6 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2011 10:31 PM by ithinkdreisjunk

    Getting support for the dreadful Digital Editions


      I checked out a book from my library, & returned it on the expiration date using Adobe Digital Editions (ADE).

      Then, because I wasn't done reading it, I checked it out again, (after the expiration period), and attempted to have Adobe reauthorize it.

      What happened?  ADE went into a loop for several minutes, flashing a popup so fast I couldn't read it, ultimately telling me I'm not authorized to use the book.

      Wait, I just checked it out!


      Not wanting to waste too much time on software bugs, I checked out a different book.  This time, when the library due date arrived, I let the book expire without de-authorizing it in ADE.

      I did, however, remove the book using ADE's delete book function.  Then, I went to the library.  The library crudware reported I still had the book checked out, and wouldn't let me download it.  Hunting around on my computer, I saw two 6 MB files in Adobe's Digital Editions folder:  they had the same title as the book I had previously used ADE to delete, dated when I ***first*** checked the book out from the library.  Oh, I guess ADE didn't remove the book as it reported.


      Okay, I said, "I'll buy the **!@$$ book!"  I went to Google, and I bought the book, which gives me the right to read it on my ereader.  In google, the book opened just fine--I guess Google knows how to write software--and I could sit and read the book on my computer, where I don't want to read it.  Nope, I want to read it on my Sony ereader.  That requires I use ADE.  Bummer! 


      So, I clicked the Google button to download the book.  I clicked on the book file as instructed.  Up pops a window from within the dreadful ADE:  "Document is licensed for a different user account."


      I went to Adobe's website to report a bug.  They don't seem to take bug reports on this software, or if they do, they hide it well.  Somewhere, I found a forum in which someone with similar problems told one of the 20 or so people who have previously had this problem that they should delete ADE entirely & reinstall.  I tried that.  Result?  Now, ADE doesn't do anything when I click on the book title.


      You folks at Adobe call this software?  I call it garbage.  And I know of what I speak, having 20 years of software design experience.


      If I don't have access to the book I purchased within a week, I'll also call it a small claims case, and I'll look forward to seeing you in court, where at least if I'm made to waste 3 hours there'll be someone there to respond:  a judge.

        • 1. Re: Getting support for the dreadful Digital Editions

          I have the same problem and Adobe does not have an answer and Nook says call Adobe as it is there problem.

          Meanwhile I have purchased 2 books from Fictionwise and can't download on either my PC or my Nook.

          What a waste of money.

          • 2. Re: Getting support for the dreadful Digital Editions
            Level 4

            Let's go back to the first message in this series of postings.  I think that

            there's a series of problems that looks to 'ithinkdreisjunk' as if it's bad

            ADE software.


            If you check out a book from the library, ADE - and other ebook management

            software - download it with a tag that contains information about the

            source, the time and date of the download, and an expiration time and date

            for the ebook.  If you return the ebook early, ADE may - or may not - get an

            updated response from the library that clears ths tag's information.  That's

            what seems to have happened here.  The library has to do this, so it's not

            ADE's 'problem'.  You can clear the tags manually, as you said, but you

            should be all over the library about THEIR faulty software.  I'd bet money

            that the same thing would have happened if you were using different ebook

            management software because all of them use a similar protocol for

            processing library books because they ALL have to interface with the library



            There's a trick to ebooks and SONY ereaders (I have two of them).  When you

            set them up, you have a chance to specify who will handle .epub and .ascm

            files.  The default is the SONY Reader Store, NOT ADE.  That can cause a

            problem right off the bat.  It's similar to the way Amazon links its Kindle

            ereader tightly to Amazon's ebookstore.


            If you buy an .epub version of a book from Google, you'll see that Google is

            set up to use ADE for the transfer.  However, if you're trying to download

            it to your SONY ereader, and it's set to accept those ebooks from SONY, you

            will run into a user ID problem, and that may be why you are getting a

            "...licensed to another user" message in ADE.  I can't say that definitely,

            because I'm a user, just like you.


            Getting the ereader set up properly seems to be the key to having a much

            easier time.  Here's a response to another person's problem that might be

            useful to both of you.  Although it is specific to the Nook, you can do the

            same thing with other ereaders.  Trust me on this - I know....


            1. Connect Nook to computer

            2. Go to "my computer" and open Nook drive

            3. Delete the folders ".adobe-digital-editions" and "Digital Editions"

            4. Go back to "my computer"

            5. Right click on Nook drive

            6. Click "eject" and disconnect Nook from computer

            7. Reconnect Nook to computer

            8. Open ADE

            9. Follow on screen instructions to authorize Nook

            10. If Nook was authorized properly, you will see a Nook icon on the left

            under "Bookshelves" list

            11. Drag and drop ebook to Nook device



            I hope this helps!



            • 4. Re: Getting support for the dreadful Digital Editions
              ithinkdreisjunk Level 1

              In my opinion, I encountered a series of problems that not only look like they were caused by bad ADE software, they were caused by bad ADE software.


              I did complain to my library about not being able to check out a book that had been turned in.  They pointed the finger at the provider of their library checkout software, which I had described in my post as crudware, (and I think they also mentioned problems with ADE).  But even when my library wasn't involved, Adobe's Digital Editions didn't work right, unless you call "working right" keeping me from reading on my ereader a purchased copy of an ebook.


              After hours of digging, I found the apparent source of the problem:  my password and/or account were different at Adobe and at Sony.  How could "good" ADE software impose such an obscure requirement?


