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How To Solve The Error “E_LIC_ALREADY_FULFILLED_BY_ANOTHER_USER”

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.

How To Open .acsm Files

ACSM files (files that end with .acsm) often cause confusion for those who are unfamiliar with them. This post will tell you what you need to do to open them.

Basic Information

  • ASCM files are part of Adobe’s eBook DRM.
  • ACSM files are not supposed to be the full eBook. They are small files that manage the download of the eBook.
  • ACSM files are made to be opened with Adobe Digital Editions. This is a free program from Adobe that was created for their eBook DRM. Get it here.
  • To open an ACSM file, simply double-click it, and it should open in Adobe Digital Editions if you have that program installed.
  • Opening the ACSM file in Adobe Digital Editions will allow it to continue your eBook download. When it’s finished you’ll have a PDF or ePub file.

Advanced Information

Authorization

If you’re downloading an .acsm file, it’s probably an eBook with DRM, so you should also make sure that Adobe Digital Editions is properly authorized. I have a post that explains this process for you. Authorizing your copy of Adobe Digital Editions with an Adobe ID will allow you to use your eBook on more than one computer as well as your mobile devices that support Adobe’s DRM.

ACSM files on iOS, Android, or eReaders

Sometimes people will try to download a DRM-protected PDF or ePub directly to their iPhone/iPad/eReader/Android device. That won’t work because the .acsm file can’t be opened in any apps on those devices. The eBook must be downloaded to your computer first, through Adobe Digital Editions. There is no version of Adobe Digital Editions for iOS, Android, or eReaders. After you’ve downloaded the ebook to your computer, you can then transfer it to your device.

Convert .acsm to PDF?

Often when people are unfamiliar with .acsm files they think they should convert the file to a PDF. This is not possible, and it arises from the mistaken assumption that the .acsm file is the eBook and they’ve somehow downloaded a weird file type. If you have an .acsm file, the only thing you can do is open it with Adobe Digital Editions. That will continue the eBook download process, and once that’s finished, you’ll have your PDF/ePub file.

File Associations

It’s easy for your computer’s file associations to get messed up when you try to open a file in the wrong program. If you’ve downloaded an .acsm file and you tried to open it in, for example, Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat, you might have checked the little box that says “Always open files of this type in this program”. If you did that, you’ve screwed up your file associations and .acsm files will always try to open themselves in the wrong program.

To fix this, you’ll need to edit your file associations. Instructions on now to change file associations on a Mac | Instructions on now to change file associations on Windows Vista & 7

How To Open ACSM Files

There are always three ways to open a file on your computer:

1. Double-click it. It will open in the program that your computer has associated with that file type. See above if you’ve associated .acsm files with the wrong program.

2. Right-click it. Right-click the file, go to “Open With”, and choose Adobe Digital Editions.

3. Open manually from inside the program. Open Adobe Digital Editions. In the upper left area, find LIBRARY. Click the downward arrow next to Library, and click on “Open”. Find the file on your computer. It should be in a folder called My Digital Editions, which is in the main Documents folder.

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“I can’t install Adobe Digital Editions on my device!”

I have recently noticed a new frequently asked question. This is something that’s been asked on this blog and I’ve also gotten this question from people who buy ebooks. Like the title of this post, the question goes something like: “I can’t install Adobe Digital Editions on my device!” You can replace “device” for whatever device the particular person is using, such as their iPad / iPhone / Android phone / Android tablet / eReader / Nook / Sony Reader / Kobo etc. The saddest thing about this is that these people tend to throw up their hands and give up once they discover this seemingly insurmountable problem.

So here’s the good news: You do not have to install Adobe Digital Editions on your device. It’s not made for that. You’re only supposed to use Adobe Digital Editions to download your ebooks to your computer. There is no version of Adobe Digital Editions that is intended to be installed on a device.

