Both Brenda and Marty make good points. Of course, we're always going to have this theft problem unless we're selling the Bible...then we'll have an expensive copying bill. And quite frankly - the number of people that would reproduce this particular book illegally, for profit, are few and far between!
This example is actually part of the answer. If your manual, like the good book, has a large number of pages - mine is close to 300 pages with the newsletter backcopies - then a photocopying charge of say 10c per page is going to cost you $30...not far away from the actual cost (without my Consultation Commitment) of $39. Then the thief would have to bind it - another $3.50 or so. Not much good spending this amount for getting a tiny refund advantage.
And the second part of the answer is less effective, but just as important. If you're a 'believer' or follower, then the likelihood of wanting to diddle the author /publisher out of their rightful income is reduced considerably.
This is why I put so much personal value and background into my writing and product. Because if my reading public know me as a person - rather than just an anonymous provider of material - they're less likely to want to rip me off.
And lastly, but most importantly, you can offer your product with strings attached. This means that the physical part - the printed manual - is only part of the package. The rest, like an ongoing newsletter with up-to-date information, gives the pack more longterm value.
Whatever reason - I use these methods and it works for me! Still just 3 returns in over 650 sales, since I started selling the Info-Pack at the end of last year.
Compare that to Don Alm's problems in a post he made somewhere else this week. He was getting a 10% return rate at one stage. That's abnormally high, and obviously something's wrong somewhere in the selling equation.
When that happens to us, either the product is not up to scratch, or the buyer's expectations are set too high. Yes, you can oversell through your enthusiasm!
And one point that Marty made is very relevant. Ignore what you can't control. Instead of spending time trying to crimeproof your material, it's better to pour it into marketing.
The number of crooked shysters out there is still just a small percent of the whole market. You should act like a retailer which writes off a certain amount of stock to shoplifting...grins and bears it.
But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. If you produce your information digitally, and use Acrobat 4 to produce your PDF files, the new release has a number of theftproof options. So now you can elect to prevent your material being copied to another computer, or copied by cut & paste, or even prevented from being printed out!
I predict this is going to be a big seller, since it solves most of the problems we all face as e-book producers.