I distribute my “e-books” as PDFs. Without copy protection. Without DRM or other stuff. I rely on the fairness of my customers. Many Franzis titles are already on the net via piracy platforms and if you write to them as an author saying that they are doing bad things, then it’s like the famous sack of rice in China. (Although these platforms are based in the motherland of copyright, the USA. Foreign copyrights? Fuck you.)
But the PDFs I’ve created still have a little nasty thing in them: invisible separators. Corel Ventura, which I use to write my books, builds the separators into the PDFs during export. All longer, separable words are not saved in the file as “wordmonsters”, but as “words mon sters”. If someone now wants to steal longer passages from the PDF, they will be in for a split surprise.
Unfortunately, searching in such a file with Adobe Acrobat Reader is not much fun – Adobe Reader does not recognize the invisible separators and treats them as spaces. (Anyone who has ever done native PDF programming will no longer be surprised. At most, why someone hasn’t collectively locked up the Adobe programmers long ago. )
Pretty much all other PDF readers adhere to the standard and can handle the separators and also search in my documents. So: if that doesn’t work – use a decent reader, most browsers now have readers that can do that.
I once removed the separators from one or two PDFs using the full version of Acrobat. But it wasn’t worth the effort – because suddenly my “copy protection” was also gone. So I left it at that and wrote an index instead, with which you can not only find things in the PDF, but even when you have the stuff printed out. Totally high-tech (semi-analog multi-platform publishing).
And that’s where we are now. You can now print out the books relatively quickly using a laser in black print in A4 double-sided and file them for reference and you can read them on the PC or mobile (hence the layout. The single column is simply easier to read on the move).
To all Adobe Reader fans who want to search in the file: Sorry guys.