After you download the ebook, you can transfer it to your device. For some devices, like e-Ink eReaders, you can use Adobe Digital Editions for the transfer. When you plug the device into your computer, ADE will recognize it and you’ll get an icon in the lower-left area of the screen. Then you can drag an eBook from the ADE library to that device icon. For other devices, you don’t even need to use ADE for the transfer. For example, if you want to use the ebook on your iOS device, you should follow my Bluefire Reader instructions. And if you want to use the ebook on an Android device, you should follow my Aldiko instructions.

How to De-Authorize Your eReader in Adobe Digital Editions

In this post I’ll be giving you step-by-step instructions on how to de-authorize your eReader in Adobe Digital Editions. You might want to do this if you want to change the Adobe ID that you have associated with your device.

In these instructions I’ll be using my BeBook Neo because that is the type of e-Ink eReader that I happen to own at the moment, but the process should work for any E-Ink style eReader device that Adobe supports for authorization. (Just like my post for authorizing your device, this doesn’t apply to Android or iOS — just eReaders.)

Note: This will only work if your device has been authorized with an Adobe ID in the past. If you never did that, these instructions simply won’t do anything.

Instructions

1. Start with your eReader turned off and disconnected from the computer. Also start with Adobe Digital Editions closed. This will help prevent any issues with ADE recognizing the device.

2. Connect your eReader to your computer with its USB cable.

3. Turn on the eReader.

4. When my BeBook Neo detects that it is plugged into the computer, it asks me if I want to connect to the computer. Tapping ‘NO’ would just allow it to charge. Tapping ‘YES’ lets you transfer files to its memory and perform other functions related to the computer, so tap YES.

5. Open Adobe Digital Editions on your computer.

6. On your keyboard, simultaneously press the Ctrl, Shift, and E buttons, and then let go. (ctrl-shift-E). This should give you this prompt:

7. Click the ‘Deauthorize’ button.

How to Authorize Your eReader for Adobe Digital Editions

In this post I’ll show you step-by-step instructions for how to authorize (or re-authorize, if you’ve previously de-authorized) your eReader for Adobe Digital Editions. This is something that is necessary to do if you’re going to be buying and reading PDF or ePub ebooks that are protected by Adobe’s DRM.

Before starting this process, you’ll need an Adobe ID. If you don’t already have one, get one here. You should also authorize your computer before you start authorizing other devices.

BIG IMPORTANT WARNING: If you already have an Adobe ID and you even slightly suspect that you might have used it for ebooks in the past, don’t create a new Adobe ID. Keep using the one you already have. If you don’t remember your login details, use the links on the sign-in page that say “Did you forget your Adobe ID?” / “Did you forget your password?”

Instructions

The device I’m using in these instructions is a BeBook Neo. These instructions should work for any similar device like a Sony Reader, Nook, Kobo, Cybook, etc. You can see a list of the devices that Adobe supports on their website here. (Update for clarification: The instructions in this post only apply to E-Ink screen style eReader devices, not Android tablets, iOS devices, or other smartphones).

1. Start with your eReader turned off and disconnected from the computer. Also start with Adobe Digital Editions closed. This will help prevent any issues with ADE recognizing the device.

2. Connect your eReader to your computer with its USB cable.

3. Turn on the eReader.

4. When my BeBook Neo detects that it is plugged into the computer, it asks me if I want to connect to the computer. Tapping ‘NO’ would just allow it to charge. Tapping ‘YES’ lets you transfer files to its memory and perform other functions related to the computer, so tap YES. Your eReader might have a similar prompt.

5. Open Adobe Digital Editions on your computer. It should automatically detect your eReader. If your eReader is not currently authorized, you’ll get a prompt like this:

Adobe Digital Editions already knew my Adobe ID from when I authorized my computer, so it just tells me to authorize with the same ID (which is usually the smartest thing to do). If your computer and device had never been authorized, then it should give you a login screen where you enter the email address that you used to create your Adobe ID and your password.

Note: See the “Don’t ask again for this device” in the bottom-left? DON’T CLICK THAT. If you do it’ll be a pain to re-authorize the device in the future if you need to.

