How to present purchased PDFs?

I am building a website where people can purchase books that come in an online format where the book would be a big web page or maybe a series of web pages.

After making the purchase, when the user logs in, he/she can navigate to “My Library” and will be presented with a gallery of thumbnails representing any and all books they have purchased. When the user clicks on a thumbnail, he/she will be taken to the online book.

A lot of people have been bugging me to also offer the books in a PDF format…

This may sound funny, but I’m not sure how to present the PDF version to customers.

1.) Should I just give people a PDF version when they buy an online book, or should I make them request the PDF version also?

2.) How should I present the PDF books? Should I create a second gallery which lists all of the PDF books they have purchased?

3.) Or maybe should the online books and PDF books be linked in some way? For instance, if you clicked on the thumbnail which takes you to your online book, should you be able to access the PDF from there?

4.) Should I leave a web page with links to the PDFs indefinitely, or should I just let people download them once and then that’s it?

All of this seems like such a simple thing, but when I think about it, I guess I have never been to a website that offers online books and PDF books, and so I don’t have a working example to follow.

I take it you’ve never bought a book from SP then? :shifty:

Correct, I have not…

(Does that mean you won’t help me unless I buy a book?!) :wink:

No, but it would provide an example.

But option #3 would probably be the best way to handle it (IMHO)

Can I see whatever you were alluding to without having to buy anything from SitePoint?

SP has changed how they handle their books, so the download option isn’t there at the moment.

So what would you expect the user experience to look and feel like with what I want to do?

Actually, I’d prefer to see it two places

  1. Where the online book is shown, see two thumbnails - one for the online version, one for a download.
  2. On the online book display, have an option to download the book from there as well.

You mean in the “My Library” area which shows thumbnails of all books you have purchased, show one thumbnail for the online book and another thumbnail for the PDF version?

Do you when when the user clicks on the thumbnail in the library and then loads the actual online book, you want to see a thumbnail/icon/link in the margin to allow them to see the PDF?

Or a block right below the thumbnail which says “Download book” - something.

Where you put the link depends on your look - put it somewhere visible/viable. You could even put it at the bottom of the table of contents (assuming you’re having a chapter based display) which points to the download

Okay, thank makes more sense.

The design I have for my online book includes a top and bottom menu bar which has navigation links like:

Cover | TOC | << < > >> | Index

So maybe I could put a link in there so they could always see that there is also a link to a PDF?

Do you know of any websites or samples that already do what I am trying to do? A picture is worth a thousand words!

I personally wouldn’t put it there as it’s extra noise that the users will never deal with. For me, I’d keep those bars simple, TOC and the arrow buttons. A link to the cover doesn’t make sense since you can get back to the beginning via the TOC. And what’s the difference between TOC and Index? Those seem like they would be just different names for the same thing.

If you have a download link with the online link in the library, then I would put the download link in the table of contents. But that’s just me.

For which part?

I figure it makes sense to allow people to go back to the cover so people can see which book they are in. (In real life you might flip back to the cover of a book - I do lots.)

Same thing they have always meant…

Table of Contents

What is an Index?

Some examples of how websites handle the link to a PDF Book after you have purchased it. (Especially if when you purchase a book you purchase multiple formats (e.g. online book, PDF, eBook)

I was just thinking… That could be another approach. After someone buys a book, on the order confirmation page I could provide a link where they can download the book. Of course, I’d still probably need to find another place to put the link permanently in case they decide to read or download the PDF later.

I can honestly say I’ve never done this, online or IRL.

I think you’re overthinking it. A simple icon/button/link - whatever will fit into your site design - is all you need to do. The rest is window dressing.

I would have taken that as a given. Immediately available in order confirmation (page AND emailed receipt), and a permanent link somewhere in their account history.

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Hopefully a lot of these questions will be easier to answer once I start coding my website. should point him in the right direction, in my opinion.

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