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How to authorize Adobe Digital Editions on a computer

Whenever you use a new computer for eBooks from an OverDrive-powered site, you will be prompted to ‘Authorize’ Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). To enjoy eBooks on additional computers or devices, be sure to authorize each one with the same Adobe ID. You may authorize up to 6 devices.

Note: These instructions are for ADE 2.0. Please make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version before continuing.

What you need

  • Adobe Digital Editions installed on your Windows or Mac computer

Authorize your computer

  1. If you aren’t prompted to authorize ADE the first time you open it, you can go to Help > Authorize Computer (if you have not already authorized).

    Screenshot showing the Help menu with authorize computer selected.

  2. If you have an Adobe ID, enter it along with your password.

    Screenshot showing the authorization window for ADE

  3. If you do not have an Adobe ID, click Create an Adobe ID to make one on Adobe’s website.
    Once you’re done, return to the ‘Adobe Digital Editions’ dialog box and enter your Adobe ID and password.
  4. Click Authorize. Your computer is now authorized with your Adobe ID.

New version of Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe has officially released Digital Editions 2.0, which comes with several improvements and changes.

  • The interface has been completely redesigned to be screen-reader friendly.
  • The software now presents ebooks as a simple tile or list item. The hover-over context menus are gone. To bring up a context menu, right-click on a cover image.
  • Activating compatible ebook readers has improved significantly. Simply plug in an ebook reader, open Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), then drag a library title over to the device. The software automatically registers and authorizes your device with your computer’s Adobe ID.
  • Adobe has updated the the way the software installs.

This is brand-new software, so there may be a few bugs. There’s one inconsistency that you should be aware of: Loan period banners are not always accurate. For example, a brand-new three-week loan may show up as a two-week loan. Loans still expire at the appropriate time. It’s just the banner that is off. OverDrive has notified Adobe of the issue.


This post is about how to solve the error: “Error getting license. License server communication problem: E_LIC_ALREADY_FULFILLED_BY_ANOTHER_USER”.

Reason For This Error

This error is related to Adobe’s DRM (digital rights management) for ebooks. If you’re getting this error, it means that your copy of Adobe Digital Editions has not been authorized with the correct Adobe ID.

This can happen a few different ways:

  • You originally downloaded the ebook on a different computer, and the computer you’re using now is authorized with a different Adobe ID or isn’t authorized at all.
  • You got the ebook illegally, either from a friend who emailed it to you, or through an illegal download.
  • You bought the book legally but have screwed up your authorizations through some other manner, like trying to use two different Adobe IDs.

What Is “Authorization” and “Adobe ID”?

Adobe’s DRM works by associating each ebook with your Adobe ID. The “Adobe ID” is simply a free account that you set up with Adobe. If you’ve ever used their forums or downloaded any of their software you probably already have one. You can sign up for an Adobe ID here.

If you’re going to be using ebooks that are protected with this DRM, you should first authorize Adobe Digital Editions with your Adobe ID. That will associate the ebook with your Adobe ID, and allow you to put the ebook on another computer or device later on. If you associate each computer/device with the same Adobe ID, you can then use that ebook on all of those devices.

If Adobe Digital Editions has been authorized with a different Adobe ID than the one which the ebook has been associated, then it won’t open on that computer or device.

How To Fix This Error

If you’re getting an error message that indicates that the licensing for the ebook is causing a problem, that means that you have authorized Adobe Digital Editions (or an app on your device) with the wrong Adobe ID. The only way to solve this is to authorize it with the correct Adobe ID.

How do you know what the correct Adobe ID is? Well, the best way to be certain is to only ever use one Adobe ID. That way, you won’t mix them up. If you’ve forgotten your username or password, use Adobe’s website to find them. If you’ve downloaded the ebook illegally, there is no way to know which Adobe ID is the correct one since the ebook came from some unknown person.

Once you’ve remembered which Adobe ID you’re supposed to be using, you need to de-authorize Adobe Digital Editions and then authorize with the correct Adobe ID.

How To De-Authorize Adobe Digital Editions

1. Open Adobe Digital Editions

2. On your keyboard, simultaneously press the Ctrl, Shift, and D buttons (if on Windows) or the Cmd, Shift, and D buttons (if on a Mac)

3. Click the “Deauthorize” button

How to Authorize Adobe Digital Editions

1. Open Adobe Digital Editions

2. Adobe Digital Editions will behave as if you’ve just installed it, and will prompt you to enter your login information for your Adobe ID. Use the Adobe ID account information that you want to use to authorize Adobe Digital Editions.

