Guide to ebook reader devices

So you have bought your first ebook, or you are considering making your first purchase, but you are not sure how to read the actual ebook once you've got it? Look no further, we will discuss your options here.

Firstly, it doesn't matter which format your ebook is available in, you should be able to read it on the vast majority of devices available today. There are of course some exceptions which will be discussed below.

So if you are downloading in EPUB or PDF, most devices will accept both formats. But please do note that uses Adobe DRM to protect our ebook files, so the device, or the software running on the device must be compatible with Adobe DRM.

But if your device is not compatible, don't worry, even if you are unable to download the ebook in PDF or EPUB format, if the ebook is also available in our Online Reader format then as long as your device has a web browser you should be able to read your ebook online.

Also, you may have multiple devices available to you with which to read your ebook. Which is the best one to use? We will cover some advantages and disadvantages or each kind of device.

Desktops & Laptops

All desktop and laptop PCs running Windows and Macs are able to read your ebook using the free Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software. As long as your computer meets the minimum system requirements. But even if your computer is old, you can download an older version of ADE that should run on your machine. See our installation guide.

The advantages of reading on a desktop or laptop are that you get a large screen to display the book, making reading easier and more relaxed.

There is no ADE version for Linux, but some users have reported having some success running the Windows version of ADE through WINE.

There is an exception to 'all Windows PCs' being compatible. Devices running Windows RT are not compatible. This is because this version of Windows is not a full version of Windows and will not run normal Windows applications, instead it runs apps from the Microsoft app store, and there are currently no apps available that support Adobe DRM. As Windows RT was only on the Surface and Surface 2, if you have a newer Surface (Surface 3 onwards) it will be compatible as it runs a full version of Windows.

Similarly Chrome OS devices are not compatible as there is no Chrome OS app version of Adobe Digital Editions, and older Chrome OS devices cannot run Android apps (although newer ones can). So if your Chrom OS device is running Chrome OS version 53 or higher and you have access to the Google Play Store you can install our Ebook Reader app. If your Chrome OS device is older I am afraid it is not compatible.

Tablets & phones

All recent tablets and phones using the Android, iOS or BlackBerry10 operating systems (including Kindle Fire) are able to read your ebook using our free Ebook Reader app. Details for installation are here. If your device is more than a few years old and has not had an OS update in a while it may be that it is no longer compatible. To check please see our list of supported devices.

The advantage of reading on a mobile device is that you can read your ebook absolutely anywhere, you aren't only confined to a desk. Also most people already own a mobile phone or tablet so they do not need to spend extra purchasing a dedicated ebook reader device. The disadvantage is that the screen is smaller and it can be harder to read when compared to a nice big computer monitor.

Unfortunately Windows Phone devices are not compatible. There is a very old version of the Ebook Reader app available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, but we have stopped development on it and can no longer provide support for it.

Dedicated ebook reader devices

There are thousands of dedicated ebook reader devices, so it is impossible to cover them all here. The important thing to note is if your device is compatible with Adobe Digital Editions / Adobe DRM.

If your device supports it there should be a mention of "supports Adobe DRM" in it's list of supported formats. That guarantees you'll be able to download your ebook.

If your ebook reader just lists PDF and EPUB as supported formats, chances are it is not compatible with our ebooks. But you never can tell, as sometimes the manufacturers don't bother to specify. To be on the safe side, check our list of supported ebook readers. All the bigger manufacturers like Kobo, Nook and Sony Reader are supported. The exception is Kindle, which does not support Adobe DRM, but Kindle Fire devices are compatible as they have an Android based operating system. For more information on which Kindle devices are compatible click here.

The advantage of a dedicated ebook reader device is that they tend to have far better battery life than today's phones and tablets, and if you do have a mobile device you can still read your ebook on your ebook reader, leaving your mobile device free for other functionality.

With some newer devices you can download the ebook directly to the device, but with most devices you need to download the ebook to Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) on your computer, and then connect your device via a cable and transfer the ebook across to your ebook reader. For information on installing Adobe DigitalEditions on you computer click here. Just remember to authorise ADE on both your computer and your device before attempting to download or transfer the ebook. More information on that here.

Incompatible devices (summary)

Incompatible devices do not have the ability to manage the DRM technology which is used for copyrighting security.

Windows RT, Surface and Surface 2 devices
Chrome OS devices (version 53 or older)Windows Phone devices
Kindle devices (we do support Kindle Fire)
Coby Tablet

If you can't find your ebook device listed in our list of supported devices, or are unsure whether your device is compatible, or you think it is but you are experiencing difficulty, please don't hesitate to contact our support team, who will be happy to help.

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