How did the Take Control series begin?
In May 2017, Adam and Tonya sold the Take Control series to their most prolific author, Joe Kissell. You can read about the transition in Take Control Books Acquired by Joe Kissell and the Take Control Transition FAQ.
I’d like to review a Take Control ebook. Can I get a review copy?
Why don't you have a book on ____?
- Apple Music: Our book that covers Apple Music (both in the sense of the paid streaming service and the app named Music, which was the successor to iTunes) is called Take Control of macOS Media Apps.
- Dropbox: We used to have a book on Dropbox, but when the company started taking the product in unfortunate directions, we stopped updating the book and later discontinued it. We will not be updating it in the future, as we fundamentally disagree with Dropbox’s business model and software design principles.
- iMovie: Any book that covered iMovie adequately would have to be extremely long, and it would also require vast amounts of supporting video material. It’s not a good fit for the Take Control format. In addition, even if we created such a book, it is virtually unthinkable that we would be able to sell enough copies to recoup our expenses.
- Keynote: We once had a book about Apple’s Keynote app, to go along with our books on Pages and Numbers. Unfortunately, hardly anyone bought it, and sales were too low to support continued updates. When it went far out of sync with current reality, we had to discontinue the book. There has been renewed interest in the app, and we are exploring ways we might potentially bring the topic back in some form in the future—but no guarantees!
- Photoshop: The story here is similar to that for iMovie—the book would have to be so long and complex that it wouldn’t make sense for our format, and so expensive to produce that it could never make financial sense for us.
Apart from these specific examples, we’re often asked about small, independent (but well-loved) apps. Our answer there is generally: Unless we can get significant marketing support from the developer, and a certain baseline of guaranteed income, the math doesn’t work; we wouldn’t be able to sell enough copies of such a book directly to our own customers for the author to end up with even minimum wage for the time they put in.
All that said, there are still many potential topics for future Take Control books! See the next few questions…
I have an idea for a Take Control ebook that I’d like you to write so I can read it!
I’d like to write (or edit) a Take Control ebook. How should I proceed?
Will you write an ebook about my product?
I’d like to resell Take Control ebooks from my website. Do you have an affiliate program?
Do you use copy protection on your ebooks?
I don’t have an account. Do I have to create one before I can order a book? I don’t see any way to do that.
What forms of payment do you accept?
How can I give one of your ebooks as a gift?
But…if you’ve already purchased a book for yourself, our system won’t let you buy a second copy as long as you’re logged in (because we’ve had a huge problem with accidental duplicate purchases!). So, the workaround is to log out on our site and then place the order.
In the future, we hope to be able to offer a better, less awkward, and more flexible way to make gift purchases.
Can I buy multiple copies of ebooks for students in a class I’m teaching?
Can I get my ebooks on CD?
I get an unhelpful error message when I try to use Apple Pay. What’s wrong?
The cart isn’t working right. What should I do?
- 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 information about what went wrong. A screenshot is ideal, if easily done on your end.
- Try another browser. Although we test our pages with multiple browsers, it’s possible that you have different settings or a different version.
I’m outside the United States but I want to pay in U.S. dollars. How can I do that?
Officially, FastSpring’s response is: sorry, but our hands are tied. They are obligated to collect taxes based on where you are geographically located, regardless of the currency you use; yet their system currently offers no way to choose a non-local currency. So, if you were to enter the ZIP code for a U.S. location in which ebooks are not subject to sales tax, your payment would probably work, but FastSpring could not endorse this approach because they could get in trouble with your local tax authorities. I have asked repeatedly for currency to be decoupled from location, but so far, that does not appear to be in FastSpring’s plans.
Do you charge VAT for ebooks sold to EU customers?
What if I’m purchasing for a tax-exempt organization?
Why was I charged sales tax?
Note that in certain situations, if you’re connected to the internet using a VPN, and the VPN endpoint is in a state or country other than where you reside or where your bank account is, various unexpected and undesirable consequences can occur. For the most reliable and predictable results, either turn off your VPN while placing an order, or make sure it’s connected to a server within the same tax jurisdiction.
What about places like Norway and the UK that have recently discontinued sales taxes for ebooks?
It sounds like FastSpring is an imperfect solution for you. Why don’t you just switch to another company?
Downloading and Working with Ebook Files
Why are your filenames inconsistent?
Take Control of Zoom (1.1)or it might look like
TCoZoom-1.1. (In both cases, there will be extensions afterward, like
.epub, but whether you see these depends on your device, operating system, and settings.) Sometimes you might have books on your device with both types of names, and that can be confusing (as well as making it harder to sort your files and see which versions you have).
So, why aren’t our filenames always the same?
Consider a book like Take Control of Zoom. That’s the book’s title, and we think it’s helpful to put the version number right in the filename, so the name we want to use for it is the first example—
Take Control of Zoom (1.1). The problem with that is, downloadable files on our website can’t have spaces in their names—that screws up all kinds of things. We can’t have the “pretty” names we prefer. So, many years ago (long before I started running Take Control), the decision was made to remove the spaces, turn “Take Control of” into “TCo” (for compactness), and put the version number at the end following a hyphen, rather than in parentheses. That’s how we end up with things like
But wait! You may very well have a file with the “pretty” name on your computer. How did that happen? Well, we offer our PDFs in two forms: regular and zipped. The regular, raw PDFs will have filenames like
TCoZoom-1.1.pdf. But when we zip them, we start with the original file that has the nice-looking name, and then we give the awkward name to the Zip file, so it’ll look like
TCoZoom-1.1-pdf.zip. But once you download that and unzip it—your browser might even do this automatically for you—you get the file with the nice, original name.
