Reading library books on the iPad

Posted by on Feb 20, 2011 in Brian's Blog | 2 comments

Took me all day to figure this one out. I borrowed my first e-book from the public library today and opened it, a pdf document, on my iMac with a program called Adobe Digital Editions. (The library website told me I would need to download this version of the Adobe software to do this.) I pinpointed the e-book file in my Downloads folder, and Adobe Digital Editions did the rest, seamlessly and efficiently.

I then looked for a way to transfer the e-book file to my iPad, but the instructions on the library website seemed to be directed at PC, not Mac, users. They told me I should download a program called Overdrive Media Console to my computer and use that to move the e-book file from my computer to a reading device. I did download Overdrive, as recommended, but then hit an obstacle: iTunes on the Mac does not recognize Overdrive as a file sharing app that can be used for transferring documents from a desktop computer to an iPad or vice versa. Other e-reader apps, such as Goodreader and Kobo, can be used for such transfers, but they don’t support the Adobe e-book DRM control technology that has become an industry standard for public libraries.

So now I’m stuck. I have the e-book on my iMac, looks great, but I don’t really want to read it on the computer. I want to read it on my iPad. What to do? I Google for quite a while and eventually find the solution: Bluefire Reader, a free app that iTunes DOES recognize as one that can transfer documents between reading devices and personal computers. I install Bluefire on the iPad, connect the iPad to the computer, open the iPad in iTunes, click on the option box that says, “manually manage music and videos,” select Bluefire from the list of recognized file-sharing apps, click the “add” button and add the e-book file to my list of documents. I sync the two devices, click the Bluefire app on my iPad and voilá: the e-book file is on the iPad, where it looks even better than on the computer.

One thing I discover while doing all this: Only the alias of the e-book file appears in my Downloads folder on the iMac. The actual file is in the Documents folder, in a folder called “Digital Editions.” That’s the file that I have to add to the list of documents in the “apps – file sharing” section of iTunes. And there it will stay, on both my iMac and my iPad, until the lending period expires on March 12. At that point, I’m told, the e-book file will evaporate into thin air. Isn’t technology marvellous!

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Copyright 2011 Brian Brennan - Writer

2 Comments

  1. This is how TidBits put it in a newsletter posting last June: “According to (Steve) Jobs, denying support of Flash on iOS products was strictly a technical decision, based on Apple’s view that Flash is over the technological hill and thus, as Joy of Tech put it, ‘sent to the island of Apple-banished toys'”.

  2. Four comments on this post (including this one).

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