Dangers Of Relying On Free E-Books For Business

You’ve decided to start a business, but you don’t have a lot of money to do it.  You know what you want to do, but you aren’t sure how to do it.  You scour the Internet to save money and find free ebooks about running a successful business.  You’re excited about your good fortune of freebies and start downloading the ebooks.  After all, they’re free.  Are there hidden dangers too downloading free ebooks?

What Are Some Dangers Of Free Online Tools?

The Internet can be a place to find excellent business advice and information.  We all enjoy getting free things.  In an attempt to save money, we sometimes overlook the dangers.  These dangers can affect our email, our computers, and even our business.  

The first danger is to your email address.  Some free ebook distributors ask for your email address.  While some of these people may keep it to send you emails in the future, others sell your information.  That can result in email spam.  Email spam can result in malicious links or files.  Clicking on those files can put your personal information at risk for identity theft.  Those links can also install a virus that can ruin your computer.  It’s hard to run a business with an email box full of spam or without a computer.

Another danger lies in the download itself.  If a file is in a zipped format or an executable file, don’t download it.  Those are red flags for installing software, spyware, or mal-ware onto your computer.  Consider the source of the download and the format.  Ebooks come in a variety of formats.  If you plan to use read it on your computer, download a PDF version if it is available.  

Was the ebook really free or was it pirated?  Downloading something you thought was free, but was uploaded by someone else so others don’t have to pay for it, is illegal.  Pirating doesn’t exist just for movies and music.  It is any work belonging to another person that should be sold for a price, but it was stolen and offered to others for free.  There are many places to get legitimately free ebooks.  Public libraries also offer a wide variety of downloads for smart devices and computers.  

Caution When Downloading

It is a great sign of a future business owner to want as much education on their chosen business and business in general as they can possibly find.  Another important danger lies in local laws.  Not every jurisdiction will allow certain businesses to operate within a home.  Free ebooks don’t tell you that.  They are written as general guides and assume that you will or have looked at the qualifications of your local jurisdiction.  For instance, let’s say you want to start a catering business.  You want to start that business from your home kitchen.  Many jurisdictions do not allow that.  That’s not something you will learn in an ebook.  That’s something you have to research or talk with an experienced business attorney to find out.  

You can minimize the dangers of free ebooks by more education.  Know whether or not an ebook truly is free.  You can do this by conducting a little Internet research.  Find out whether or not the work is free, public domain, or if the free copy you found is someone’s hard work that deserves payment.  Know thy ebook formats.  Do not download something that looks suspicious.  Research the company or website offering the free ebook.  Set up an email address to use to sign up for places offering the free ebooks.  This will keep your business or personal email address clutter free.  Learn about conducting business in your area.  You can contact an attorney, the Secretary of State, or even the Chamber of Commerce.  

Robin is a blogger for The McMinn Law Firm, a business and personal injury law firm in Austin, Texas.  Robin is always sure to double check before she downloads free internet giveaways.