I am going to sell my e-book in delivering it to every buyer in several formats (HTML, PDF, .doc), suitable both for PC and for smartphones.

How should I deliver it: by email or by a temporary Web link? (Email is probably somehow easier to program for the programmer.)

Is it OK to send all files packed into a .zip file? I am afraid that some users (especially of smartphones) may not know how to unpack .zip.

  • 2
    @StevenDrennon It is about final delivering and is unrelated to marketing. Delivering happens when marketing is done, it is not a part of marketing.
    – porton
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:13
  • Agreed, I think this would fit better on the ebooks site; sending it there. Jan 26, 2015 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


Baen Books has an interface that I find works well (as a consumer). When you buy a book -- or if it's one of their free books -- you get a download page with links for all the formats they support. Here's an example from their free library (so this link should work for everybody). The page is persistent; if I buy a book from them and download, say, the Kindle format, and later I want to read it on a Nook, I can just go back to the page and download that format. This does mean that users have to create accounts (to track this), but (a) you can make that lightweight and (b) you might have done that to support the purchase anyway.

I would advise against sending all formats in a bundle. For the phone case, in addition to the problem of users not knowing how to unpack it, you're sending several times the volume of data the person actually needed, which could annoy people with lower-usage data plans or frequent purchases.

  • Isn't a persistent link a honey pot for pirates? I could make the links available for 1 or 2 days. Or are persistent links OK?
    – porton
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:20
  • If the link only works if the user is signed in, then it's only a honeypot to the extent that your user decides to share. But you already had that risk. Jan 14, 2015 at 16:25
  • I will probably program my sales site myself (and use it as for now just for one or two ebooks authored by myself). Writing signup/signin code is a serious time loss for me as a programmer. And isn't it too much for a user to signup to a site with only one or two ebooks?
    – porton
    Jan 14, 2015 at 16:31
  • Oh, I didn't realize it was a small-scale operation. In that case, you may be best off with short-lived download links. As for signup, if you support OpenID or only require a name and password (you don't need anything else), that's pretty light-weight. Jan 14, 2015 at 16:33
  • @porton what happens if the buyer wants to download the book again e.g. if his phone is stolen?
    – mmmmmm
    Apr 29, 2015 at 9:04

I'd like to second Monicas advice, not to send the same content multiple times to avoid unused data transmissions especially on mobile advices.

But alongside of not developing a whole registration and login system I would still recommend you to simply generate persistent download pages for your customers.

But to prevent your download pages mutate to popular honey pots, I would implement a rather simple concept which is also used by lonely planet for example: Each file is limited to a maximum of 5 downloads - allowing the user to easily repeat the download when anything went wrong or even to retrieve the files years after the actual purchase. An important factor is that you clearly communicate display this behaviour to the user in such a way that the user is always aware of the remaining number of downloads. You are still free to reset the download counter for individual cases on request.

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