Ebrary now allows users to download ebooks to devices. Ebrary users can download up to 60 pages of a book into a permanent PDF file or an entire ebook using Adobe Digital Editions, which seems to load onto every ebook reader except the one I own (the Kindle). Ebrary has always had an ebook model similar to the ejournal model we’re all familiar with, where multiple users can access the same item just as they can with journal articles. Reading on the computer screen isn’t great, but having the searchable full text of the ebook is great. The ebook download is a bit trickier than downloading an article from ProQuest or Ebsco, though. Here’s what it’s like the first time:
1. Once you choose your ebook, click the “Download Button.”
2. In order to download a book, you have to create an Ebrary account, which you don’t need just to view the books online. I had an old one, but couldn’t remember my password.
3. Once you create the account, you have to sign in, of course. From now on, you’ll be prompted to sign in when you want to download.
4. You’re not quite done. Getting the partial ebook on PDF is easy, but to get the entire book you have to download Adobe Digital Editions. If you miss the tiny print, you won’t be able to read your book.
5. At the Adobe Digital Editions site, you have to click “Install.”
6. After you click “Install,” you get another screen, where you have to click “Install” again.
7. Adobe needs you to be really, really sure you want this and that you’re not just toying with their affections, so after clicking “Install” twice, you have to click “Yes” to actually download Digital Editions.
8. Then the setup begins.
9. And another step.
10. One more click and we’re done!
11.Well, almost. You still have to agree to the license terms that you’re almost certainly not going to read, hoping as with all software installations there isn’t something tucked away about you owing anyone the souls of your unborn children.
12. Oh, and you still have a little setting up to do.
13. It turns out you can’t download the ebook without creating accounts with both Ebrary and Adobe. So it’s time to do that.
14. Fill in all that information and “Join Adobe.” Now’s the time to start getting excited about reading that book, because there are only four steps left to go.
15. Success! Adobe Digital Editions activated.
16. Only you don’t have any books yet. So go back to the Ebrary download page and click “OK.”
17. Now you’ll get a prompt to download the ebook into Adobe Digital Editions. If you’re still going at that point, click “OK.”
18. And now we have our book. Through Adobe Digital Editions, it can be moved to various ebook readers and devices. Unfortunately, despite having accounts with both Ebrary and Adobe at this point, it doesn’t sync across computers. So if you download a book onto one computer using Adobe Digital Editions, you won’t be able to log into Adobe from another computer and access the book, which is functionality I expect at this point.
So, there you have it. How to download your Ebrary ebook for the first time, in 18 easy steps. It’s not quite as seamless a process as downloading an article from JSTOR, but Ebrary is doing the best it can with what it has. As with a lot of things, the first time is the hardest, and the download process is much smoother once you have the right accounts and software downloaded. I just wonder how many people will get through that first time.