Downloading ebooks with Adobe Digital Editions

Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Digital rights management (DRM) is an approach to copyright protection for digital media that can include publisher restrictions on borrowing time, copying and printing of ebooks.

Adobe Digital Editions is software that allows you to access ebooks that have DRM. Carleton University Library has several ebook collections that require an Adobe ID and Adobe Digital Editions including:

1. Setting up your Adobe ID and Adobe Digital Editions

Download and install the recommended version of Adobe Digital Editions here.

Go to to set up your Adobe ID, which is a free personal account.  This ID and login are limited to use on six (6) personal devices.  

Note: Keep this account information for your future use.

download button screenshot

  • Check for the installer file which may run automatically. If not, it may be on your Desktop or default Downloads folder. You are looking for a file called ADE_3.0_Installer.exe. Double click the file to run it and follow the prompts in the Install Wizard/Setup Assistant. Note: follow the default settings during the setup that your computer suggests.

2. Authorize Adobe Digital Editions with an Adobe ID

To read ebooks on multiple devices, you will need to authorize your Adobe ID with any device you are using. (If you haven't set up an Adobe ID at this stage, you still have the opportunity to do so)

3. Open Adobe Digital Editions

You might find the icon on the desktop, in your Start Menu or default Downloads folder. Enter your Adobe ID and password—you are now set up to retrieve ebooks.

When you access an ebook through the catalogue, it should automatically open within the Adobe Digital Editions screen. If not, the ebook file (acsm file) will prompt you to choose a program: select Adobe Digital Editions and click OK.

The title will start to download within the Library screen of Adobe Digital Editions

Your title will appear in the main Library screen and is now available to read.


How long is my borrowing time?

Each publisher has various 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 earlier than the “due back date”. Right click on item and choose: “Return Borrowed Item.”

Do I have to be connected to the Internet to read e-books?
Not necessarily. If you have downloaded the ebook to ADE or to your mobile device (using BlueFire app) you can access the e-book without internet.

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

No, you must use your own PC or mobile device.

Will Adobe Digital Editions run on my tablet device?

Yes, however the free BlueFire Reader app is recommended for IOS and Android devices to read ebooks as it also accepts the Adobe ID login to authorize the device. Check your devices app store or the FAQ at

For a complete list of Adobe Digital Editions compatible visit

For further information, please check Adobe Digital Editions, FAQ and Help page.

Content last updated: March 6, 2020