A website claims they are giving away a free PDF download of my book! What’s going on?

We’ve received several calls lately regarding websites that are offering a free eBook PDF download of some Inkwater titles. All of the Inkwater eBooks(Kindle and ePub) are encrypted, and we never release PDF versions of the book, because there is no way to encrypt them. After checking out multiple websites, and consulting with other publishers, it seems that this a common scam to get people to either either download a virus or barrage people with advertisements.

We found multiple forums discussing this shady practice, including the one below from CreateSpace forum blogger Lighthouse 24:

A website may claim to offer all kinds of things.  If it actually allows a visitor to download your title as a free ebook (and your title has a registered copyright), then that’s illegal.


I’m sure that happens sometimes, but far more often it’s something else.  For instance, there are hundreds of MLM (multi-level marketing) schemes out there that involve ebooks and that have tens of thousands of downline participants (who are attracted by an ad that says something like, “Start you own business.  Work one hour a week and earn $250,000 a year promoting ebooks!”).  The prospective entrepreneur pays a sign-up fee and receives a pre-built and automatically-serviced website — which really exists to make money from affiliate marketing and Google ads, not the sale of ebooks.


When a visitor (someone searching for a book) happens across the site, the hope is that he/she will click on one of the revenue-generating ads.  If the visitor is searching for a book that’s in public domain, then he/she may actually be able to download it for free (giving the site a feel of legitimacy).  If the visitor is searching for one of the listed best-sellers that is supposedly available, then he/she will likely be navigated to a cloned version of the stuff Amazon puts up on the book’s page (with the site’s own revenue-generating links to other places where books can be purchased).  If the visitor persists in downloading the free ebook version, the file sent will contain a harmless but detectable virus (which is intended to cause the visitor to halt the download).  If the visitor doesn’t have virus protection software, the download will finish — but it will be a corrupted file (and Adobe reader will be unable to open it when the visitor attempts to view it).


Either way, the visitor didn’t pay anything and wasn’t really hurt, so he/she usually just forgets it and moves on.  No copyrighted ebook was pirated or downloaded, so no law was broken.  All that really happened was that the MLM scheme used a book title to lure interested visitors in, and received revenue from advertisers who wanted their products or services exposed to those visitors.  There are thousands of sites that use this practice, so we’d drive ourselves crazy worrying if they are actually giving our books away.  It’s possible, but not likely if you’ve used ordinary care in protecting your intellectual property.  Hope that helps.

*This is courtesy of Lighthouse 24 on the Create Space forum


Author Testimonial

The books arrived at Plymouth Church today, and I happened to be at the church this afternoon. The books look terrific. Many thanks to all of you at Inkwater for making this book happen.

Tom Daniel (Plymouth Church)


Author Testimonial

I got my first box of 10 paperbacks.  I haven’t taken the time to look at them carefully, but they look beautiful.  Well done.

Thanks to all of you for making this work so smoothly.

Jim Douglas (The Toughest Peace Corps Job: Letters from Somalia, 1969)


Author Testimonial

“Like” is an understatement.  I have doubted the wisdom of this project since it began and one of the “problems” I imagined was a book cover that would convey the horror of my story.  You captured the horror in my opinion and I believe a person looking at the cover would immediately understand what the book is about.

Louis Farshee (Safer Barlik: Famine in Mount Lebanon During World War I)


Author Testimonial

I couldn’t have been (and still am) more satisfied with inkwater.  They are genuine and responsive to all interactions in a very timely way. I often felt that my work was the only book they were working on! Inkwater staff are a great team and they made me feel a part of it.

Corbett Monica (Dual Diagnosis Anonymous)


Author Testimonial

Wow, that was fast. I received my copies today, and it looks WONDERFUL!. The cover just jumps out, and the computer monitor does not do it justice.

Thanks for publishing my novel, and I hope it does well for both of us.

Tracy Lee Ford (Dinosaur Isle)



Author Testimonial

Inkwater Press has been a great relief in my search for a professional and friendly publisher for my books. I had finally finished this great story that I wanted people to see as soon as possible, but I didn’t want to wait around for traditional publishers to find me, or for author agents to accept me. I looked up book publishers, and I saw that the most easily found companies wanted so much money. Then, in the spirit of supporting local businesses, I searched for Portland publishers, and found Inkwater Press to be fairly priced and ready to work with me. I met Sean, who was a real person sitting across from me—not just a vague letterhead. And I was in quick-response email contact with the Inkwater team throughout the process of having my book published. Emily did an amazing job of creating the book covers for my trilogy. She encouraged my ideas, working with the things I thought were important to the look of my story. Having plenty of chances to make changes to my manuscript and cover, and knowing that what I had to say would be heard, I am happy that the people of Inkwater Press have made a joy out of what I thought would be a difficult hurdle of publishing without an agent. I’m happy to say that I am now a well-represented published author, and those who have seen my book think so as well.
Jenessa Grimm Gayheart (The Thousand Years Ghost)


“Conserving Oregon’s Environment” Wins an Award

Michael McCloskey’s book, Conserving Oregon’s Environment: Breakthroughs That Made History, was the Winner of the Great Northwest Book Festival Award for General Non-Fiction.

9781592999484 cov.indd




Marie Hofer’s book, “Solo Flight: Flying Lessons Before Knocking On Heaven’s Door,” was the Runner-up in the Spiritual category.

Inkwater author’s Robert L. LeBrun, Chet Skibinski, and C.D. Bay-Hansen also received Honorable Mention in their categories.



WINNER: “Conserving Oregon’s Environment Breakthroughs” – Michael McCloskey


RUNNER-UP: “Solo Flight: Flying Lessons Before Knocking On Heaven’s Door” – Marie Hofer

Honorable Mentions

  • “Power Geopolitics in the Pacific Age” – C.D. Bay-Hansen
  •  “Cancer Country” – Chet Skibinski
  • “All That Remains” – Robert L. LeBrun