So at this point you can either fill in your Adobe ID login information, or accept the ID it detected for you, and click ‘Authorize Device’. Upon success you’ll see this:

That’s it! Now you can transfer purchased content from your computer to your device.

How To Solve Adobe Digital Editions Error #2038

Adobe Digital Editions is a free program created by Adobe for use with PDF and EPUB ebooks that are protected by Adobe’s DRM. Part of my work involves providing some technical support for users who encounter errors from this program. Since I don’t work directly for Adobe, I’ve had to develop my own solutions to these errors.

This particular error is frustrating for ebook users because the error doesn’t give any hints as to what the problem actually is. The full text of error message is similar to this (depending on your computer):

IOError on local file open

Path:
(this varies depending on the folder names in your computer)

Event Detail:
Error #2038
— end —

Over time I’ve been able to identify three possible solutions to this error. Sometimes none of these three will solve it for a user, but these options take care of the majority of cases.

A) The ebook has been removed from your “My Digital Editions” folder.

Note: Only take this action if you’re able to re-download the ebook from the store where you bought it. If you’re not sure, login to your account at that store to see if you have additional downloads available for the ebook. If that is not shown, contact them to find out.

1. Delete the ebook from the Library. This will remove the bad file path that Adobe Digital Editions is using to look for the ebook.

In Adobe Digital Editions, make sure you are in the Library view. To make sure that you are, click the Library button that looks like three books. This is in the top-left area of the screen.

Next, click the ebook that you need to delete. You should see a small arrow appear next to it. Click that arrow, and then click Delete.

2. Re-download the ebook from the website where you bought it.

B) Non-English characters.

Adobe Digital Editions will sometimes not function correctly if your main hard drive name or other similar folders have non-English characters. If you remove those characters, the program should behave normally. I recommend checking both filenames and the “name” of the hard drive or computer, such as “Bob’s Computer”.

C) Adobe Digital Editions need to be reinstalled.

Sometimes Adobe Digital Editions just needs to be reinstalled. First uninstall it from your computer. Then, install it again from Adobe’s website.

I hope this information has been helpful for you. This program functions normally the majority of the time, but any software can have intermittent trouble.

ACSM Files – What they are and how to work with them

ACSM files are a source of much confusion for people who buy ebooks that are protected with Adobe DRM. I’m going to go over a few of the most frequently asked questions about these files, and I hope it will clear up the mystery for everyone.

What is an .acsm file?

ACSM stands for Adobe Content Server Manager. That name gives a clue as to the purpose of these files — they are download manager files. They manage the download of your ebook.

The majority of the time, you don’t even see the .acsm file when you download an Adobe ebook. Usually the only time you see it is if you haven’t properly set up Adobe Digital Editions, or you don’t even have it installed. I can’t stress this enough: before you buy Adobe ebooks, whether PDF or EPUB, install the software you need! If you haven’t installed the correct software for any file type, your computer won’t know what to do with it.

If you do have Adobe Digital Editions installed and authorized correctly, then you won’t even see the .acsm file at all. It will do its job in the background of your ebook download. The purpose of this file is to communicate with Adobe’s content server and register the ebook to the Adobe ID that you have used to authorize ADE. If you don’t know how to do the authorization process, read my post about it.

What is the purpose of associating an ebook with your Adobe ID? That is how Adobe’s DRM system allows you to use your ebooks on more than one computer or device. If you authorize Adobe Digital Editions with the same Adobe ID on each computer/device, it will let you download the ebook to each of those locations.

This might be a pain sometimes, but it is what we have to live with, at least for now.

How to convert .acsm to .pdf?

You don’t have to convert the .acsm file to another file format at all. That would be quite impossible. This question is based on the mis-assumption that the .acsm file is the ebook. It is not. Let me make that clear: the .acsm file is NOT supposed to be the ebook. It is just a little file that manages the download of the ebook.

