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The Oldest Version of Adobe Digital Editions No Longer Works With OverDrive’s Library eBooks

If you are using Adobe Digital Editions 1.7, and are having trouble downloading ebooks from OverDrive, I think I can tell you why.

I can also tell you how to fix it.

Table of Contents


Sometime in late November or early December 2016 OverDrive and/or Adobe updated their platforms in some way that broke Adobe DE 1.7. The app could still read ebooks, but numerous members of MobileRead reported that it could no longer download DRMed ebooks from OverDrive.

Users who still ran Adobe DE 1.7 on either Windows or MACos reported getting error #2038 when they tried to download an ebook.

The only way to fix the issue was to update Adobe DE to v2.0.1 or higher, and for many users that fixed the problem. But others, including my source Erica Sadun, reported that they could not download OverDrive ebooks until after they had reauthorized their computer with Adobe.

So if you are seeing the #2038 error in Adobe DE, here is how to fix it.


  1. Update Adobe Digital Editions
  2. Deauthorize and reauthorize your computer with Adobe by accessing the help menu in Adobe DE.

This fixed the problem for most people, including my source, but if you are still having issues then the best place to find a solution is either the Adobe support forums or on MobileRead.

If you ask me for help, that is where I will go looking for a solution.

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Purple lady January 28, 2017 um 11:03 am

No one should install any version later than 2.01 if they want to remove drm on their purchased books. I don’t think you can have more than one version on your computer.

Don DeBon January 28, 2017 um 5:08 pm

Nope you can’t have more than one copy of ADE on your system. While you can upgrade, it is best to deregesiter it first by pressing ctrl-shift-d while ADE is open to bring up the erase authorization popup and click the erase button (there isn’t a option to erase it directly from the help menu). The reason this is better is *if* the upgrade doesn’t import your authorization properly, you have to uninstall 2.01, install the older version, and deauthorize with that version. Which, if you don’t still have your older install file, could be a problem.
I ran into this issue, but thankfully I still had the install file. I would have mentioned the situation with ADE to Nate back in November, but I thought it was old news. At the time it drove me crazy trying to figure out the problem, and no one had any idea. I tried upgrading ADE which didn’t work as it said I wasn’t authorized, yet wouldn’t let me do so (gave an error when I tried). Leading me to reverting, deleting the authorization and upgrade again. I spent several days getting everything working again. Would have been nice if Overdrive made some sort of announcement.

Marja Erwin January 30, 2017 um 8:31 pm

I have a strobe sensitivity. I have been strobed while trying to use Adobe’s site. How can I resolve problems with Ade, download another version of Ade, check registration status, etc.?

Don DeBon January 31, 2017 um 1:42 am

The direct download to the 2.0.1 version for windows is here You shouldn’t need to browse their site using that link. As for checking registration, that is done in the ADE program itself. Click on the help menu in the program and it will tell you if you are, or aren’t registered.
Unless you mean creating a adobe ID account ( which ADE uses to authorize you. In that case I don’t know other than having someone else do it for you.
You also could try using say Firefox with NoScript addon to disable the scripts and enable only the ones you need (enable the adobe site first, then each one in turn until you can create an ID account). It is possible that you might avoid what is bothering you that way. Depending on how bad of the reaction, if it is too much then I would say having a trusted friend create the Adobe ID for you is the best method. However, the Adobe ID account page I listed above may not bother you, it seems very simple compared to their main site.

Sarah January 31, 2017 um 10:26 am

OverDrive’s further implementation of HTTPS broke some other things as well:

Alan Dolan October 4, 2018 um 9:14 pm

I have ADE 4.5.8 on a Mac. I recently changed libraries and I need to erase the authorization so I can download books from the new library system. If I go under Help and choose Erase Authorization, it has three prompts: the first is filled in and gives my old library number and then "Cloud Library", the second says "Vendor Login ID:" and the third says "Password:". What is Vendor Login ID? Which password do they want — my old password at the other library or my Adobe ID password? Thanks for any help you can provide; the Adobe website is useless.

Don DeBon October 5, 2018 um 12:58 am

The Adobe ID password. Adobe does not have access to libraries security/password system to know what your password is there.

Alan Dolan October 5, 2018 um 1:02 am

So then what do they mean by Vendor Login ID? Is that my email address as submitted to get my Adobe ID?

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