Having trouble opening a downloaded .acsm file?

Sometimes .acsm files get associated with the wrong file type. To get around this, try these steps:

1. Open Adobe Digital Editions

2. Make the Adobe Digital Editions window only part of your screen

3. Find the .acsm file you want to open

4. Drag it onto the open Adobe Digital Editions window

5. Voila! That should open the .acsm file in Adobe Digital Editions

How Adobe Digital Editions ruined my digital reading experience

I’ll be honest with you, I am not a fan of reading books digitally, to me it doesn’t replace reading real books with real paper that has its own scent with each page flip.

Yet I have formed this habit of buying digital books that “might” be interesting rather than wasting a space on my shelf, if it turns out to be an awesome book I will continue reading it on my iPad, Nexus, or Even my MAC since its just a PDF file which I can carry with me everywhere… A very simple user experience, unbelievably effective, I can even bookmark pages with iBook.

To cut the story short, I was interested in one of the books provided by Wiley but i wasn’t sure if the book was good enough to get a printed version so I decided to get the digital edition, checked out and downloaded the file.

At the beginning I thought “what the heck is this file (I sort of expected a PDF)” instead I got an ACSM file, I went back to the email they’ve sent, I tried looking for instructions, I’ve even downloaded the file again to see if I missed any useful instructions on how to read the damn book, turned out I needed something called Adobe Digital Editions (thank you Google & this forum post) which I have installed & i am gonna tell you why I hate this experience:

  1. Its not a PDF
  2. I had to install an application
  3. I had to register to be able to use the application ( I had problems getting registered )
  4. I had to import the file & download the ebook
  5. The viewport was awful & alot of content to read in a single slide, 3 – 4 pages
  6. The application is awfully slow
  7. A super lag that will help ya skip chapters without realising it

Adobe digital editions step by step

  • 1. Step OneGo to http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/ There is also a link under “Required Software” atfresno.lib.overdrive.com
  • 2. Step Two Click “Launch” to begin installing Adobe Digital Editions (ADE)
  • 3. Step Three A message will appear to make sure you want to install the application – click “Install” to begin
  • 4. Step Four Click “Yes” to begin the download and install ADE
  • 5. Step Five Select the elements you want to install, then click “Next”
  • 6. Step Six Click “Install” to install the program to your hard drive
  • 7. Step Seven Click “Close” to finish the installation process
  • 8. Step Eight Click “I Agree” to accept the Terms of Use and launch ADE
  • 9. Step NineClick “Continue” to start the Setup Assistant
  • 10. Step Ten Select get an Adobe ID onlineYou need an active email address to complete the Adobe ID process.
  • 11. Step Select “Create an …” and complete the form (tip:Account” complete red asterisks items only to save time)
  • 12. Step Return to Adobe Digital Editions to activate with your new Adobe ID and password.
  • 13. Step ThirteenClick “Finished” and you’re ready to useAdobe Digital Editions!
  • 14. YOU DID IT! Open Adobe Digital EditionsThe main screen will display – the menu on the left willshow your books once you download them.

ADE: Should I activate Adobe Digital Editions anonymously or with an Adobe ID?

Activating Adobe Digital Editions using an Adobe ID allows you to do more with Adobe eBooks, such as downloading them on multiple computers and transferring them to supported portable devices. However, this is a matter of personal preference. Before deciding, please consider the following…

If you use anonymous activation, note these limitations…

  • You will only be able to read a downloaded Adobe eBook on a single computer.
  • You will not be able to download an Adobe eBook on more than one computer. After the initial download of an Adobe eBook, subsequent downloads of that title can only be completed on the same computer.
  • You will not be able to transfer Adobe eBooks to supported eBook devices.
  • You can decide to activate using an Adobe ID at any time. However, if you activate Adobe Digital Editions with an Adobe ID which has already been used to activate Adobe Digital Editions on another computer, the Adobe eBooks you originally downloaded when using anonymous activation will no longer work.

If you use an Adobe ID…

  • You will be able to download an Adobe eBook on computers that have been activated with the same Adobe ID (up to 6 computers/devices can be activated using the same Adobe ID).
  • After the initial download of an Adobe eBook, subsequent downloads of that title can be completed on computers activated with the same Adobe ID.
  • You will be able to transfer Adobe eBooks to supported eBook devices activated with the same Adobe ID.