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PCCC eBook Fullfillment System

Technical White Paper describing PCCC eBook Fulfillment System
Wed Sep 1, 2004 2:14 PM ET

Quote Without Comment by Bill Effros

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA - In summer 2004, the author of "Quote Without Comment" approached our firm, Peregrine Computer Consultants Corporation, to assist with the publication of an eBook version of his book. After pursuing many avenues, including Adobe's Content servers and ContentReserve, we determined that the existing solutions in the status quo simply would not work for us. In particular, we began to focus on removing the barrier to entry that the current Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems cause for an average end-user.

In short, we felt that existing eBook solutions were:

  • poorly understood by the general public.
  • too cumbersome and required too much computer knowledge just to read the book let alone ensure that it would be available to them for a lifetime.
  • too costly for authors to deploy as the software and programming requirements can be fairly high.
  • a serious barrier to the sale because of the rights management with no balance towards the eBook owner's rights.
Peregrine Computer Consultants Corporation Logo by Dugald Stermer

That's when we decided to develop a new, simpler eBook fulfillment system using PDFCrypt. This system would produce standard PDF files with password-protected 128-bit encryption without the extra layer of rights management, thereby giving the author moderate protection of the eBook content and significant ease of use for the end-user.

Specifically, the system starts on a standard website (e.g. where we list the books available and use PayPal's Merchant tools to create buy now buttons.

Once the user completes a PayPal purchase, we use Auto-Return w/ Payment Data Transfer (PDT) to return them to a fulfillment page. The fulfillment system then retrieves the transaction information from PayPal and performs various checks for potential fraud. In addition, depending on our long-term success with PDT, we may change the system to use PayPal's Instant Payment Notification (IPN) instead.

After the order has passed all of the checks, the system takes a type-set ready eBook in Acrobat v1.4 PDF format with no security settings and uses PDF::Reuse to add the eBook owner's email address to the bottom of each page (i.e. Ex Libris:

Finally, the customized eBook is encrypted with PDFCrypt using Adobe's 128-bit encryption method with the "No Print, No Edit and No Copy" security enabled and emailed out automatically. For simplicity to the end-user, the email address for fulfillment of the order is also the password for the eBook.

In the end, the user receives a personalized eBook, compatible with any Adobe Acrobat Reader v5.0 or higher, which generates and encrypts a 270 page eBook in just a few seconds thanks to great tools like PDFCrypt.

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