Bluefire Reader is a eBook app for iOS which lets you read digital books in PDF and ePub formats. But what really sets Bluefire apart from every other app available for iOS is that it supports Adobe DRM. And as of today, it supports the DRM used by public libraries, which means you can download free eBooks from hundreds of public library web sites and read them on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Up until now you could only read those books on a Sony Reader or a computer.

Here’s how it works.

First, you need to find out if your library offers digital books using Adobe DRM. If the answer is yes, then you need to download the Adobe Digital Editions software for your computer and follow these steps:

  1. Install Bluefire Reader on your mobile device.
  2. Login to your library site.
  3. Follow the library’s steps do “take out” an eBook.
  4. Download the .acsm files associated with each eBook.
  5. Click on the .acsm file to download the book with Adobe Digital Editions.
  6. Locate the folder where ADE stores your eBooks (On Windows, it’s probably in My Documents\My Digital Editions).

  1. Launch iTunes.
  2. Click on your mobile device.
  3. Select the Apps Tab from the top of the screen.
  4. Scroll down until you see the File Sharing section, and click on Bluefire in the Apps area.
  5. Select “Add…” from the Bluefire Documents” section.
  6. Browse to the folder where your ADE eBooks are stored and select the book you want to move to your iOS device.

That’s it. OK, it actually sounds like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it the whole thing is quite easy.

Bear in mind, when you download a DRMed eBook from your library, it’s a lot like taking out a physical book from your library. You have to read it within three weeks or so, or renew your loan. The Adobe DRM is in place so that when your time is up, you can’t read the book anymore. Each library likely has only a limited number of licenses for each eBook, so when your license expires, someone else can take out the book.

Generally I’m not a huge fan of this kind of DRM, but in this case I’ll make an exception since I am a big fan of public libraries and the opportunity to read books for free.

Bluefire is available as a free download from the App Store.

Update: It looks like there maybe a couple of other ways to get library books onto your device with Bluefire. One reader wrote in to let us know that she downloaded the ePUB using Adobe Digital Editions and emailed herself the file. When she opened the attachment on her iPhone, she was able to import it to Bluefire.

Download Squad‘s Jay Hathaway says he was able to download an .acsm file from his library and upload it to Dropbox. When he used the Dropbux app on his phone he was able to use the “Open With” menu to open the file in Bluefire, which downloaded the eBook.

You can find more screenshots below.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing.He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

32 replies on “How to read public library eBooks with DRM on an iPhone”

  1. I was at my work computer where I don’t have iTunes – I was able to save the library book to my computer and then email the file to myself. I was able to open the email and save the file to Bluefire and it opened like a charm! Neat!

  2. Thank you very much for this info. I had a book I was supposed to read and review and it was very annoying reading it on my computer, I so wanted to download it to my Ipad and didn’t know how.. I didn’t even know that when it gets opened by Adobe it gets saved in My digital editions!!

    Thank you!!!!!

  3. I followed all of the steps successfully. However when I opened the library book in Bluefire on iphone or ipad it read “no valid license was found for this item.” Any ideas how to solve this problem?

  4. I do all the steps, but when i open the librarubook in bluefire:
    i get the message:
    no valid license was found for this item
    with books that i bought, i don’t get this message.
    anybody can help???
    thanks

  5. Emailing the file to myself worked for me to get it into Bluefire, thanks for the tip!

  6. After downloading the Bluefire app, I opened my library web site in Safari on the iPhone. I went to my account page’s bookshelf. I clicked the “download as ePub” button. It offered to open it with either of 2 apps, one of which was Bluefire. I clicked this and it worked perfectly.

  7. I followed all of the steps successfully. However when I opened the library book in Bluefire on iphone or ipad it read “no valid license was found for this item.” Any ideas how to solve this problem?

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  8. Thank you very much for this info. I had a book I was supposed to read and review and it was very annoying reading it on my computer, I so wanted to download it to my Ipad and didn’t know how.. I didn’t even know that when it gets opened by Adobe it gets saved in My digital editions!!

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    شركة ترميمات بالرياض

    شركة دهانات بالرياض

    شركة تنظيف منازل بمكة

    شركة كشف تسربات المياه
    بجدة

    مكافحة حشرات في جدة

    تنظيف خزانات مكة

    نقل اثاث بمكة

    تنظيف منازل جدة

    شركة عزل بالرياض

    شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض

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