Ebooks on your iPad!

By Jen W. RSS Tue, November 23, 2010

While iPad and iPhone users are waiting patiently for OverDrive to release the new iPad/iPhone apps, we have discovered a workaround for getting OverDrive ebooks onto an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. I've tried this out on my iPhone and my iPad and it works like a charm, but is a bit tricky for novice users.

Please keep in mind that this is a workaround and is for EXPERT users only.

A librarian in Oregon has worked out the following:

The free Bluefire Reader eBook app (for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) was recently updated to allow transfer/reading of Adobe-DRM-protected eBooks. This means that you *can* read OverDrive ebooks on your iOS device!

The app is a free download from the iTunes app store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bluefire-reader/id394275498

Once you have the app, go ahead and check out an ebook in OverDrive.  After that, you can try one of these methods to transfer the ebook to your device. I recommend only using EPUBs, not PDFs.  PDFs don't display well, especially on the smaller devices.

1)      Download ebooks into Adobe Digital Editions, then transfer the files via iTunes' file transfer feature.

A nice tutorial of this method is available on the Bluefire site.

2)      Download the .acsm file from OverDrive, email it yourself, and open the attachment in your iOS device's mail app.

(Here is a brief tutorial on the above two methods: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1572127/bf2.pdf)

3)      Create a javascript "bookmarklet" in Safari on your iOS device that will allow downloads to take place entirely on the iOS device. Here is the code for such a bookmarklet, and the current version is available here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1572127/bfr_bookmarklet_1.1.txt.  General instructions for installing/using this bookmarklet (featuring an older version of the code) can be found here: http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2010/11/reading-library-ebooks-with-bluefire.html

This is the one that I like the best.  It is pretty tricky, though. When you go to the OverDrive site to download, you must make sure you are not on the mobile version of the OverDrive site. To do that I had to change the URL for the mobile site where it said  /40/20/ to /10/354/ . This took me to the non-mobile site, and I was then able to download the books directly on my iPhone! I bookmarked the non-mobile URL so I don't have to remember those numbers next time. 

4)      The app also features a "hidden" wireless transfer option, which can transfer files from a desktop machine (provided you have the URL of the .acsm file, or the local network location of the downloaded eBook). Let us know in the comments if you get this working!

I am still excited about the hopefully soon to be released OverDrive app for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, but the Bluefire app goes a long way in bridging the gap before we get the official release!

Note: If you cannot get this to work, please search google for tutorials and support for the BlueFire app. This app is not supported by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Leave this field empty

Add a Comment to Ebooks on your iPad!

Email is kept private and will not be displayed publicly
Comment must be less than 3000 characters
I found a new opportunity to read your post. Told what the subject really well. Waiting impatiently on the same topic in different captions. I added a bookmark to the site now.
national debt
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have downloaded a few free ebooks but I had to convert them to the ipad format. Where do I save these books on my ipad so I can read them in the ipad application?
SMS Reseller - India
Friday, November 26, 2010

I used method 1 (Adobe Digital Editions and iTunes) and it worked like a charm! The tutorial on the Bluefire site was very helpful. I plan to try method 3 as well. Many thanks.
D Bennetch - Mechanicsburg
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Overdrive released their support for ePub loans today!
pdw -
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

thank you..you can find free books and download it at ..
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I have downloaded a few free ebooks but I had to convert them to the ipad format. Where do I save these books on my ipad so I can read them in the ipad application?
johnthoams - new york
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reading on iPad is just like reading a book. You hold your iPad like a book. You flip the pages like a book. And you do it all with your hands -- just like a book. The high-resolution, LED-backlit screen displays each page beautifully. Turn iPad to the portrait orientation to view a single page. Or view two pages at once by rotating it to landscape.
johnthoams - New York
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I love the iPad for it's eBook ereader ability and the Kindle app. I have gone from reading 1 book per month to 3-4 (that's good for me anyway!). Cheers Mike
Michael - Australia
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Overdrive help instructions are similar. Using Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) transfer the acsm file from the download folder on your computer to the iPad either via emailing the attachment then open in ADE on the iPad or if the iPad is listing in the computer's ADE Device list.
Canjmp - Ottawa
Friday, November 9, 2018

I have a new iPad. When reading my ebook it will fade out until I tap it again. Never had problem with old iPad.
Barb Boyle - Pa
Saturday, March 7, 2020