Frequently Asked Questions

You can find answers to many frequently asked questions on this FAQ page.

General Questions

Look here for info about who we are and what we do.

How did the Take Control series begin?

Take Control began in 2003 as a radical rethinking of how books are written, edited, published, and yes, even how they are read. Take Control is run by the husband-and-wife team Adam and Tonya Engst. By the time they began Take Control, they had authored or edited more than 25 traditional books and written hundreds of magazine articles for major Mac magazines. And, they'd spent the last 15 years gaining experience in Internet publishing with TidBITS, their Web site (updated quite often) and weekly email newsletter about Apple and Internet topics. These experiences helped them develop the Take Control model, which results in highly practical ebooks that cover much more detail than a magazine article but that are shorter, more focused, and more timely than a typical printed book.

For more background, read the TidBITS article that introduced the series, or see the 2010 video wherein Chris Breen from Macworld interviews Adam and Tonya about the series.

I'd like to write a Take Control ebook. How should I proceed?

Thanks, but we currently aren't bringing in new authors—our plates are full!

I'd like to edit a Take Control ebook. How should I proceed?

If you have experience with editing in the technology world, particularly with manuscripts about Apple-related topics, we'd like to hear from you! Use the contact form at the bottom of this page to send us a note.

I have an idea for a Take Control ebook that I'd like you to write so I can read it!

Great—we love to hear your ideas. Use the Search form available in the top navigation bar of our site, and if you don't turn up anything, please use our contact form to send us your thoughts

Will you write an ebook about my product?

It's all a matter of whether the business details work out, but if your product has a sufficiently large user base, we're happy to talk with you more. Please use the contact form at the bottom of the page to tell us what you have in mind.

I'd like to review a Take Control ebook. Can I get a review copy?

Sure thing. Just use the contact form below to send us a note, telling us which ebook you'd like to review and for what publication.

I'd like to resell Take Control ebooks from my Web site. Do you have an affiliate program?

We do! Just visit our Take Control Affiliate Program page for details. If you're running a larger ebook retail site that wouldn't integrate with our affiliate program, use the contact form below to send us a note and we'll talk.

Do you use copy protection on your ebooks?

No. Our ebooks do not use copy protection because it makes life harder for everyone. So we ask a favor of our readers. If you want to share your copy of an ebook you've bought with a friend, please do so as you would with a physical book, meaning that if your friend uses it regularly, he or she should buy a copy.

How can I give one of your ebooks as a gift?

Any way you like! Seriously, if you want to purchase one of our ebooks for a friend or relative, run through the order process as you normally would. Once you've downloaded the PDF file, you could send it to the recipient as a normal email attachment. Or, if you're looking for a more concrete object to present, you could burn it to a CD-R disc. (If you haven't done that on the Mac before, insert a blank CD-R, open the Untitled CD's window in the Finder, drag a file to it, and click the Burn button.)

What do you use for the Take Control Books Web site?

We rely on ExpressionEngine as our content management system. Thanks to Adam Khan of Engaging.net for translating our static HTML into a database- and template-driven site.

Pre-Ordering Info

This section covers some common questions people have about payment methods, the eCD option, and other things that may come up when the cart is working properly. If you have a problem with the cart working incorrectly, please see the next section, which covers ordering problems.

Can I buy ebooks with PayPal?

Yes, eSellerate now accepts PayPal as one of the standard payment types, along with common credit cards. You'll start in our cart, get handed off to PayPal, log in, go through a screen or two, and return to the eSellerate cart to complete and download your purchase.

Can I get my ebooks on CD?

You can purchase a CD containing all the ebooks in an order, whether for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Look beneath the Product list on the first screen of the cart for an option to add the CD to your order. The cost is $15, and the $15 price includes USPS First Class/Airmail shipping to anywhere in the world. The CD is created and shipped nearly instantly after you complete your order, so be sure your order is correct before you finalize it.

