Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Adobe drm, epub, Android, Aldiko, ebook lending libraries, how to

How to download and read adobe epub books including library books using Aldiko reader on your Android phone.

In a previous post I described how I have become an e-book convert and my reader of choice is Aldiko on my Android phone. One of the big advantages of Aldiko is its support for Adobe drm epub which seems to offer a wider choice than Amazon's kindle format and is also the format supported by many e-book lending libraries. Sadly using Aldiko with Adobe drm is not as easy as Amazon's one click purchase and download. In my last post I described a complicated process involving downloading the book on the PC first. Unfortunately this process let me down when I tried to borrow an ebook from my library because library books seem to have an even more restrictive form of Adobe drm which restricts reading to the device the book is downloaded to. Happily I have now discovered that you can download Adobe epub books directly into Aldiko from any website. Here is how:

I use Aldiko Premium on my phone so this may or may not work with the free version.

If the book you want has adobe drm first make sure you have created an adobe account and are logged into it. Bookshelf - menu button - settings - Adobe drm.

Now we need to add the website of your library or online book store to Aldiko: Bookshelf - Home button (top left)- My catalogues - "+" (top right) - Enter a
title of your choice for this entry - enter the URL (web address leaving out the http://) e.g www.waterstones.com

You should find yourself in a simple web browser viewing the home page of your library or online book store. You will probably have to log into an account in order to download books. Navigate to your list of ebooks and press the download link for the title of your choice.

If all goes well as long as you do the download from within Aldiko it should automatically add the book to your bookshelf. As an added bonus the library/book store you used should be there for future use as a new catalogue accessible from the home screen.

Note: Most ebook stores and libraries separate the process of adding the book to your account from the process of downloading it. You probably have to go through a basket and checkout process to add the book to your store account before you can download it. I wonder if this is because of Amazon's infamous one click patent. In any case it means you are not constrained to using the crude Aldiko browser to buy books and add them to your store account, you can use any browser you want. You do have to use Aldiko to do the actual download though once the book is acquired.

Note: Many book stores and libraries have a mobile view which may or may not simplify the process of browsing on your mobile device. My local library's mobile view is quite useful. Waterstone's mobile view is very poor and does not seem to support ebooks in any form. There is usually a link at the bottom of the page to turn mobile view on and off. Try both to see which works best for you.

Note: My public library (and others as far as I know) recommend the Overdrive media browser for reading e-books. Overdrive is a nice app that makes it very easy to browse libraries and download and play audio books and ebooks from libraries. Unfortunately the epub reader in Overdrive is painfully slow on my phone. It takes 3 seconds or more to turn a page which doesn't sound like much but really breaks up the flow of reading. Aldiko is just slicker and faster.

Note: Life is never simple and I encountered another difficulty with accessing my public library from within Aldiko: It hung at the login screen. Here is a fix that works for me: Run Aldiko and access my library from the catalogue menu. Try to log in and the screen goes blank. Open the normal android browser which can be accessed quickly from the menu of the Aldiko browser. Login with the normal browser (note I get a security cert error which is probably the reason this is causing problems but the normal browser allows me to accept it anyway). Now return to Aldiko by holding the home key until you get a list of open apps and go to Aldiko. Aldiko is still looking at a blank screen but if you go back two pages (using the menu back button) you will find you are logged in and can download books.

Note: This post sure has a lot of notes. If you are interested in ebook reading check out this great wiki: http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Main_Page Of particular interest is their long list of lending libraries which loan out ebooks.


Christian said...

Thanks for this post. Really helpfull to me since I was looking for a way to open DRM-books on my Android device.

Great stuff!

mbp said...

Glad to hear it was helpful Christian.

I still haven't sorted out the hiccup with using the Aldiko browser to access my local library. I am pretty sure it is a security cert issue though. I did a bit of searching and it appears that this is a known Android issues at present. hopefully it will be sorted out in new release. At least there is a work around.

Cheryl said...

Thanks so much for your info! I had been having trouble getting the ascm file from my library, so your hint of adding the library to the catalogue worked like a charm!

mbp said...

Delighted that you found it useful Cheryl. I still think the process is more complicated than it should be but hopefully that will be sorted out sooner or later.

MaxShelf said...

Thanks for the post; yes, very helpful. I got so far as opening my account from library in Aldiko app on my Samsung 10.1 - but when downloading it does a force crash . . and no result.
Any ideas?
How can I overcome this hurdle?
Yes, I'm going through my local library Overdrive service. Yes, I'm logged in - to both the library account and Adobe.
Frustrating. : )

mbp said...

Hello @MaxShelf I haven't used Aldiko in a while but I just tried it myself and I got the same error when trying to download a book from my local library - a force crash half way through downloading. I am afraid I don't know how to get around this.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

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