editor toolbar.

Simply go to the Pages or Posts section and open your desired page or add a new one.


In the page edit screen, click the PDF icon then select your desired PDF file in the Media Library to embed. You can also upload your file if it’s not been in the Library yet.


Remember to check the box Protect this file before you click “Choose PDF” in the ATTACHMENT DETAILS menu.


As a result, your PDF ebook is attached directly to the WordPress page. Only admins have permissions to view and download it, by default. Visitors won’t be able to find the PDF ebook URL on search engines anymore. Even though users have the link, they can’t open it.

Step 2: Lock the Page with Passwords

Our PPWP Pro plugin allows you to lock pages with the embedded PDF ebooks without one or numerous passwords. Only whitelisted user roles or those entering the correct password are permitted to see the protected page.

Once activated, a new Password Protect WordPress section will be added to your page edit screen to set passwords. Right on the page with the embedded PDF ebooks, enable the toggle “Password protected.” The tool then auto-generates a new global password for your page that anyone can use to unlock the protected page.


It’s possible for you to create your own password by click Add new. Please notice that your password should be strong enough to avoid brute force attacks.

You have the right to set roles for your passwords, e.g admins, editors, subscribers, or customers. In other words, these people must log in before entering passwords in order to access the page. Other user roles even with the correct key are unable to see the page and the ebook.

Step 3: Sell Protected Content using PPWP Pro WooCommerce Integration

Our PPWP Pro along with its WooCommerce Integration gives you a helping hand in selling password-protected content. After customers completed their buying process, they will receive a quick access link letting them access protected content directly.

The following instruction guides you through the whole process:

1. Attach your protected page with the PDF ebook to a WooCommerce product

In the Products section in your WordPress dashboard, click Add New or All Products to edit an existing product page or add a new page. Make sure you provide the product page title, slug, description, and other important information.


Scroll down to the bottom of the product page, at the “Product data” section. Tick the “Virtual” checkbox to enable the PPWP Protection feature.

In the “Protection type” dropdown, go for “Individual pages” and select your protected page with the PDF ebook created in the previous step. The dropdown list shows content password protected by PPWP Pro only.



2. Restrict access to the page URL via clicks or expiration time

Usage limit and expiration prevent customers from sharing the protected product page without your permission. After a given time or a number of clicks, anyone who accesses your restricted product page will be redirected to a 404 page.

3. Customize the message on the order page or in the email of users

This message will be embedded into the order page and email template. It lets customers know what the link is about and when it will be expired.

Your message shouldn’t include characters like brackets or commas. An example message you can refer to is “This is the %product page%. The link will auto-expire after {usage_limit} clicks or at {expiration_time}.

You should notice that right after you tick the Virtual checkbox, the plugin will quickly generate an access link. If you change the password of the protected page, it will also change the quick access link.

Protect Your Ebooks from Digital Piracy Today!

There is no 100% foolproof way to prevent someone from stealing your eBook. We’ve provided you with the best solution to secure your intellectual products.

Instead of putting the ebook links on product pages, you should embed them to a WordPress page. Then, password protect and sell that page vis WooCommerce. You can go through this process in a finger snap thanks to the support of PDA Gold, Watermark WordPress Files, PPWP Pro plugins, and WooCommerce Integration extension.

Does any of these steps confuse you? Let us know in the comment section below so we can help you clarify.