Can I buy multiple copies of ebooks for students in a class I'm teaching? Or for my MUG?

Yes, if you're teaching a class and wish to purchase copies of our ebooks for your students, we offer steep discounts. Some MUGs also purchase bulk orders to provide copies of ebooks to all their members, for instance on a member-bonus CD. For more information and to apply for bulk pricing, visit our Class Copies page.

How do you convert currency from U.S. dollars for ebook sales?

Either PayPal, your credit card company, or eSellerate does the conversion. Here's more info:

  • You pay via PayPal: PayPal handles the conversion.
  • You choose U.S. dollars from the upper left of the first screen of the cart: your credit card company does the conversion; the amount you see in the eSellerate cart may not match your final total, particularly if your card charges a conversion fee.
  • You choose something other than U.S. dollars from the upper left of the first screen of the cart: eSellerate calculates a complete charge, including any fees that your card may impose and adjusting for the fact that the current conversion rates will likely fluctuate during the multi-hour process wherein eSellerate's computers and your credit card company's computers negotiate and complete the transaction. The charge you see in the cart will match the charge on your credit card statement.

Ordering Help

Occasionally people have trouble completing an order via eSellerate. Here are some tips for getting through the cart and downloading your ebook if you encounter an error.

What if I can't order an ebook through your cart?

If, for whatever reason, you can't place an order with a credit card via the Web (or through PayPal, which is an option in our shopping cart), please contact us and we'll work something out.

What if the ebook shopping cart doesn't work right?

Occasionally, people have trouble using our shopping cart, which is run by eSellerate, an online cart service that handles transactions for us. If you experience trouble ordering, try these tips:

  • Unfortunately, eSellerate does not support the AOL Web browser or the SeaMonkey browser. eSellerate does actively support Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, so if you are having a wacky problem, and can't get to the last screen of the cart with its download button(s), we suggest that you try one of the three supported browsers.
  • Quit your browser and then relaunch it. If this does not solve the problem, and you write in to us for help, please try to provide as much info as possible about what went wrong. A screenshot is ideal, if easily done on your end.
  • Try again later. Almost all the problems have been temporary.
  • Try another browser. Although we test our pages on eSellerate (and on this site) with multiple browsers, it's possible that you have different settings or a different version.
  • Notice that eSellerate runs multiple different store servers; if you have trouble with one of them, change the store number in the URL in your browser's Address field to a different store number (choose a number from 2 to 6).

Do you charge VAT for ebooks sold to EU customers?

Yes. The EU regulations surrounding VAT on sales from companies outside the European Union changed radically in the middle of 2003, and electronic books are regulated differently even than physical books. Sorry! (For example, in the Netherlands, a Take Control ebook would be considered a "digital service or electronically supplied service" and that puts it in a higher VAT rate than a physical book.)

Why was I charged sales tax?

Our shopping-cart service, eSellerate, is owned by Digital River. As a consequence, they are required to charge sales tax in each U.S. state where they have a "point of presence." This includes about a half dozen states, but which states it exactly includes may change over time. eSellerate has employees dedicated to tasks like making sure sales tax is handled properly, and we are confident that they are up on the details. (We let them handle this sort of thing so that we can focus on what we do best—creating content about Apple products.) If you are a tax-exempt entity, you can place your order and then contact us and we'll have eSellerate reverse the charges on the tax. Or, if a reversal isn't helpful, contact us to get info about paying us directly via check or some other means.

Downloading Tips

At the end of your ordering process, if you are shopping on a Mac or Windows PC, eSellerate displays a Download button, which you click to download the PDF of the associated ebook (to get the EPUB or MOBI version, open the downloaded PDF and click the Check for Updates button on the cover—you do not have to log in, just close the login dialog if you prefer). (If you are using an iOS device, such as an iPad, or if you are using a Kindle Fire, you will get download buttons for downloading your new ebook as a PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.)

