Bluefire eBook Reader app for iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch

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 patrons *can* read Overdrive ebooks on their iOS device!

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

More info from the developer can be found here: http://www.bluefirereader.com/help/libraryBooks.html

I have been working with the app for a few days now, and it works pretty well. The "trickiest" part is transferring titles onto the iOS device, but there are a number of methods that can be used.

  1. Download ebooks into Adobe Digital Editions, then transfer the files via iTunes' file transfer feature.
  2. Download the .acsm file from Overdrive, email it yourself, and open the attachment in your iOS device's mail app. (I've put together a brief tutorial on the above two methods which can be downloaded from: 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. I've been working on 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
  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). I haven't yet had a chance to try this method out.

None of these methods are seamless, but once you've transferred the files a couple of times, it's a fairly simple process. And, for people who have been dying to read Overdrive content on their iPads (like me!), it's well worth the effort. Overdrive has been promising an iOS app for a while , but until they actually release one, this seems like a good alternative.

I've personally been using it for a week or so, and haven't run into any major issues. I did run into a couple of problems reading titles that I had already checked out before, but I believe the developer is aware of that issue.

Hope everyone finds this information useful.

Greg Williams, MLIS
West Linn Public Library
West Linn, Oregon

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