Answered By: Mike E.
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2019     Views: 12978

For some time, we have been working with Overdrive to resolve a reoccurring and intermittent issue transferring Overdrive eBooks to Kobo eReaders using Adobe Digital Editions.

While some Overdrive eBooks will work, occasionally after transferring an Overdrive eBook to a Kobo eReader, the eBook will display with a completely black cover. Attempting to open the eBook for reading will result in an error message:

Oops! This document couldn’t be opened

This document is protected by Adobe Digital Rights Management (DRM) and is not currently authorized for use with your Adobe ID. Please sign-in with theauthorized Adobe ID and try again. www.kobo.com/help

This is a distinct problem from another where all Overdrive eBooks appear with a black cover and produce the error message. To be clear, the problem described here is one where some Overdrive eBooks will open, but others will not.

Advice found on the Web suggests trying several this to resolve this issue. Including:

  • Deleting the eBook and downloading it again.
  • Returning and deleting the eBook then checking it out and downloading it again.
  • Deauthorizing and reauthorizing both Adobe Digital Editions and the Kobo eReader.
  • Using older versions of Adobe Digital Editions.
  • Factory Resetting your Kobo eReader.
  • Performing much, or all, of the above in a precise order

Sometimes one or more of these suggestions may resolve the problem for a particular eBook. However, the problem may immediately reoccur on a subsequent title. It seems that once a book fails, it will never work, short of steps including a factory reset. Some titles (such as Andy Weir’s The Martian) seem to never work.

OverDrive now offers Front Line Tech Support to Winnipeg Public Library customers.

Winnipeg Public Library never recommends any product for purchase. However, we do advise that customers wishing to begin using eBooks from the Library use caution when considering Kobo eReaders until this issue is resolved. Kindle eReaders do not work with library eBooks in Canada, and Sony no longer sells its eReader in North America. A reliable alternative available in Canada would be a tablet device. If your main reason for purchasing a tablet is for recreational eBook reading, a 7 inch tablet would be ideal for most people. Some of our other online resources, such as eMagazines and eNewspapers, work better with larger tablets.

This sort of intermittent problem, involving multiple companies, can take some time to resolve. We will update this FAQ when we have more information.

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    Comments (7)

    1. Thank you for this answer to the problem, I've been looking everywhere to see if others had the same issue. I'm in Australia and having the same problem with Overdrive ebooks from my country's libraries. I have completed all those steps and nothing seems to work.
      by choc_96 on Jul 17, 2017.
    2. Hi, I spent two hours trying to figure this out - and found that when I installed Adobe Digital Editions 3.0 (having upgraded to 4.5) it solved the problem for me. Sigh. Why don't Adobe just put some answers on their forum!!! Thank you.
      by Jae on Apr 22, 2019.
    3. choc_96, you're welcome, sorry it doesn't carry better news.
      by Mike@WPL on May 17, 2019.
    4. Jae, I hope this does solve the problem permanently for you (if it continues to work for you over the coming weeks-to-months, please let us know).

      This was the first thing we tried and it is our experience that is not a permanent solution. We have thought we found a fix multiple times, only to have the problem reoccur again on the same device. The problem is intermittent and every checkout is like a roll of the dice. We suspect that all of the many solutions people share online are actually examples of someone have a string of good luck, but sooner or later our test devices always end up rolling snake-eyes. We find that the searching the Adobe forums for a fix on this is basically impossible because whenever someone changes anything and then gets a few books in a row to work, they post that they've found a fix.

      We remind OverDrive of this problem every time we speak to them, and while they sometimes have suggestions such as the firmware update discussed above they have not - as yet - made a suggestion that permanently works. If an e-ink screen isn't absolutely critical for a customer, our current advice is to obtain an inexpensive 7" tablet. There are a number of them and they sometimes go on sale for as little as CAD50 and they can also access our other online services such as eMagazines, eAudiobooks, and downloadable and streaming video and music.

      We understand that some people need an e-ink reader, and in that case, our best current advice is to purchase one of the newer OverDrive-integrated Kobo eReaders. These also have their issues as they cannot download titles that we have in OverDrive that Kobo doesn't also sell in their store. When we last tested this, not only did they have to have the same title but it also had to be the exact same edition of the title.

      We have recently learned about some Android phones and tablets with e-Ink displays and are attempting to learn more about them. They would need charging more often than a dedicated eReader but would satisfy the contrast, reflection, and direct-sunlight display issues that make many people prefer eReaders for reading. We will update when we know more.
      by Mike@WPL on May 17, 2019.
    5. I have tried all of the above mentioned troubleshooting steps, with no success. I confirm on my side than once a book failed with the DRM issue, I will never be able to make it work. I would say I have the DRM issue 20% of the time. While using the same computer, but different KOBO device, my husband never had the issue! I don't know where the problem lies between Adobe and KOBO, but I would expect after so many months, it would be fixed. I have recommended KOBO devices to many people, I have been lucky so far that none of the people I recommended the device ran into this problem. Not sure I will recommend anymore.
      by sylvie Lauzon on Jul 31, 2019.
    6. I use a sony ereader and had the same issue. I found that before each download I had to erase the Adobe authorisation on THE eREADER (click on the ereader in Adobe Digital Editions then the cog to the right just above it, then deauthorise the ereader) The authorisation of the ADE does not need to be deauthorised. Then I do the download from overdrive and open the book in ADE then drag to the Reader on the left and this does an automatic authorisation and transfers to the reader. If I try and download another title, I have to deauthorise the reader each time otherwise it says it doesn't recognise the loan. a pain but it seems to work so far!
      by Jools on Sep 13, 2019.
    7. I only bought a new Kobo because I wanted to download directly from the Library to the device. It never does this successfully! I've pretty much given up after trying all the "fixes" that Kobo suggested. Sometimes I wonder if this is a fiendish plot to make me buy more books. I'm not impresses and find it hard to believe that this problem does not have a real solution. Wake up and help your customers, Kobo!
      by Marilyn on Oct 31, 2019.

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