If you experience trouble downloading from the last screen of the cart, try these tips:

  • Don't spend hours on this... if you've tried a few things and it's not working, contact us using the form at the bottom of this page, and tell us what you've tried and what problem you are having. We will get back to you, probably with an easy solution!

  • Read Device Advice for help with installing and reading ebooks on your iOS device, Kindle, or Nook.

  • The last screen of the cart offers download buttons, but you should use them quickly. A few hours after that last screen shows in your browser, it will time out, and the downloads won't work. If that happens to you, on a Mac or in Windows, look in your email for a receipt. That receipt will have a download URL on it—load that URL to find the After-Purchase Services page and then look for a link on the left to "re-download"—this will work only to a Mac or a Windows computer. Or, You can download from your Take Control Ebooks account. For help with downloading to an iOS device, read Device Advice.

  • On a Mac, Control-click the download link and experiment with any likely looking options in the resulting contextual menu.

  • If you are getting a server error, it may be because you clicked a Download Ebook button twice. In this case, the download probably did work; the "server error" relates to your second click, not the first one. If you really want to click again, close the Web page, make sure no ebooks are downloading, and then come back to the page through the URL on your email receipt.

  • If you are getting a server error and the above suggestions don't seem to apply, please let us know so we can tell our engineers. However, and particularly if this is on the weekend, do try again in a half-hour or so (use the URL on your email receipt; then click in the left column to "re-download"), since the problem may go away before we even check our email. (if you do get your order, send us another email so we know you are all set, thanks!)

  • eSellerate does not support using download accelerators or other download utilities (like iGetter), so please stick with a normal Web browser.

  • Try again using the download link on your email-based receipt. If you go this route, you'll be working with our eSellerate-powered cart. Look for the "re-download" option on the After Purchase Services page—this will work only to a Mac or a Windows computer. For help with downloading to an iOS device, read Device Advice.

  • Log in to your Take Control Ebooks account. You can download your ebooks from your Library tab. Note that if you download the PDF, after you are viewing your ebook in Safari you can tap the screen to reveal the "Open in" controls and then transfer your ebook to any app that is offered as a choice. For example, if you've installed iBooks, it will be offered as a choice.

  • When you download from eSellerate to a Mac or Windows computer, you'll be downloading a Zip-compressed file. This ensures that clicking Download downloads the file to your disk rather than merely displaying the PDF file in your Web browser. Your computer is likely to automatically "unzip" the file, but if it does not, you'll need to use a utility that can expand Zip files, such as StuffIt Expander" (Macintosh), ZIP Reader (Windows; free) or WinZip (Windows; $29). Make sure you have a recent version; older versions don't always work.

  • Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and later usually expands Zip files automatically if you use Safari to download, though that's not necessarily true if you use another Web browser.

  • If the file downloads as a d.aspx file rather than an appropriate Zip file, you may be able to expand the file by dropping it on StuffIt Expander.

  • The d.aspx file may appear if you use Internet Explorer on the Mac and you downloaded it by Control-clicking the Download button and choosing Download Link to Disk from the pop-up menu. Try again, but this time just click the Download button normally, or use another browser.

  • The d.aspx files can result from using YazSoft's Speed Download utility; this is apparently fixed in Speed Download 3.0. If you encounter problems with Speed Download, try turning off Speed Download and downloading again. Yazsoft writes, "Go into the Plugins section of the SD preferences and manually delete all the File types to be handled by Speed Download 2 and Save. When you want to re-enable Speed Download, simply go back to the Plugins preference and click Restore Speed Download File helpers and then Save."

  • If you've ever used YazSoft's Speed Download and deleted it, it may have left your settings in an unusable state, which could result either in a d.aspx file or a blank window displaying a file:/// URL. According to YazSoft, you must use the uninstaller in the Speed Download folder. Either download a new copy and run the uninstaller, or if you can't download that either, contact YazSoft and ask for a copy of the uninstaller.

