Digital rights management (DRM) is a form of digital security that is embedded within most digital content to protect copyrighted media. It is a mechanism applied by publishers that includes restrictions on borrowing time, the amount of copying and printing of pages permitted, and the number of users who can access the material simultaneously.

Adobe Digital Editions is the standard software that allows you to access and download ebooks (in ePub and PDF formats) that have DRM. Carleton University Library has several ebook collections that require an Adobe ID and Adobe Digital Editions software to borrow and download ebooks, including:

Note: Before downloading an ebook, it is recommended to complete the following setup process, to avoid download complications.

Setting up your Adobe ID and Adobe Digital Editions

Download and install Adobe Digital Editions here. If you are accessing ebooks through Scholars Portal Books, version 3 of the software is recommended. (Other versions will work also)

Click here to set up your free Adobe ID account. This ID and login are limited for use on six (6) personal devices.

Note: Record all login information for future use.

Check for the installer file which maybe on your Desktop or default Downloads folder. You are looking for a file called ADE_3.0_Installer.exe or the equivalent of the version downloaded.

Double click the file, following the prompts in the Install Wizard/Setup Assistant.

Note: It's recommended to follow the default install settings during the setup.

Open Adobe Digital Editions

  (more recent version of Adobe Digital editions)

Locate the Adobe Digital Editions icon - check the Desktop, the Start Menu or default Downloads folder.

Authorize your device(s) with Adobe Digital Editions and Adobe ID

To read ebooks on a device (or multiple devices), you will need to authorize each of them using your Adobe ID. (If you haven't yet set up an Adobe ID, you will be prompted to do so)

Enter the Adobe ID and password that you have registered (and made note of) and click "Authorize" to authorize your personal device. You are now set up to borrow ebooks.

Downloading ebooks and reading with Adobe Digital Editions

To access and download ebooks, search, for example, Omni or check the Databases: EBook Collections page.

From there, select a database and browse a selection of titles we have access to.

Note: We may not have access to all e-resource material within a given database. Most database subscriptions vary over time, with new titles being added or others removed from the collection.

Most databases include their own online reader that enables users to read ebooks within the browser screen. Ebooks that are issued as EPUB files, also offer a better reading experience, making it easier to resize text on various screen sizes (including mobile devices) However, Adobe Digital Editions is recommended by database providers for Desktop/PC devices. (The equivalent, Bluefire Reader is recommended for mobile devices)

In order to borrow (or download) an entire book for a longer period of time, many ebook databases require additional logins. These are personal accounts set up on their platforms, and may provide additional features such as, placing a "Hold" on an item, highlighting text, sharing references etc.

Note: These personal accounts (logins) are used along with your MyCarletonOne. It is best to set these up in advance, again, making note of all login credentials.

When you select an ebook to download, follow the prompts. Once the download is complete, it should automatically detect Adobe Digital Editions and the cover of the title should appear within the main Library screen of the software (providing everything has been registered and authorized correctly)

If the ebook does not open automatically, you may notice an acsm* file pop up on your screen. It will prompt you to choose a program: select Adobe Digital Editions and click OK.

The following screen shots provide an example of the .acsm file prompting for a reader program to be selected to open the ebook file.

Note: * ACSM stands for Adobe Content Server Manager. A file ending with this extension, is not the actual ebook file, but a license file that manages the download of the ebook. It is compatible with Adobe Digital Editions and the equivalent software, Bluefire Reader.

Since ebook files can vary in size, some download times may take longer to complete.

Once the download is complete, the ebook will appear in the Library screen of Adobe Digital Editions. The book cover provides information on the remaining loan period status of the borrowed item. When the borrowing period is over, the title will no longer be available for reading on your device. You also have the option to return the title before the loan period has ended.

To read the ebook, click the book cover of the selected title to open.

Details on printing and copying permissions of ebooks

Each ebook will provide details, including permissions related to printing and copying allowances. These allowances have been predetermined by the publisher.

To find this information, right-click on the selected ebook cover, then click Item Info. You will find the total amount of pages permitted for printing and copying within a 24 hr period (from when the ebook was first borrowed/accessed)

Please note: If the printing and copying amount exceeds the daily allowance, or, if the entire ebook is copied over several days, this is considered to be a copyright violation.

Removing expired ebook loans

To delete expired ebook covers within the Library screen, right-click on the cover and choose Remove from Library. The .acsm file associated with the expired ebook, although no longer active, remains on your device until you manually delete it. (It is not necessary to remove these files as they are no longer active)

Return an ebook before the expiry date

You may want to return an ebook before the borrowing period ends. Right-click on the selected ebook cover, them click "Return Borrowed Item". This releases the ebook loan from your account, so it is now available for other patrons to borrow.

Further details on using the Adobe Digital Editions app, can be found by reading "Getting Started with Adobe Digital Editions" which is included within the app Library screen.


Why do I have to authorize my device?

This is to ensure that you are the individual borrowing the ebooks and the user of the devices with Adobe Digital Editions installed. The Adobe ID is used to verify this information. Any ebooks that you borrow will be associated with that single Adobe ID account whether you use it on one device or up to six in total.

How long is my borrowing time ?

It varies. Usually it is the publisher who determines borrowing times. When you download the ebook, you will be provided with the return date. Within Adobe Digital Editions, click File > Item Info to see the due back date and other restrictions in copying and printing. You do have the option to return the ebook before the borrowing date expires. Right-click on the ebook cover and choose Return Borrowed Item.

I already have an Adobe ID and password set up. What if i have forgotten my password?

You can easily reset your password by clicking on the following link. It is highly recommended to make note of all logins and passwords for future use.

Do I have to be connected to the Internet to read e-books?

Not necessarily. If you have downloaded the ebook to your Desktop (using Adobe Digital Editions or, to your mobile device using Bluefire app) you can access the ebook without internet access.

Can I use a computer in the library to download Adobe Digital Editions?

Unfortunately, no. Since Adobe has set limitations on the number of devices (six in total) that can be authorized with a single Adobe ID login, you must use your own PC or mobile device(s)

Will Adobe Digital Editions run on my mobile/tablet device?

Yes, however the free Bluefire Reader app is recommended for iOS and Android devices to read ebooks. It is an equivalent DRM compatible software (app) that accepts the Adobe ID login to authorize device(s). Check your devices app store or the FAQ at

Note: EBSCO eBooks™ can also be accessed on iOS and Android devices using the EBSCO Mobile App.

For a complete list of Adobe Digital Editions compatible visit

For further information, please check Adobe Digital Editions, FAQ and Help page. Please check their Learn and Support page as needed.

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