Digital Editions and Previously Authorized Computers

My work computer also doubles as my personal computer. Which is, in a word, dumb. My job includes downloading new applications and testing their potential use for the company. As you might imagine, this wrecks havoc on the registry. (For those of you that have a life outside of technology, that means weird stuff starts happening.) Then eventually the computer becomes pretty much unusable. So the only thing that can be done is to give it to the techs at work and have them re-image it (read: re-install the operating system). This has the unfortunate side-effect of wiping out all files and applications currently stored locally. This happens often enough that I’ve taken to storing just about everything in a cloud-based file storage application like Dropbox.  However, files are one thing, applications are quite another. I’ve not had my computer rebuilt since before February, which is when I got my Nook. And that’s wee bit of a problem.

I just rented the Clapton autobiography from my friendly neighborhood library and went to transfer it from Digital Editions to my Nook but it wouldn’t let me. Ok, no problem, I just have to re-authorize the Nook for use with the application. Yeah, not so much.

Digital Editions Error Message

Yippee. Ok, so, I’ll just search for the error and see how the last poor soul resolved it. The answer is as disheartening as I feared it would be. I hand the blog over to one, Jim_Lester:

You are trying to authorize a computer that you have previously activated (or that ADE thinks you have previously activated) anonymously.

You can only upgrade using a brand spanking new AdobeID, that you haven’t used before, anyplace.  Which is what the error message is saying.

If you care about keeping access to the books on currently on your computer, then those are the rules you need to follow.

If you don’t care about the books currently on your comptuer, then you deactivate (Ctrl-Shift-D) and then when you relaunch ADE it will ask for an AdobeID, and you can enter whatever one you want.

(source: )

Fortunately, I have a plethora of email addresses. So to create a new Adobe ID and authorize this computer-Nook relationship wasn’t that big a deal.

But wait, there’s more.

Once authorized I was able to move the book from my PC to my Nook, which is great, however, when I tried to read the book on my Nook I got an access denied message. OK fine, I really didn’t expect it to be that easy. So I went back to Digital Editions and hit ctrl+shift+D to de-authorize my computer. Funny thing was they don’t even give you that option in the menu. If you don’t know you have that option, they’re not going to help you.

Digital Editions Authorization Options

But wait, there’s more.

I was still getting an error. So, I removed the old copy of the rented book from my Nook and tried to re-copy the file from Digital Editions, but I got yet another access denied error. I removed the book from the digital editions library and tried to copy the file from my computer’s download folder back into my digital editions library, thinking I could start again. Yeah. No so much.

Digital Editions Another User Error

The I tried to re-download it from my library account page. You guessed it, no luck!

I de-authorized (again) and then re-authorized with the ID I started this whole mess with and, viola, I’m able to read it. But just on my laptop not my Nook. I’d like to chalk this up to technological growing pains, but there’s no technological limitation at work here. What we’ve got here is that heinous beast known as Digital Rights Management (or DRM for folks in the know). Because publishers are filled with trepidation at the sight of eBooks being so easily pirated, they’re making life tough for everyone.

The paradigm is shifting. Rules that reigned over print books no longer apply. Publishers didn’t have to worry about people photocopying each page of a library book so as to make their own copy. The amount of work involved was prohibitive. But now that eBooks can be literally copied and pasted onto your hard drive, the amount of work has been greatly reduced and therefore the threat they fear is quite real. What they don’t seem to realize is that such theft will not bring ruin to their houses. I present exhibit A, O’Reilly Media: All the books Mr. O’Reilly’s fine publishing house produces are free of DRM. So I ask you, dear publishers, is he suffering because of it?


One thought on “Digital Editions and Previously Authorized Computers

  1. Pingback: Digital Editions and Previously Authorized Computers Redux | The Bionic Librarian-To-Be

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