  • If you use the FlashGot download extension with the Firefox Web browser, the file may be corrupted or downloaded improperly. Work around this by saving the files to disk rather than downloading through FlashGot.

Reading a PDF on a Computer Screen (Macintosh, Windows PC)

Once you've downloaded and expanded the PDF file, you'll have your ebook in PDF format. Here are some tips for reading the ebook on a Macintosh or Windows PC:

  • If you wish to use Adobe Reader, make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader.
  • In Mac OS X, you can use Adobe Reader or Apple's Preview utility (in your Applications folder); if you experience trouble with one, try the other. Preview in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, versions 10.6.0–10.6.2 has a bug wherein some Web links will not work as expected. The problem is solved in 10.6.3.
  • If graphics appear as grey boxes in Adobe Reader, select the Display Large Images checkbox in Adobe Reader's Preferences window.
  • If you're using Acrobat Professional, make sure that your Web Capture preferences are set to open links in your Web browser, not in Acrobat.

Where's the table of contents? How do I use it?

Newer Take Control ebooks begin the table of contents on page 2. You can click any topic in the table of contents to jump to it. Your PDF also has bookmarks that correspond to table-of-contents entries. We recommend that you work with bookmarks showing so that you can move quickly among the topics.

Where are the internal links and how do I use them?

The internal links are formatted in blue. To use one, just click it.

When I click a button or link in my ebook, nothing happens. Help!

Try picking a different function for the mouse pointer. In Preview, look for a different tool button on the toolbar or look for a Tools menu on the menu bar. In Acrobat, make sure the Hand tool is selected. (If you are using Preview under Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, links won't work in Preview, so try Adobe Reader instead.)

How do I make the text bigger?

In Acrobat, you can increase the size of the text by clicking the window's Zoom button to make the window as wide as possible, and then choosing View > Fit Width. You can eke out more horizontal width by closing the Bookmarks tab (click the Bookmarks tab at the far left of the Acrobat window). In Preview, resize the window manually and click the Zoom In button; to save more horizontal space, close the bookmarks drawer (Command-T).

How can I scroll quickly?

To scroll using keyboard shortcuts you must first click in the main text area. The Page Up and Page Down keys may be the easiest (and they scroll by screen when you are viewing less than a full page). In Acrobat, the Left and Right arrow keys scroll to the previous and next page starts.

Web pages are appearing in my PDF. What do I do?

This problem occurs in Adobe Acrobat Pro if your Web Capture preferences are set to display Web pages in the PDF. We recommend that you turn this setting off for viewing Take Control ebooks because it harms their presentation and makes it impossible to successfully download updates. To turn it off, choose Acrobat > Preferences, switch to the Web Capture pane, and choose In Web Browser from the Open Web Links pop-up menu.

Reading on a Mobile Device (iPad, iPhone, Kindle)

To learn about various ways to install and read a Take Control ebook (or Macworld Superguide) on one of these mobile devices, see Device Advice.

Printing an Ebook

The PDF version of an ebook in the Take Control series should print reasonably well on a typical home printer. Here are some printing tips:

  • Click Check for Updates on the cover of the PDF to make sure you have the latest version of the ebook and to verify that we don't plan to release a new version shortly (if you are asked to log in, you may simply close that dialog; look on the Blog tab to see our latest update plans).
  • Consider printing 2-up (with borders showing), which puts two pages on a single piece of paper. Alternatively, if your printer supports it, try duplex printing (which puts one page on each side of a piece of paper). However, do not mix 2-up and duplex printing unless you enjoy novel pagination schemes.
  • When printing on a color inkjet printer, to avoid using a lot of color ink, look for an option to print in black-and-white.
  • In the unlikely event that Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader cannot successfully print the PDF, try Preview; several readers have solved printing problems by using Preview.
  • Your printer may not have enough memory to print the entire ebook at once. If it gets stuck before completing the job, or cannot print the ebook at all, try printing in batches of 50 or so pages.

