Thing 15 : Adobe ID

We are pleased to have Mr Perseus Rex M. Molina (PH) from De La Salle University to share his insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

With the provision of electronic resources becoming the norm for libraries, it has been interesting to note the various ways institutions have implemented the transition from print to digital, especially in the subject of electronic books or ebooks. Some ebooks are free and can be accessed and downloaded by unlimited simultaneous users. These includes many works, especially the classics, that fall under the public domain either because they were not copyrighted or their copyrights have expired. But libraries also offer ebooks which have a conventional access model similar to printed books, in that they are restricted to a number of copies and other users cannot “borrow” an ebook if it is currently “out on loan” with a user. They are able to do this via Digital Rights Management or DRM.

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DRM is a technology which controls the use and distribution of electronic files for the protection of intellectual properties. Personally, I am not a fan of this technology, but until the industry adopts an alternative way of properly compensating content creators without limiting their digital content’s supply so that there will be demand, DRM is here to stay. For ebooks, the most popular DRM is Adobe’s copy-protection of PDF and ePUB files, and it has become an industry standard across various booksellers and libraries. The Adobe-provided software to view these “Adobe ebooks” is Adobe Digital Editions, and for us to transfer the DRM-protected ebooks into different devices, we will need an Adobe ID.


Adobe eBook

Commonly refers to an ebook copy-protected by Adobe DRM. It can either be in PDF or ePUB (electronic publication) format. The ePUB format is more user-friendly for reading from smaller devices because, unlike PDFs, it is reflowable and the font and font size can be more easily changed to suit the reader’s needs.
Depending on the nature of subscription, an Adobe ebook may only be available to one user at a time or it can be accessed simultaneously by many users. But an Adobe ebook has a “loan duration”, meaning it will automatically expire after a set period of time, depending on the library or vendor’s settings. The good news here is that forgetting to return an ebook and incurring overdue fines cannot happen here!

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You can, however, still return an ebook early if you are through with it by right-clicking the ebook in your Adobe Digital Editions library and selecting “Return Borrowed Item”. That will give other users the opportunity to download and use it if the ebook is not offered in an unlimited simultaneous user basis.

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Adobe ID

An Adobe ID is used to authorize software and apps to read ebooks that a certain user is permitted to access. Naturally, if you want to maximize the Adobe ebooks’ portability and make them available across all your compatible devices, the same Adobe ID must be configured for all devices.

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An Adobe account by the way is not only limited to accessing ebooks. With it you can also download free trials, buy products, manage orders, and access online services such as Adobe® Creative Cloud™ and You can also participate in the thriving Adobe online community.

Bluefire Reader

Bluefire Reader is a free third party app that can read Adobe books after authorizing it with an Adobe ID. It can be installed in both iOS– or Android-powered devices.

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Overdrive is an international provider of technology for managing and distributing digital content for lending libraries, offering them packages from its hundreds of thousands of available e-books, audio books, educational materials and streaming video in its collection. Overdrive even has clients in the Philippines and Singapore, most notably, the Singapore National Library and Ateneo de Manila High School Educational Media Center.

Other library sources of Adobe eBooks

Vendors that supply Adobe eBooks also include ebrary and EBSCOHost, and many others. The availability of DRM and DRM-free ebooks in your library depends of course on your library’s subscriptions and collections.



  1. Download and install Adobe Digital Editions for your Macintosh or Windows computer
  2. Create an Adobe ID. (For those who already use other Adobe software like Photoshop, you may have an Adobe ID already. For problems signing in, see the Adobe Help Page.)
  3. Once you have your Adobe ID, you can now use it in Adobe Digital Editions by clicking Help in the menu, select “Authorize Computer” and signing in with your credentials.
  4. Once we have authorized our installation of Adobe Digital Editions, now we can search for ebooks! For the purpose of this lesson, I will browse one of De La Salle University’s subscriptions: its EBSCOhost ebook collection  [Your own library may have an ebook collection of its own. If not, there are many ebook resources found at the Explore tab.]
  5. EBSCOhost will ask the user to sign in to a MyEBSCOhost personal account before he/she can download an ebook.
  6. After signing in to My EBSCOhost, the user may now select the checkout period and download the .ACSM file. Once the download is over, Open the file with Adobe Digital Editions program to finish downloading and opening the ebook.
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  7. Now, to read ebooks from your phone or tablet, install Bluefire Reader in your iOS– or Android-powered device.
  8. You can read a good demonstration on using Bluefire Reader on Slideshare.
  9. If the instructions did not work for you, place the .acsm file in the imports folder and follow the steps indicated by the app under the “Info” tab.
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  10. Happy reading! Be sure to share with us your screencaps on the ebooks you are reading using Bluefire Reader or Adobe Digital Editions.

Thinking Points

  • What value does an Adobe ID add to our practice of librarianship? How can we help our library users to be savvy enough to read ebooks from more than one device?
  • What are its uses in our day to day tasks? How can we make use of it in our projects?
  • What are your library users’ attitudes towards ebooks from your libraries? Do they make comparisons about ease of use or access against other ebook sources like Google Books, Kindle Books or iTunes?
  • Adobe Digital Editions can be used in conjunction with screen-reading software like JAWS, NVDA or Window-Eyes on Windows and VoiceOver on Mac. How can we help people with visual disabilities take advantage of this technology?

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 15
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 15

Thing 15’s Guest Blogger

Perseus Rex M. Molina Perseus Rex M. Molina is the Asst. Director of Support Services for the DLSU Libraries. He enjoys fielding questions directed to LORA and maintains the Library Newsette blog and the Libraries’ other social media accounts, along with several library databases. An advocate of open-source integrated library systems like NewGenLib, his interests include widgets, cloud computing, and low-cost productivity solutions for libraries. He is a graduate from the University of the Philippines.

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