So, for PDFs, you can get the file with either the full name or the abbreviated name, depending on whether you download the zipped version. Then…why can’t we do the same for EPUB and Mobi formats?
Ah. That’s where it gets tricky. Macs and PCs have no trouble unzipping downloaded files, but depending on your mobile operating system and version, you might need a third-party app to unzip a file on your phone or tablet. (And even if you don’t need a separate app, it could be an irritating and non-obvious extra step.) What we want is for people to be able to download an EPUB or Mobi to the Files app and then open it immediately in the Books or Kindle app, without having to figure out how to uncompress it first. And that’s why we don’t offer zipped versions of the EPUB or Mobi files.
So, our EPUBs and Mobis always have the “ugly” names, and the PDFs sometimes do.
Now: your follow-up questions are inevitably:
Why don’t you at least offer the option of zipped EPUBs and Mobis with the nice names? We could do that. But then having to explain why we have six different files you can download, what the implications of each one are, and how to decide which one you want, becomes extremely complicated—especially for busy people with no interest in tech minutiae.
Why don’t you put all the files together in a single Zip file, so that you get the nice names when you unzip it? We could do that too. But we’d still have to offer separate EPUBs and Mobis for those who need them, and a lot of people have bandwidth and storage constraints that make downloading stuff they don’t need an unpleasant prospect.
Why don’t you just give up on the “nice” names and, in the name of consistency, use the “ugly” names everywhere? We could do that as well. But then we’d get complaints from people who are used to the PDFs with the nice names, and we’d lose our one opportunity to give the files what we think of as their proper, canonical names.
If we had it to do all over again, I think we’d adopt a different convention: we’d give our files “proper” names but just use hyphens instead of spaces or parentheses:
Take-Control-of-Zoom-1.1.pdf. At this point, however, switching to that type of naming would be certain to infuriate people with dozens or even hundreds of our books collected over the years, because the new names wouldn’t match either of the old patterns.
We’re very sorry this situation exists, but we don’t currently have a solution that will make everyone happy.
How do I download my ebooks?
Important note: On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, although PDFs can be displayed right in your browser, other file types (including EPUB, Mobi, and zipped PDF) download directly to the Files app. So if you tap a download link and nothing appears to happen, look in the Files app for the downloaded book. You can then tap it to open it in the appropriate app.
If you experience trouble downloading your purchases, try these tips:
- Look for the email message we sent you with the subject “Your Take Control Books order is complete.” (This is separate from your receipt!) Try again using the download links in that message. If you don’t see the email with the download links, please check your spam/junk mail folder. More often than not, that’s where it is. (Note that we can only send messages to valid email addresses; if you mistyped your address or entered a fake address like
email@example.com, you obviously won’t get the message.)
- Go to your Take Control Library and tap the format you want to download. (Refer to the “Important note” just above if doing this on an iOS/iPadOS device.)
- Read Device Advice for help with installing and reading ebooks on your iOS/iPadOS device, Kindle, or Nook.
- Don’t spend hours on this… if you’ve tried a few things and it’s not working, contact us and tell us what you’ve tried and what problem you are having. We will get back to you, probably with an easy solution!
Where’s the table of contents? How do I use it?
Where are the internal links and how do I use them?
How do I make the text bigger?
How can I scroll quickly?
How can I read one of your books on a mobile device?
Can I print one of your ebooks?
- Click Ebook Extras 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 in the Update Plans section 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 Reader cannot successfully print the PDF, try Preview or another PDF app.
- 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 OK with us if you print a single copy of your ebook at a copy shop, such as FedEx Office.
In the future, we hope to be able to offer paperback versions of many of our books, in addition to ebooks. However, we do not yet have any specific plans to announce.
Dealing with Ebook Updates
How do you handle updates to your ebooks?
Minor updates are free. Incrementing the number after the second decimal point (for example, going from version 1.0 to version 1.0.1), that means it’s a “bug fix” release—something like fixing typos or making other very small corrections. Incrementing the number after the first decimal point (for example, version 1.1) indicates more substantial changes.
If we increment the first number (as in, going from version 1.1 to version 2.0), that’s a new edition, which means it is considerably revised, often with new chapters, large amounts of rewriting, or other structural changes. Updates to new editions are not free, but we nearly always offer a significantly discounted upgrade to customers who had a previous edition of the book.
How do I check to see if an update is available for an ebook I purchased?
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.”
Whether you click (or tap) the Ebook Extras button or the link in the Ebook Extras section of the book, if you aren’t logged in to your Take Control account, you’ll get a dialog where you can log in or create a new account. (N.B. Creating new accounts is not yet available on our new website, but we’re working on it.) You can close the dialog if you don’t want to deal with logging in.
On the resulting webpage, look for any free update that you are eligible for. If your ebook is dated, you might also see an offer for a discount on a new edition. If we have anything to say about future update plans for the ebook, that information will appear in the Update Plans section.
Can you send me an email message when you release an updated version of my ebook?
Managing Your Take Control Account and Email Address
How do I use my Take Control account?
For extensive help with your account, see the Account Help page.
How do I log in?
How do I subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) Take Control announcements, or change my email address?
How do I add a book to my Take Control account if I bought it somewhere else?
How to Contact Us
If you still have questions or want to contact us for any reason, you can use our contact form to send us email, or if you prefer, send a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we often respond to customer email messages right away, our goal is to reply within one business day.