It is okay with us if you print a single copy of your ebook at a copy shop, such as FedEx Kinko's.

For many years, we used a print-on-demand service, called Qoop, to offer a quick way to order a printed copy. Unfortunately, as of June 2012, Qoop appears to be going out of business, and we have disconnected the links between the Take Control site and Qoop. We hope to bring back a print-on-demand option, but it will take a while to research options and integrate a new provider into our Web site, if we decide to continue offering the service.

Finding an Ebook Update

We occasionally may offer a free minor update an ebook in the Take Control series. If we create a new edition of an ebook, we nearly always offer a discounted upgrade.

How do I check if an update is available for an ebook I purchased?

Check for UpdatesIf your ebook is in the PDF file format, on the cover (page 1), click Check for Updates (the image to the right shows the location of the button; older ebooks have a different cover design; the link is at the lower left). A few of our oldest titles lack a Check for Updates button; in that case, contact us and we'll take care of you.

If you are not reading a PDF-formatted version, skim the first page or so of the "Read Me First" to find information about accessing updates or "ebook extras."

Whatever you click (or tap), if you aren't logged in to your Take Control Ebooks account, you'll get a dialog where you can log in or create a new account. You can close the dialog if you don't want to deal with logging in.

On the resulting Web page, the Downloads tab will show brief update information, plus a link to any free update that you are eligible for. If your ebook is dated, you might also see a discount offer for a new edition. You can also click the Blog tab to read the blog. If we have anything to say about future update plans for the ebook, that information will appear at the top of the blog.

I can see the Check for Updates button, but when I click it, nothing happens!?!

Likely, you have the wrong mouse-pointer tool selected. A TidBITS article, "Solve Link-Clicking Problems When Reading PDFs" has information that should help you select the right tool.

Can you send me an email message when you release an updated version of my ebook?

Yes! Please see the How do I subscribe to an email update list?, below.

What if I bought the printed version of a title?

Please contact us and we'll send you the PDF of your title so that you can use the Check for Updates button, as explained just above.

What if I bought a Peachpit book that contained the text from an ebook, and I want an update?

  • If you bought a Peachpit book with "Take Control of" in the title, consult the introductory text or the index to learn about how you can download the ebook version of the title.
  • If you bought a Peachpit book from the Real World series, contact us, being sure to tell us which Peachpit book and the last word in the index for that book, and we'll send you the ebook equivalents of the Peachpit book.

Managing Your Take Control Account and Email Address

In 2010, we rolled out a user account system wherein you can log in to the Take Control Web site to re-download your ebooks, or even read them from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. You can also set your email preferences for whether we contact you, and at which email address, by logging in and adjusting your profile.

We've included a few FAQs here, but for extensive help with your account, log in and then click the Help tab available alongside your Library and Profile tabs.

How do I log in?

Click the Log In link located near the upper right of each page on the Take Control Web site. If you don't know your password, after you click the Log In link, click "Need login help?".

If you are a Mac user who stored your password on your Mac, but you can't recall it, you may be able to retrieve your password from your Keychain: You can examine your Keychain using Apple's Keychain Access software, which is stored on your Mac in the Applications folder, in the Utilities folder. Use the Search field at the upper right to search for takecontrolbooks, double-click that entry, select the Show Password checkbox, enter your Mac's admin password (or your special keychain password), and then then you'll see your password.

How do I change my password?

Sign in to your Take Control account by clicking the Log In link near the upper right of any page on the Take Control site. Once you're in, if you don't see the Take Control Library page, with a list of ebooks that you've purchased, click your name, located near the upper right of the page. From the list of options in the left sidebar, click Profile. The fields for changing your password now appear in the main pane.

