After last week’s Harlequin ebook sale, I had a number of questions from readers who couldn’t actually read the ePub books that they had bought. Adobe encryption is a frustrating animal because downloading your book is a two step process. If your computer is set up for it, these two steps take place in the background but for many, you have to do something to get your digital book onto your computer and then even more steps to get the book onto a dedicated device.
First here is the explanation of the two step process.
Step 1: Download the ACSM File. You will be presented with a download button. This download button never downloads the book. Instead the download button downloads a file with the letters ACSM after the title of the download. Something like this:
Step 2: Double Click ACSM File. ACSM file is not the ebook file. The ACSM is your license to download the book. If your computer is not set up to automatically launch Adobe Digital Editions, double click on the ACSM file. This should start your program called Adobe Digital Editions and then download the book.
You can find your epub book in your “My Documents/Digital Editions” folder (or “Documents/Digital Editions” if you are a MAC user). The ePub book file will always end in “.epub”. Like this:
You can delete these ACSM files so you don’t confuse yourself (which is what I do) or save them in a special folder somewhere. You should be able to redownload an epub book using the ACSM file so you may want to save them.
Using ePub books with the nook.
You can sideload these secured ebooks onto the nook by hooking up your nook to your computer via the USB cord. The nook will show up (or mount) as an external drive. If you have Adobe Digital Editions open, the nook appears in the lower left hand corner:
You can drag and drop ebook titles from the right side to the nook. EXCEPT Harlequin ebooks don’t allow copying (and so do other encrypted ePubs). To get around this use Windows Explorer on the PC or Finder on Mac and copy the epub file from your “My Documents/Digital Editions” folder onto the nook. For the nookColor, there are a number of places I can copy the books to (marked with a dot).
You just need to remember where you put them so when you go to your nookColor, you can access them (via the Library page). Over at the BN forums, they recommend the sideloaded ePubs go into “My Documents” folder on the nook.
Using ePub books on the Sony:
This works generally the same way as the nook. Plug in the Sony using a USB which mounts it as an external drive. Using the Windows Explorer on the PC or Finder on the Mac, copy the epub file from your My Documents/Digital Editions” folder onto the Sony.
(Note, I am sorry I have no screencaps for this. My Sony is out on loan).
Using ePub books with the iThings:
Bluefire and Txtr both accept Adobe ePub encrypted books. Bluefire is my favorite and I wrote out specific instructions here on how to get an ePub book onto Bluefire. You can also mail yourself encrypted ePub files and use the “Open in Bluefire” option. (good on iPhone OS 4.0 and above, I believe).
DO NOT EMAIL YOURSELF THE ACSM file because remember, ACSM file is not the book file, but your license to download the book file.
Using ePub books with Kindle:
Here is the bad news. Kindle does not accept or work with secure ePub files or ePubs that you buy at etailers like eHarlequin. So what can a Kindle lover do? If she feels comfortable doing this, she can download Calibre and then do a google search for a calibre plugin for epub files. This plugin will strip the DRM. You can then use Calibre to convert the ePub book to Mobi and then sideload the converted book onto your Kindle. The beauty of the plugin is that you don’t need to follow these complicated instructions. Instead, simply install the plugin.
There is some question about the legality of stripping the DRM. In some countries, it is not allowed. Recently, in the US, the Library of Congress has indicated that DRM stripping of ebooks can be an exception to the copyright laws under certain circumstances. Each reader has to make the decision for herself whether this is appropriate.