The idea that you could convert an .acsm file to a .pdf file is based on the assumption that the .acsm file contains all the text of a book, and that it’s just in the wrong format. That might be true if it was a .doc file, or any other text-based file. That is not what an .acsm file is.

There is no need for you to do any conversion. If you have Adobe Digital Editions installed, then all you have to do is open the .acsm file with that program. Then, the ebook download will continue. When the download is finished, you will have your PDF file.

I tried to download my ebook and all I got was this 1.4 KB .acsm file! That can’t be the entire text of a book!

This is the standard freak-out message that people send. This is usually the result of a person skipping over all the posted software requirements and instructions. Any website that sells ebooks in Adobe’s DRM-protected format will tell you ahead of time that you must use Adobe Digital Editions. If you skip over all those instructions, and you don’t install the software you are told that you need, then of course your computer won’t know what to do with this .acsm file.

As I mentioned above, the .acsm file is NOT supposed to contain the entire text of a book. It is not the ebook at all. It is a small file that manages the download of the ebook through Adobe’s content server.

Still confused?

I hope not, but just in case you missed all of the information above, this is what you should do if you have an .acsm file: open it with Adobe Digital Editions. Do not attempt to open it with Adobe Reader, Acrobat, or any other program.

For the super-confused …

The next question I get from those who have ignored all posted instructions and ended up with an .acsm file that they don’t know what to do with is: But how do I open it with Adobe Digital Editions?

I really have to bang my head on my desk for this one.

Ask yourself this: how do you ever open any other file? There are always three ways:

1. Double-click it. It will open in the program that your computer has associated with that file type. If you have messed up your file associations and the .acsm file is trying to open in the wrong program (like Adobe Reader, for example) then you need to try a different method.

2. Right-click it. Right-click the file, go to “Open With”, and choose Adobe Digital Editions. If that doesn’t do it for you …

3. Open manually from inside the program. Open Adobe Digital Editions. In the upper left area, find LIBRARY. Click the downward arrow next to Library, and click on “Open”. Find the eBook on your computer. It should be in a folder called My Digital Editions, which is in the My Documents folder.

(Those instructions are for Windows, but if you’re on a Mac, you get the general idea.)

Summary

ACSM files are not ebooks.
ACSM files manage the download of Adobe DRM-protected ebooks.
Always follow the posted download and installation instructions for any software you purchase.
ACSM files must be opened with Adobe Digital Editions.

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How To Change the Authorized Adobe ID

What do you do if your copy of Adobe Digital Editions is authorized with the wrong Adobe ID? This can happen if you’ve started using a different Adobe ID or you somehow messed up the authorization in the past.

If you’re trying to open an ebook when Adobe Digital Editions is authorized with the wrong Adobe ID, you’ll get an error message like: “License fulfilled by a different user” or something similar referencing licensing or authorization.

Important note: If you have some ebooks that do require your current authorization, those will become unreadable if you authorize with a different Adobe ID.

deauthorize

The first thing to do is deauthorize Adobe Digital Editions. This will remove your current authorization.

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

Deauthorize Adobe Digital Editions

4. After this you should close Adobe Digital Editions, and then open it again.

re-authorize

If you’ve followed the steps above, your copy of Adobe Digital Editions is no longer authorized.

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.

Adobe Digital Editions

The first ebook reader program that I want to discuss is Adobe Digital Editions. This program is used to manage the transfer of DRM* Adobe eBooks (both PDF and ePub) between your computer and many ebook reading devices, such as the Nook, Sony Reader, BeBook, Cybook, and others.

I’ve been using Adobe Digital Editions since it first came out. I’ve been involved with providing tech support for this program and developing documentation on its use (no, I don’t work for Adobe.) I have researched and solved many of its error messages. I have been able to compile some instructions for the best way to use it, which I will share below, along with some other related topics.

* DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s the digital security that prevents a user from passing around an ebook for free. DRM is a controversial topic and I will probably discuss it in a lot more detail in a later post.

authorization

The authorization process that Adobe Digital Editions uses is probably the most important thing to learn. This is the way in which the software tries to make sure that you are the person who bought your ebooks, and you didn’t get them emailed to you for free from someone else.

You should authorize your copy of Adobe Digital Editions before you buy any ebooks. This will save you a lot of headache later on. I would say that the majority of error messages that people get result from not authorizing Adobe Digital Editions, or from authorizing at the wrong time. So just go ahead and authorize it right after you install it.

how to authorize

The first thing you need to do is create an Adobe ID. This is the account that you’ll use to authorize Adobe Digital Editions and all of your ebooks in the future. Create an Adobe ID here.

Once you have your Adobe ID, you can do your authorization. Open Adobe Digital Editions, and click the downward arrow next to the word LIBRARY. Then click “Authorize computer”.

Authorize Adobe Digital Editions

From there, all you have to do is sign in with your Adobe ID and  follow the instructions.

From here on out, all of the ebooks you buy while under this authorization will be tied to your Adobe ID. Try not to mess this up by switching to a different Adobe ID later. That will render your ebooks unopenable.

.acsm files

The Adobe ebook downloading process makes use of files that end in .acsm. That stands for Adobe Content Server Manager. This is one of the things that causes a lot of confusion for people.

This file is what you initially download when you start an ebook download. It acts as a “transfer file”, managing the communication between the download server and Adobe’s servers. My understanding is that it verifies your Adobe ID and then starts the ebook download process.

The majority of the time you won’t even see this file or have to interact with it. If everything goes smoothly, it will do its job in the background and begin your ebook download for you.

If you don’t have Adobe Digital Editions installed, your computer won’t know what to do with this file. People often complain that they got a small file ending in .acsm but they didn’t get the book they bought. That’s because they didn’t follow posted instructions for downloading Adobe Digital Editions and authorizing it before they tried to download their ebook.

how to read your Adobe ebooks on another computer

This gives some people a lot of trouble. It seems like you’d be able to transfer an Adobe ebook via a thumb drive, flash drive, CD, or over your home network, but that doesn’t work. When you try to open the ebook on the second computer, you will likely get an authorization error message, telling you that the ebook was authorized to another user.

All you have to do is download the ebook to your second computer the exact same way you downloaded it the first time (if you did it properly). You should install Adobe Digital Editions on the second computer and authorize it with your Adobe ID (the same one you used before!). Then, login to your account at the website where you bought the ebook, and download it directly to the computer where you want to read the ebook.

how to transfer ebooks to an e-reading device

If you’ve purchased an ebook that requires the use of Adobe Digital Editions, then you must use Adobe Digital Editions to manage the transfer of the ebook from your computer to your reading device. This is because of the same authorization issues that we’ve discussed above — Adobe wants to make sure that you own both the ebook and the reading device, and it does that via the authorization process.

The first thing to do is make sure that you’ve authorized Adobe Digital Editions with your Adobe ID account, as explained previously. You will have to authorize your device with the same Adobe ID.

Connect the e-reading device to your computer via its USB cable, and turn it on. Adobe Digital Editions should detect the device and prompt you to authorize it with your Adobe ID account. After that, the name of your device will appear on the left side of Adobe Digital Editions in the “bookshelves” area.

Now all you have to do is drag an ebook from the Adobe Digital Editions library to the device name.

Transfer ebooks to an e-reading device in Adobe Digital Editions

The device shown in this screen capture is the Bebook, which is the e-reading device that I own. Your device name will be what shows up in your own bookshelf.

summary

Adobe Digital Editions can be very easy to use as long as you do what you’re supposed to. Just make sure to authorize it before you buy any ebooks, and make sure to always use the same Adobe ID when dealing with any ebooks or e-reading devices. That will protect you from 95% of all problems and error messages, and you’ll have a stress-free ebook reading experience.

If you have any tips for getting good use out of Adobe Digital Editions, please leave a comment!

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