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Old 04-18-2014, 04:32 AM   #16
skreutzer
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Regarding the term “uploading”: nearly everything on the web was once uploaded. A webserver is a computer system (it could even be an ordinary machine, but often it is a specialized one) which as a webserver software running on it. This software turns an otherwise “client computer” to a “server computer”, because the software listens for incoming requests by other computers over the network it is attached to, and serves them files which are located on its hard drive. If you with your client computer want to make a file accessible to all other clients who have access to the webserver, you need to “upload” it by transferring your file onto the hard drive of the webserver. There are programs to do that, one insecure (password gets transmitted in plain text) but commonly used is a so called “FTP program” for direct upload and download to the servers hard drive. As it is usually inconvenient to download and then view files with a FTP program, we use other programs which are called “browsers”. They combine downloading and viewing to one single step. Also, for uploading there are ways to use a browser too: a webserver software can be configured that it serves websites which provide an upload facility, either by a “choose file” button or by a text field in a form, which after submission gets transferred to the webserver, which either places the uploaded file on his hard drive or stores it in a database, so that every “download/view” attempt later gets the stored text of the database served. Wiki's, forums and blogs use the latter method.

I've seen that you use a blogspot blog. Its software is limited to only allow text and image upload (as far as I've read), but all the resources you present there were uploaded by you, and if I look at them, I download them automatically (then it's my choice to save it permanently or not). For a fully functional personal website, usually one rents so called “webspace” (a certain portion of hard drive storage) on a webserver, while for convenience the webspace provider operates and takes care of the webserver software for you. By default, there are no files to serve for such a website, so one has to upload the manually coded websites or install some web software onto the rented storage, like blog-, forum- or CMS-software. A database (well, several database instances) should be part of the rental. Now I don't know if there are any ways to provide files with blogspot, but if not, there are still options if you don't want to rent your own webspace somewhere: you could use the webspace of somebody else. There are services which allow upload to their servers free of charge (but those sites usually include some kind of advertisement of theirs, maybe a link to a public DropBox directory?), or you know somebody who operates his own website with rented webspace. But again, it depends on your expectations. I for instance have plenty of webspace rented for my projects, but a downloader would then see my domain instead something which is clearly attached to you. And I guess you don't want to publicly distribute your text to everybody, so uploading it to a file sharing platform or an e-book distributor might not be an option.

On rented webspace, I for instance run a piece of code which auto-responds requests to a contact form, and it would be easy to mail the requester the link to your file, which isn't linked somewhere else on a website, so web-crawlers couldn't find it as long as no one of your e-mail recipients posts the link on the web. If the file has a name which is hard to guess or at an place where somebody wouldn't expect it, it would be hard to find it by humans (but not impossible, because you can be sure that network traffic and e-mails get scanned all the time if it isn't encrypted, and even if it is encrypted, people have all kinds of malicious software on their computers that spies the user even before the moment of encryption).

Probably you could too send an auto-respond e-mail with some web-software, which contains the e-book as attachment, but I personally don't know how to construct such an e-mail (yet?), and I haven't looked into existing software which does this kind of thing. Certainly there are already existing solutions for both, e-mail attached delivery and download delivery, but in any case one has to look up or to find out advantages and disadvantages of them. If you're really interested in delivery by e-mail attachment per auto-responder, I could invest some time and find out how this is technically solved and if it would be easy enough to just write a script for that. Please note that I only know how to implement an e-mail auto-responder to a button click on a website, but I don't know how to auto-respond to e-mails which get received by the e-mail software of the webserver. A clickable button on a website is findable by all people, but maybe that's not a problem, because you would otherwise have to publish your contact e-mail address for free of charge e-books too.

Last edited by skreutzer; 04-18-2014 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:01 PM   #17
Gregg Bell
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Thanks so much, skreutzer. Are you a teacher? Because if not, you could be. I know so much more about servers and uploading and all kinds of things after reading your post. And thanks so much for your very generous offer to help me. I'm sure the technical challenges could be worked out (eventually!), but what's holding me back now is Amazon's "price mathching." And if I offer all of my books for free (to people who can't afford them), then Amazon is going to make all of my books free.

I'm not entirely new to having a book free on Amazon. Last year, I had one "perma-free" there and it got about 2,000 downloads. But with the much smaller exposure I would get just from my website and tweeting I don't anticipate any huge number of requests for free books now. (And if there was, I would be okay with that.) I'm just trying to avoid needless hassles. I'd love to do this free-if-you-need-it thing, but not if it's going to be excessively time consumptive or a huge hassle (say with Amazon making all the books free, or, with people struggling with getting the free books and inundating me with emails asking for clarification on how to get the books).

Right now I'm just letting the process evolve. Thank you again. You have given me much to think about, and I really do appreciate all your help.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:40 PM   #18
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Here is a suggestion - reverse your thinking. If you really do not care if people get free - put it up for free for everyone, and then ask for donations on your web site. A tip jar basically. Paypal and other companies make it pretty safe and painless to take donations and some people do very well using this method.

Just a thought for you.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Here is a suggestion - reverse your thinking. If you really do not care if people get free - put it up for free for everyone, and then ask for donations on your web site. A tip jar basically. Paypal and other companies make it pretty safe and painless to take donations and some people do very well using this method.

Just a thought for you.
Thanks Vincent. I appreciate the input. Right now I'm not sure what I'm doing, but it's good to know about another option.
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