Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 (updated 7 Mar ’13) | Brighton, England

Take Control Books, now with account management


Back in April 2009, helped Adam and Tonya Engst power by ExpressionEngine; a first phase. In June of that year, phase #2 automated updating Take Control ebooks from links within the PDF ebooks themselves. Last week (July 21st) we launched phase #3, the most ambitious yet: account management.


As explained in an email sent to over 48,000 Take Control customers (now users!), the new system lets you log on and:

  • See a list of — and re-download — all the ebooks you’ve purchased, as well as any free updates (no more worrying about losing them)
  • Log in to the mobile version of your account from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch (the mobile version has different options)
  • Quickly determine if there are upgrade discounts available for newer editions of ebooks you currently own
  • Download EPUB and Mobipocket versions for recent books to use with ebook readers
  • Link multiple email addresses to your Take Control account, so orders from all of them appear in your library
  • Set the email address that receives Take Control-related email
  • See throughout the site which ebooks you own and which you’re eligible to buy at a discount.
  • Change your password and real name (which was picked up from your order information)
  • Choose to be alerted to ebook updates, new books, and sales
  • Get upgrade offers or special pricing based on ebooks that you already own

In addition, the system lets the site manager easily:

  • Add and remove a user’s ownership of a book
  • Change the primary email associated with a user (users can have multiple emails associated with their account)
  • Change the email associated with ownership of a particular book to another of the user’s associated emails
  • Push free upgrades across the user base to qualifying users.

The account management system integrates with Take Control’s ecommerce database, thanks to close collaboration with the justifiably renowned Glenn Fleishman, who runs the server.

For the extensive AJAX involved, the system relies heavily on the jQuery .load() and .live() functions combined with Engaging’s own rather invaluable External Entries ExpressionEngine plugin.

“We really are incredibly happy with the system overall,” Adam wrote in an email. “When we released four iPad books recently, having the full EE system in place probably saved several full days of work.”