Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Downloading and opening EBSCO e-books on a Google Nexus tablet

Wow, it's been ages since I last posted here. My minute or two of fame (it didn't even count as 15 minutes) scared me off for a while, but I decided to briefly resurrect this blog to post some instructions I just wrote up. They may turn out to be helpful to other people, or they may be helpful to my own library if we ever decide to start pushing the downloadability aspect of our e-books.

So, last night I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep for a few hours. Since my brain wouldn't shut up, I decided to put it to use on a problem I had been wondering about for a while: how to get my library's EBSCO e-books to work on my tablet.

I already knew that some of them, at least, were downloadable. I had previously managed to check one out, download it onto my work computer, and open it using Adobe Digital Editions. So I knew downloading one and opening it on my tablet should be doable.

Well, it took an hour, but I figured out how to do it. These are very brief instructions: no screenshots and, in most cases, no descriptions of exactly where you need to click. The tablet I used was a Google Nexus 10. I have no idea how these instructions would need to be modified for anything else, but I'm fairly certain iPads would need to use different software than what I'll be listing.

What you need:
  • Adobe Digital Editions username and password
  • EBSCO username and password
  • Opera (a browser)
  • Bluefire Reader (a Secure Adobe PDF reader)
Get your Adobe Digital Editions and EBSCO usernames and passwords before you do anything else.

Opera and Bluefire Reader are both free and can be downloaded via the Google Play store. After installing Bluefire Reader, start it up and authorize it with your Adobe Digital Editions username and password.

Open Opera and select an EBSCO e-book. Check it out – you'll need to log in with your EBSCO username and password in order to do this. Download it. It will seem as though nothing has happened. In the top left corner of the tablet, it should say that a new download has completed – I think the file extension is .ACSM. Click on that notification. It will ask how you want to open it. Select Bluefire Reader. Bluefire should instantly authorize the file via Adobe Digital Editions and then allow you to open the book.

Some notes:

In theory, you should be able to use any browser you want and any e-book reading app capable of reading Secure Adobe PDFs. In practice, that doesn't seem to work. I originally tried downloading a couple books using Chrome and opening them in my preferred Secure Adobe reader, Mantano, and I kept running into walls.

I still can't get Mantano to properly open those e-books, even after having opened them in Bluefire Reader and knowing it should be possible. Since I've used Mantano to open Overdrive Secure Adobe files, I have to assume that this is some quirk of EBSCO's. Bluefire Reader was the app EBSCO specifically recommended after I checked out an e-book.

As far as Opera goes, I tried that after coming across this website (thank you Pasco-Hernando State College Library!), which mentions that Chrome and Android don't seem to play well together where EBSCO e-books are concerned and recommends that Opera be used instead.

ETA: When I tried to use Chrome to download the e-books, Bluefire Reader kept telling me that I had "no tokens" and couldn't open the book.