              Adobe digital rights management software is supposed to work with numerous vendors and hardware platforms, no?  Requiring the passwords or the accounts be the same at Adobe and at Sony is not good software design, (especially if it's a hidden or undocumented requirement), because it requires users to know the internals of software assumptions.  If that's good software design, then it's good car design to require one to wear a matching shirt and pants before allowing one to start one's car.  Refrigerator won't work? It's because you forgot to put in matching ice cube trays.  Washing machine not running?  It's because you put a pair of mismatched socks in it!  If Adobe requires the Sony (or Barnes & Noble) account/password to match its account/password, it should not allow one to establish an account when that is not the case, or it should report that "error" clearly. 


              Bad software requires users to perform "tricks" to get the software to perform its functions correctly.  Tricks are for magicians, not product users. Engineers should think of the "tricks" they can perform--i.e., in the design phase--to make a hardware/software experience pleasant and seamless.  For example, to buy a book in a bookstore, I


                 (1) walk up to the cash register and pay for the book with cash or credit card, which authorizes me to read (and/or sell my copy of) the book. 


              In my opinion, unless and until Adobe Digital Editions can make the process of ebook buying/authorizing that pleasant and seamless, it has failed its task.  As evidence of the bad ADE software about which I complained, I point to the pages of complaints in this forum, from apparently marooned ebook owners.


              How did I ultimately "solve" the problem that didn't allow me to read the book I had purchased?  After spending hours fussing with Adobe's software, attempting to decipher its error messages, attempting to locate its documentation, (why no help pulldown, as in every other piece of Mac OSX software?), and then posting here, I gave up dealing with Adobe.  Not wanting to hassle with the small claims court suit I mentioned in my initial forum post, I contacted Google to have them rescind my purchase, which they did promptly, through a convenient link.  (How I love software that works right!)  I then contacted Sony, which spent another hour or so with me to diagnose and correct the problem, having me change my account information for Adobe and Sony, even though it certainly looked like it was Adobe digital rights management software that wouldn't let me authorize the book to my ereader.  (Thank you Sony!)


              After about 7 hours of dealing with this problem, spread over several days, I bought the book again.  In that time, I could have flown across country, bought the book, and read the book on the return flight.  Software that makes tasks harder to perform is not "good" software.

              • 5. Re: Getting support for the dreadful Digital Editions
                Level 4

                I am not trying to refute your experiences or your conclusions.  The digital

                book marketplace is young and still evolving - witness the several sets of

                software that exist to do the job, and the number of platforms that handle

                variants of electronic book software formats.  I think I can add some

                clarification, however, as to what is happening, and maybe that will be

                useful in your and similar situations.  That's all.


                Let's talk about lpublic ibrary software....  I'd rather not, but that's the

                start of the process.  As you found out, there are still bugs in it that

                cause problems downstream.  I may have been very fortunate, because I've

                checked out ebooks from libraries that use two different systems and had no

                problems either with my SONY ereaders, or my other ones.  Fingers crossed -

                because if I go to another library, I fear I'll run into these issues.  That

                makes borrowing easier - just stay put and order inter-library loans when



                ADE does not require that your user ID and password on SONY's site to be the

                same as yours on Adobe.  It does require that your SONY device is activated

                by SONY's website so that the device is seen as "registered" by Adobe (my

                word - not ADE's).  So, I'm not sure what you ran into.  The point is that

                there's a check by ADE to make sure your device has been registered and

                activated by the 'mother ship' to which it's allied.  What I think SONY did

                was to determine that there was an error in the transfer of information from

                the SONY Reader Store to your ebook reader, and fixed it....




                • 6. Re: Getting support for the dreadful Digital Editions
                  ithinkdreisjunk Level 1

                  Thank you for your comments, Frustrated in AZ.  (Do you work for Adobe?) 


                  From what I understood from Sony, ADE requires the email addresses on both the ADE & Sony accounts to be the same.   Consequently, I suggest is that if a user can't read a purchased ebook, he/she should make sure the underlying email accounts are the same for Adobe & the provider, be it Sony, Barnes & Noble, or Google.


                  I pin the problems I had on Adobe, based on how I saw their software behave--cryptic error messages, no error messages, unreadable checked out or purchased files, un-removed files that were supposed to have been removed, no Help pulldown, etc.  I thank Sony for fixing the problem that certainly appeared to me to issue from Adobe.  FrustratedInAz:  If Adobe claims to work with the library software, and the library software does not clear tags correctly (which didn't seem to be the problem), then ADE should report an error message to that effect.  That's basic software design 101.


                  I know what I'll do if I encounter this problem again, and I think it's Adobe's fault, and I feel that I don't get a satisfactory response in a minimum of time:  I'll take Adobe to small claims court, to attempt to have the problem resolved there. 


                  In the meantime, I'll also write my federal representatives & senators, suggesting they amend the copyright act to give purchasers (or licensees) of digital media the same rights as purchasers of physical media:  un-disclaimable warranties, the first-sale right to dispose of the property, etc.  There is no substantial difference between digital media and physical media, except that purchasers of digital media are too-often forced to buy licenses that limit their rights and remedies in the event of software bugs.  Water to drink must be pure enough to drink.  Software to use should be fit for use.


                  What I think would solve many of the problems I've seen here is for the publishing industry (or maybe the ebook-reading public) to create a behavioral standard that digital rights management software must meet, one that makes ebook buying and authorizing as simple as buying a physical book.  Then, a number of companies can supply standard-compliant software, removing Adobe's (or other companies's) locks on the market and the disincentives to quality that can go with market dominance.


                  Oh, and if Adobe really wants to make first-rate digital rights management software, I'd suggest it set up an 800 number to take calls of frustrated users.  There's nothing like a database of bug reports to push software developers into writing better code.