I am self-publishing a secondary textbook. In order for my local state to allow schools to purchase the physical textbook and use it in their classrooms, I'm legally required to make an on-line version available to purchasers (i.e. any students in districts who purchased the book). This should be a simple means, not requiring any fancy software, just a web browser.

Do any of the major self-publishing services (such as B&N Press, Lulu, or Amazon Self-Publishing) have a means to generate a password, that I could mail out in mass, so those students can read an e-version free, but the general public is locked out?

  • Should they just be able to download the book, or have online access to it forever (or at least some time)? NB I think all browsers can view PDFs these days, so publishing as PDF would cover that requirement. But the access requirements may be trickier.
    – user54131
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 5:33
  • Why not make the schools distribute it themselves? I vaguely remember having textbook PDFs on Canvas when I was still in school.
    – Laurel
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 7:13
  • 1
    @towr I'm concerned it will spread around the internet if they can download it. The textbook publishers I saw had a Web site setup that displayed the "open book" as side-by-side images, and they made it difficult to copy-paste text, download copies, etc.
    – Village
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure if this would meet your needs, but is worth looking into. Issuu.com is a publishing platform that I've seen used by a number of literary magazines. You can transform your PDF into a flipbook and I'm pretty sure you can have a password on it (like the magazines give to their subscribers).

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