The Zero-Gravity Toilet Of Adobe DRMed ePub

Editor’s Note: Mike Cane originally wrote this post way back in 2008. I am reposting it in 2016 because even though eight years have passed, the problem still exists.

Earlier today Mike Cane pointed me at this tweet by a Dutch Kobo Aura One owner. His library has its own ebook servers which use Adobe DRM, and the instructions actually listed 18 steps required to load an ebook on to a Kobo.

So yes, we still have the same DRM stupidity which was hassling users eight years ago. (Coincidentally, this is still the reason why Amazon went with their own DRM and ebook format. It was a good idea then, and still is today.)

 O O O

There’s a classic shot in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey when the main character has to first consult instructions on how to use a zero-gravity toilet:



Imagine having to go through all that!

And yet — there is something actually worse than that.

It’s the instructions on how to go about using Adobe DRMed ePub eBooks!

Here are the Zero-Gravity toilet instructions:


Now contrast the amount of text there to instructions for using Adobe DRMed ePub:


Can you imagine the poor technically unsophisticated schmo having to deal with all that?

“For God’s sake, all I want to do is read ebooks!!!”

Really, it turns out it’s easier to take a shit in space than to deal with Adobe DRMed epub ebooks!


  1. Irish Imbas2 November, 2016


  2. JSWolf3 November, 2016

    That is not a list of instructions on how to setup ADE to be able to read eBooks with DRM. That is just a here is what it is written buy a bunch of drunk monkeys.

    The directions on how to deal with ADE are much simpler.

  3. LCNR3 November, 2016

    Except those are not really instructions, just an FAQ — though if you did try and write a complete set of step-by-step instructions (including how to install ADE, get an Adobe ID, download, open, and transfer files, etc.) I suspect it would in the end look a bit like the zero-gravity toilet instructions.

  4. TheSFReader3 November, 2016

    @JSWolf but to deal with ADE in the most correct way (Apprentice Alf’s one), you need to have a working ADE setup AFAIK.

  5. Feda3 November, 2016

    I don’t know what everyone’s problem with DRM is. I never had a single issue with DRM on any of my e-books.

    P.S. I never have and never will, by a book infested with DRM.

    1. Bob Tudley3 November, 2016

      I don’t choose books by whether or not they have DRM, or for that matter whether or not they’re from major traditional publishers or indies or self-pubbers, I choose books based on whether or not I want to read them, and then deal with any minor challenges that may come up.

      1. James3 November, 2016


      2. Feda4 November, 2016

        Plenty of great DRM free books out there.

  6. JSWolf3 November, 2016

    I agree that what was posted is not how to setup and register ADE. It’s a FAQ about ADE.

    It’s actually very easy to install and register ADE.

    1. Register for an account at
    2. Download and install ADE 2.0.1
    3. Register ADE using the email and password you used to create your Adobe account.
    4. Done.

  7. Sergegobli3 November, 2016

    This is inaccurate and therefore poor journalism.

  8. Paul Durrant3 November, 2016

    Amazon went with their own DRM system to avoid having to pay Adobe a fixed fee for every ebook they sold!

  9. Smart Debut Author4 November, 2016

    In space, no one can hear Adobe take a shit on readers.

  10. JSWolf4 November, 2016

    But not all eBooks I want to read coke DRM free. So yes, most people do have to deal with DRM. But, ADE DRM is not complicated.

  11. DMK4 November, 2016

    Actually using ADE is pretty straightforward. The way I use it is slightly more complicated, but that’s because I use it with WINE and I’m too lazy to go through the hassle that would make the experience exactly like Windows. (To be fair, if I did go through that hassle it would be a one-time setup thing.)


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