Sunday, January 09, 2011

How to read Ebooks with Adobe DRM on Android using Aldiko

EDIT: I have discovered a new way to do this which allows you to download books directly to the phone. It also allows you to read ebooks from libraries on your phone without using Overdrive reader. For the updated instructions go here.

If you are an avid book reader reader who has an Android device then the really big news last month was that Google is adopting Adobe's content Manager DRM solution for ebooks. Even though you may have mixed views about drm I think this is very good news because with Adobe drm already being supported by Random House, Sony, WW Norton, OverDrive, Ingram Digital, Kobo, British Library, Waterstones and others the choice of digital reading material is even wider (for European readers anyway) than with the Amazon Kindle client for Android. Even better though is the fact that many public libraries already use Adobe drm to allow readers to "borrow" eBooks for a limited time. How cool is that? I haven't tried it yet but I assume that it works on some form of time limited drm. My own local library allows the eBooks to be borrowed for the same 21 day period they allow for old fashioned dead tree books.

The only problem is that native Android support is unlikely to come before version 3.0 (Honeycomb) which is little comfort to existing users who are stuck on 2.2 (Froyo) or earlier versions of Android. Never fear however because Aldiko have already upgraded their popular Android eBook reader to allow it to read Adobe drm protected ebooks. This is such a recent development that Aldiko's own website still says "Coming Soon". I can assure you however that Aldiko version 2.0 with Adobe drm support is available today. The process of using it is not very well documented however. No doubt once it is officially "released" that will change but in the meantime the following notes should be enough to get you up and going:

How to read an Adobe drm protected ebook on Android using Aldiko

1. Firstly you need Aldiko version 2.0 on your Android device. You can get this from the Android Market as the "premium" version of Aldiko which costs about €3.00. As of today the ad-supported free version of Aldiko does not seem to have been upgraded to version 2.0 yet but perhaps this will change in the future.

2. You will need to download and install Adobe Digital Editions reader to a PC. This PC will be one of only 6 devices that can read your Adobe drm protected ebooks so make sure it is a PC that you own.

3. Adobe Digital Editions will prompt you to register the PC to your Adobe account and direct you to a web page to sign up for an account if you haven't got one. Both the PC and the Android device will need to be linked to the same Adobe account for purposes of drm management. As far as I know you can only have six reading devices registered to any one account so be sure to use your own PC for this.

4. Now acquire an adobe drm protected ebook. The format you want is called "Adobe drm epub". Adobe have some free samples here: but you can get a wide choice of titles from sellers such Kobo or Waterstones (choice sadly depends on your location) or with a bit of luck your local public library. Once you buy the book you will probably be asked to download a file called "something.acsm". This is not the ebook itself but when you open the acsm file in Adobe Digital Editions the book will be automatically downloaded.

5. Once the title is downloaded to your PC, it should be available to read in your Adobe Digital Editions library. Now we need to go back to the Android device.

6. Aldiko on the Android device needs to be registered to the same Adobe account in order to read Adobe drm protected books. First run Aldiko Premium on your Android. From the bookshelf screen hit the menu button and select settings. You should see a heading for Adobe DRM which allows you to enter an Adobe account and password in order to authorise the device. NB If you cannot find the settings menu check that you are running the correct "premium" version of Aldiko. Buying the premium version doesn't delete the old free version so if you if you run the old version by accident you won't be able to find the correct settings page.

7 Now transfer the ebook to the Android device. I use Dropbox for this but if you like you can connect the Android to the PC using a USB cable and copy the file over that way. The file you want is called "name_of_book.epub" and you will probably find it on your PC in the folder: "my documents/my digital editions". You can save it where ever you like on the Android device but Aldiko recommends the folder on the sdcard called "eBooks/import".

8.Now to add the drm protected ebook to your Aldiko library: Run Aldiko Premium (again make sure you are running the correct version if you have more than one version of Aldiko installed). From the library bookshelf screen press the little house icon in the upper left hand corner. This should give you a list of library icons (Library, Store, List etc). Click the SD card icon and navigate to the folder where you saved the epub file. Click the file name and then press "Import to Alkido" when it pops up.

9. Go back to your Alkido library and enjoy your new eBook.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, there is very little info on the we about Aldiko 2.0 in terms of help/instructions.

I gave this a try, and everything seems to work fine until I try to import the book into Aldiko... get an error "could not load file". Not very specific :0(

Any thoughts? The file is a ePub book borrowed from my local library, and it works fine in ADE on my PC. Registering Aldiko to the same ADE account seemed to work fine.

mbp said...
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mbp said...

Updated comment. I have now gotten the same error and it seems that libraries use a more restrictive version of Adobe drm that only allows you to open epub books on the reader you originally downloaded them to. Most libraries recommend a reader called Overdrive which is nice for browsing books but has a poor reader. For more details on how to use Aldiko with your library check out here:

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thanks for providing this such a great and useful information here. It is really very useful for all android users who like to read ebook in their Android phone.


Unknown said...

Thanks a lot mann...

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