eBook Distribution – Experiment 1

I’ve been experimenting with some different methods of distributing ebooks using existing infrastructure. These experiments are localized (thinking of the library as a place where people go) while at the same time using WiFi, networks, computers, web servers and other tools of the internet.

My first bare-bones experiment is using Mongoose

Mongoose is a radically simple webserver. Download the executable, put it in the folder you want to share, run it and you can access it at http://localhost:8080 or at http://%5BcomputerIP%5D:8080.

If you want to run it off of port 80, or add additional functions, you can edit the optional mongoose.conf file

With a small edit of the mongoose.conf file, enabling directory listing, you can serve up a folder over a network, allowing users to download whatever is inside that folder.

Here’s some advantages

1) This is a 2 minute project.You have a folder to share, and a way to share it.

2) This method respects your user’s privacy. With a quick setup like this, you’re not harvesting their usernames, reading preferences or creating advertising profiles.

3) You can set this system up anywhere, using almost any hardware from the last 10 years.

 

Disadvantages

1) It’s ugly. You get a basic directory listing with limited functionality.

2) It violates the concept that most people have of the internet. The URL doesn’t end in .com or another top level domain, and unless you link to it, n0 one will ever know it exists.

3) While the Mongoose webserver is fairly secure, this should be run on a computer isolated from your regular network.  I secured mine by limiting access only to the 192.168.* addresses provided within my test network, it’s also running on a test server outside the regular network I usually work on.

I’ll talk about more attractive methods of serving up eBooks in my next post.

 

 

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