Library DRM and Devices

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This page was split out from EBook Lending Libraries to provide better access and clarification. It covers DRM use by Libraries and how to make it work with your eBook device.


[edit] Types of DRM used by libraries

Formats include:

  • PDF - most widely used and compatible with the most devices, uses Adobe DRM.
  • ePUB - The recently added ePUB in some libraries also uses Adobe DRM protection, so the choices are similar, but only a subset of the PDF choices.
  • MOBI (some mobi files use a .PRC extension) - In 2007, Amazon replaced MOBI in US libraries with AZW.

Types of DRM used by specific library lending systems include:

  • Libraries using Freading only offer PDF and ePub.
  • Libraries using Overdrive are using DRM in one of three formats, PDF, ePUB, or MOBI (some mobi files use a .PRC extension). This limits the devices that are able to take advantage of the library offerings. The recently added ePUB in some libraries also uses Adobe protection, so the choices are similar, but only a subset of the PDF choices. In 2007, Amazon replaced MOBI in US libraries with AZW.
  • Libraries using Bibliotheca‏‎ use ePub

[edit] Mechanics of Library checkout

Libraries that use Adobe DRM usually use Overdrive software on their web site. When you go to the web site and check out a book it is a multi-step process.

  1. Generally you log into the Library web site using a web browser or special reading app with browser support.
  2. Your Adobe account is checked and the device is checked.
  3. A file with a .acsm extension is downloaded to the device with the validation data.
  4. This in turn kicks off a download of the checked out file.
  5. The downloaded file is read using the application.
  6. The DRM is time limited and will expire. After the expiration the file will no longer be able to be read in the application.
  7. You need to erase the file to reclaim the storage space.

For some devices and most applications (apps) the acsm file download to eBook download is automatic. When the initial acsm is downloaded via the browser it is recognized by its file type and sent to the reader to then download the eBook. Other Devices will need you to download the file first to a copy of ADE on your PC and then move the file to your device.

[edit] Devices known to work with library DRM

  • Adobe Digital Editions, all mobile instances except the Kindle DX version support library checkout, including the Hanlin V3, the Hanlin V5, and the Netronix clones.
  • Amazon Kindle can read AZW and books in MOBI format, but only after converting the latter using the Amazon Kindle Hack from igorsk. Be sure you check that the PID is recognized by the Library DRM system. If the PID works then the eBooks can be checked out. Unfortunately the conversion cannot be done on the fly by a Kindle eBook Reader. Please see the Visual Kindle Guide for instructions on how to use the PID hack.
  • Bookeen Cybook Gen3 can read MOBI format
  • Hanlin V3 and its clones can checkout and read library eBooks in MOBI but not AZW format, by running a special program to set the date and clock. For more details follow the link.
  • iRex iLiad can read mobi format
  • PRS505 and the PRS700 from Sony can read PDF files and ePub files checked out from Libraries, but only one format at a time. Sony suggests that for models PRS500, PRS505, PRS700, Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition, you may not check out a combination of ePub and PDF formats for your Reader, and that you check out one file format at a time. For Reader Daily Edition, you may check out any combination of file formats as permitted by your local library. (Source)

[edit] Devices that automatically deal with ACSM

Many of the devices mentioned above need you to download the library book on a PC or Mac and then copy the file to your device. The list below are devices that can download the library book directly to the device.

  • All Android based devices that support user download apps can use the Android apps to direct download a library eBook.
  • Sony devices have direct download
  • Tolino epos and all Tolino devices can use the supplied app to download Library eBooks.
  • PocketBook devices
  • Kobo Forma 8"

[edit] Applications known to work with library DRM

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