If you're curious about what sort of password our system can accept, here's what Adam had to say about the matter in 2013, "Passwords must be between 5 and 32 characters in length (we probably will increase the 5 when we do the redesign) and can contain any digit or special character as far as I know (I tested with a few wacky characters, like ñ and ™ and they worked, but I wouldn’t bet on every Unicode character working perfectly). At one point long ago there was an odd bug with the & character in a password causing problems, but I just tested and that seems to be working."

Note that if you have an account on the TidBITS Web site, your Take Control account and your TidBITS account are the same account. If you change the password here on the Take Control site, it will also be changed for TidBITS, since it is the same account.

I am having a problem with 1Password and logging in. Help!

Make sure you are using at least the 3.2.3 release of 1Password. If that doesn't solve the problem, please contact us. As a rule of thumb, 1Password should work with the Take Control site.

How do I subscribe to Take Control Announcements?

To manage your subscription, log in to your Take Control account by clicking the Log In link near the upper right of any page on the Take Control Web site. (If you don't know your password, after you click Log In, click "Need login help?".)

Once you're logged in, if you don't see the Take Control Library page, with a list of ebooks that you've purchased, click your name, located near the upper right of the page. Now, click the Profile button, located in the left sidebar. On the Profile tab, choose Yes from the Contact Me? pop-up menu and then click the Save Changes button.

How do I subscribe to an ebook update list?

If a book is listed in on your Take Control Library page, you are on the update-notification list for free updates. If you own an ebook that your Library list doesn't know about, you can add it. On the Take Control Web site, make sure you are logged in. Then:

  • If your ebook is a PDF, open the PDF and from the cover (page 1), and click the Check for Updates button.
  • If your ebook came from the iBookstore or the App Store, and it was published in mid-2010 or later, locate the "Ebook Extras" section near the end of the ebook. Tap the appropriate link in "Ebook Extras."
  • If none of the above works, skim the earlier portion of the "Read Me First" for a link. Click or tap the link.
  • Your ebook will connect to the Take Control Web site and, thus, "register" into the system. Next time you reload your Take Control Library page, the ebook should appear there.

    How do I change my email address for these lists?

    Log in to your Take Control account as described above, and then follow these steps:

    1. On the Profile tab, in the "Login & Contact Settings" area, open the Email pop-up menu and check if your desired email address is available in the menu. If it is, skip to Step 7.
    2. On your Profile tab, in the "Email Addresses" area (you may need to scroll down to see it), enter your new email address and click the Add Email button. You will receive an authorization code at your new email address.
    3. In your email software, copy the code.
    4. Return to your Web browser, and paste the code in the Submit Authorization Code field.
    5. Click the Submit Authorization Code button.
    6. Refresh the Web page. (You can click the Refresh link in the "Add Email Addresses" area to do this.)
    7. In the "Login & Contact Settings" area, choose your new email address from the Email pop-up menu.
    8. Enter your password.
    9. Click the Save Changes button.

    Email related to the Take Control ebook series will now go to the address shown by default in the Email pop-up menu. (Note that if you subscribe to the TidBITS email newsletter, TidBITS will now also go to this email address.)

    How do I unsubscribe from Take Control's general announcement list?

    Log in to your Take Control account as described above, and then on the Profile tab, choose No from the "Contact Me?" pop-up menu, and click the Save Changes button.

    What is Take Control's privacy policy?

    TidBITS Publishing Inc, the publishers of Take Control ebooks, takes online privacy very seriously. If you purchase one of our Take Control ebooks, TidBITS Publishing receives and records information related to your purchase, including your name, email address, and postal address, but not your credit card number. As with our subscriber databases and subscription lists, this information is held in the strictest confidence. Please see our full privacy policy for further details. A link to our privacy policy is also available at the bottom of most Take Control Web pages.

    How to Contact Us

    If you still have questions or wish to contact us for any reason, you can use the form below to send us email.

    Although we often respond to customer email messages right away, our goal is to reply within one business day.

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