adobe.pngAccording to Martin Hoscik, in an article in eBook Magazine, he has had an awful time with tech support for Adobe Digital Editions. This is the DRM that most ebook publishers are using today.

As part of the Adobe regime you have to register your ereader with them and you are allowed up to register up to 6 devices. Well, according to the Adobe FAQ if you already have 6 devices registered you can contact Adobe customer service and increase this amount.

Except, of course, when you try to do so you are told, as Martin was, that, after 4 days of emails, that this isn’t the case, despite what the FAQ says.

Here’s the second one: he registered the new iFlow reader app for the iPad and then decided he didn’t want it. When he tried to de-authorize it from his account he was told that iFlow is not compatible with ADE and so it couldn’t be de-authorized! Of course, Adobe specifically lists iFlow as an authorized app (picture above).

Way to go Adobe!! His concluding statement:

I can see that Adobe’s main customer base – those who buy their industry level design and web development software – are computer literate power users.

However, ADE users will inevitably be drawn from a much wider range of abilities and knowledge. Baffling, contradictory responses such as those I’ve received will only act as a barrier to ebook take up.

Adobe are now the main gatekeeper of the ebook world, as such they owe it to retailers, publishers, authors and readers to ensure that when help is needed it’s provided accurately and in a way which even the least technical of users can understand.


  1. Just say “NO” to DRM. It’s that simple. If you accept corporate imposed DRM systems you have absolutely no control whatsoever over the media you purchase. People are spending top dollar on ebooks that are device locked and region locked and are not guaranteed to be accessible in the future.

    What happens when a company like Adobe decides to change the nature of their DRM or switches to a different DRM system or shuts down the DRM servers? Bigger companies than Adobe and Amazon have gone broke. So what happens if Amazon craps out in ten years and disappears or gets bought out? What happens to the millions of ebooks with proprietary DRM that people have purchased?

    Just read free ebooks. Check out the classics. Download DRM free books and send a check to the author. Do whatever seems just. But don’t just abjectly surrender to the iron-fisted regime of corporate control over media and culture.

  2. And let’s not talk about the crap of application Adobe Digital Editions is if you want to use it to read. Who was the brilliant mind to put the page numbers where the text can be placed? And they still have no intention of fixing it.
    Of course, I don’t think there’s anybody out there using it to read the ebooks in their PCs, but in e-readers you have to use it, and most publishers have learnt to place an ENORMOUS right margin so the page numbers don’t interfere with the text.

  3. I agree whole-heartedly with Hoscik’s concern, but he was wasting his time trying to “de-authorize” iFlow. The only reason to de-authorize is to allow re-authorizing with a different Adobe ID, and that doesn’t seem to have been his intent. De-authorizing does not reduce the count of the number of computers/devices you’ve authorized–Adobe only counts authorizations, not de-authorizations.

    By the way, last year Adobe said that ADE would be upgraded to read B&N’s DRMed EPUBs in 2010. They’ve got 4 days left. Think they’re gonna make it?

  4. “Just say “NO” to DRM. It’s that simple. If you accept corporate imposed DRM systems you have absolutely no control whatsoever over the media you purchase.”

    I think it’s important to realize that most users of consumer electronics categorically reject this concept. Including me, even though I consider myself anti-DRM. I like my iPad, Kindle and NookColor (yeah, too many devices, I know). I’ve only jailbroke one (NookColor so as to run the Kindle app too). I really don’t care that I “must” use DRM… I want to read, and I want to read electronically.

    One day, perhaps Kindle book authorization servers go away… say 10 years in the future or whatever. At that time, I’d likely look into DRM stripping.

    In the mean time, I live with DRM, because the alternate solution, no eBooks is far, far worse.

    Just make sure you’re in bed with people you trust. For example: Apple / iTunes as opposed to Microsoft / PlaysForSure, to see an example in music.

  5. Same experience here. Adobe convinced me of never again buying a DRM’d book when ADE refused to activate after several deactivations, always on the same machine, and their email support repeatedly answered my inquiries linking to the portion of their FAQ where it was stated that I should email the very same address I was getting that loop of an answer from in order to ask for extra activations.

    That, and the piece of crap that ADE is as a specialized software for reading and bookshelf management, makes me think Adobe is actually on an altruistic quest to make people realize DRM is evil.

  6. “In the mean time, I live with DRM, because the alternate solution, no eBooks is far, far worse. ”

    So goes the Publishing Industry’s propaganda. But consider digital music. In the early days it was expensive and plagued by DRM. Now most digital music is sold DRM-free and device independent. Competitive pressure forced music publishers to provide a more consumer friendly product.

    Ebooks are a decade behind digital music. Ebook publishers are working under two false assumptions. First, that they must, at all costs, protect print book profit margins. And second, that their customers are fundamentally dishonest and must be placed in a digital prison cell and strictly controlled.

    When you accept DRM and closed content systems you are empowering these false and destructive assumptions. Big Daddy Provider grants you a limited, coercive and restricted ability to read, at their sole discretion, the content you purchase. And you happily pay up, smile and make very sure that you follow all the rules.

  7. I have considered digital music. Like the vast majority of consumers, I bought DRM music from iTunes. Then, the store had so much power that they were able to sell non-DRM music after the store owners sweet talked and pushed the publishers into it. It wasn’t anti drm advocacy by would be music purchasers.

    The difference is, Apple used content to sell hardware. This industry’s giant uses hardware to sell content, which is understandable. Amazon is a retailer that makes hardware to further their retailing. Apple is a hardware maker that sells content to further their hardware sales. So Amazon may have less motive to free us, so to speak.

    But don’t think iPod owners broke DRM, they just were there when it went away. And don’t think the people who refused iPods had an effect, their voice was unheard.

    The competition (Walmart, Amazon MP3) all came at the very tail end, and mostly just served to slightly speed up the process / lower the cost of Apple’s 256kbps versions, replacing the old 99 cent 128kbps.

  8. Really, enough already about the DRM. In the meantime, ADE smarten up and let us deactivate in order to activate. Come on. I’m sure once Sony gets around to putting their apps out in January (is that 2011 or 20..?) I will have trouble authorizing my devices and it will take forever to have my ADE authorizations reset.
    You would think that if Adobe want us to use ADE they would make the process doable.
    Getting tired of this authorization nonsense + geo-restrictions.

  9. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE increase number of allowed activations, if you cannot FIX your program so that de-authorizing opens up a new spot? The latter should not be difficult, but apparently you are not capable of doing it.

    You are not dealing with a hoard of moronic thieves here, folks. All we want to do is READ AND KEEP THE BOOKS WE BUY!!!!! Your software has no right to ineptly control that which we have rightfully purchased! IF there were ALTERNATIVE SOFTWARE we would use it and be happy to PAY FOR IT! ADE is the most primitive piece of software trash since the early days of computers! (before PC’s!) I was a programmer back then. I know! Being unable to authorize even 6 devices (1 PC & multiple ereaders in one household) is absolutely PATHETIC! You are completely ruining the entire ereading experience!!!

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