I have been asked the question “Why do you require a password for your book?” twice this week so I thought I would address it in a little more detail than what is provided in the book.
First, we understand that entering a password can be monotonous, especially when you are eager to read our awesome amazing wonderful book (conceited much?). We have worked hard to help alleviate some of that “stress” by adapting the password policy to better meet your needs. Originally, we used the password provided by the book company which was often long and difficult to remember because it was the purchase transaction ID number. We put in several claim tickets and received permission to create our own password, which we have shortened over time. Your purchase password is now just a few short characters and is very easy to remember. The password for the book updates, which we offer free of charge, will always be the same password so it should be easy to remember as well.
So now to the big question- WHY must you have a password? The shortened version is that having a password adds a small layer of protection for our hard work. Believe it or not, the amount of work that went into the book, continually updating it, maintaining and updating the website, recording videos, performing tests and research, providing one on one customer support and answering all of your emails and Facebook questions, is all done on a volunteer basis out of care and concern for the soap making community. If you take the total number of hours of work that we put in each week doing all of these things and took the total book sales and taxes into consideration, there isn’t a profit to be made for the work that we do, just the satisfaction of teaching and helping two communities- the soaping community and our local community. With that in mind, our dedication and the support that we are able to provide to our communities are the benefits of UG2HP and we feel it is incredibly important to protect that. A password is just one way to do that.
Now, let’s rewind to a few months ago when we decided to first the book online. We were having a lot of success with our fluid hot process classes and people really enjoyed learning with us. We offered them something that no other class, book or resource did- an easy to understand format to learn the in’s and out’s of soap science, recipe formulation, low temperature and fluid hot process. We provided them with so much information that we had to create a book for them so that they could take it home to study and learn more. We would hear people say things like “I have been making soap for 20 years and I never learned any of these things, I wish my friends could come take your class”. We enjoyed teaching the class and we enjoy teaching. It is something that makes us happy and we enjoy providing what we wish someone had provided us with. If there was a book, class or resource like UG2HP when I first started, I would have bought it immediately. I didn’t learn how to do things the right way until I was thousands of dollars in, with tons of soap that was not so good, and a lot of wasted time and frustration.
My family brainstormed about how to fill the location gap for those who couldn’t attend our in person class and decided that we needed to somehow put the book online. We taught ourselves how to build and create a website and finally worked up the courage to launch the book. We would use funds earned to buy supplies in order to create hundreds of batches of research and tester soap. We wanted to test recipes, work on formulating scientific soap principles and theories, research fatty acids, learn about free fatty acids, test additives, take classes, and so many more things that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. We wanted to be able to provide people the absolute best- the best recipes, the best information, the best videos, the best articles, the best customer service, and the best book. With these things, we were then able to provide our local homeless and domestic abuse shelters with all of the soap that we made. This provided each patron with a hot shower and soap that didn’t burn or dry out their skin while freeing up funds and donations to use elsewhere within their organizations. This was in addition to the added bonus of providing someone in need with something special and something just for them. We were able to learn more and give more, and the online book sales provided those resources. When we learned and gave more, our readers could learn more and our community could grow more. It was a win-win-win.
Unfortunately, our little happy win-win-win bubble was quickly burst one morning when Eric checked the email account. There was a notice from Google that said some text from our book was found on a website. Soon, we received a few more emails. Someone had posted the book online and in a Facebook group. The number of downloads started to rise in number and each of those downloads could then be emailed and passed around to others. Of course I started to immediately cry and thought all of our soapy time, money and hard work had just been washed down the drain (get it.. soap joke… soap gets washed down the drain?).
We had to spend hours writing and sending cease and desist letters and spent hours going over things trying to get the information taken down. We had found out that someone even started to teach a class using the book by simply switching the front cover! We had to hire a fancy lawyer who charged $400 an hour in order to get our work protected. We had to threaten lawsuits and that is something that we really didn’t enjoy doing. It was a huge and unfortunate mess. This drained all of the Eat-Sleep-Soap funds and it drained our own personal bank accounts. It really hurt us and it detracted us from our goals of learning, sharing and helping our community. The copyright infringement didn’t hurt those who did it, instead, it hurt my family and those in our community that are really in need- the homeless and women and children suffering from abuse.
And so, because of this, we were told that a password was needed as an extra layer of protection. Our lawyer let us know that a password will help, but it won’t stop someone from copyright infringement. When someone really wants to remove the password and post the book online, it can and will be done. The password isn’t going to completely stop people from hurting us, but it does add a tiny little layer of protection and that is something that we value.
We rarely receive negative complaints, but the we do hear is that people don’t like the password. As stated above, we have really worked hard to shorten it and make it easier for you to remember. If you purchase any other e-book, you will need to download a specific app or computer program, you will need to provide a company with all of your personal and detailed information (which they can and will sell for profit or use for advertising purposes), you won’t be able to print the book, and for those who have different operating systems like Apple or Android, you may not even be able to read the book at all. We elected to use a universal PDF format for this very reason. You will also be required to create an account with your email address and a password, which I would be willing to bet will be much longer than our short password.
We posted the book a few months ago and since that negative experience, we have had nothing but positive reviews and truly satisfied customers. We have updated the book with new images, chapters, information, resources, materials, articles and videos. The book has doubled in size and is now almost 200 pages long in an easy to read, bright white format. We now offer a Members page with continuing education, new recipes and full how to videos. We have tripled in readers and now have over 500 UG2HP Facebook members.
If we are allowed to do our work and focus on our goals, instead of worrying about stupid copyright issues, we are truly able to succeed and that success helps everyone. Hopefully after reading this article, you will have a better understanding of who we are and why we have elected to use a password. Each time that you enter in those few characters, you shouldn’t feel bothered, but rather satisfied that you are helping a family, a small business, your soaping community and our local community with people in need, and that should be all that matters! If you do have an issue remembering the password, we would be more than happy to provide you with some tips on how to remember it or we may be able to provide you with a special copy if you have special circumstances.
Thank you for supporting yourself, the soaping community, our families and the members of my community who need it the most. Without you, these things would not be possible!