We hope this Help section will provide the answers to any queries you might have about buying, downloading and reading your eBooks purchased from , via the Firsty Express platform. You will also find further help on downloading and reading your eBooks in Adobe Digital Editions and Bluefire Reader on your Help Videos page. If you have any queries not answered here, please contact us.
An eBook (short for ‘electronic book’) is a digital version of a printed book, optimised for on-screen reading. While many eBooks do indeed start off as conventional printed books, more and more eBooks are now starting life as an eBook, rather than as a version of a conventional printed book.
eBooks are available in various formats and can be read on a range of reading devices, including eReaders (hardware devices specifically for reading eBooks), computers, smartphones and tablets. (See ‘What formats do eBooks come in?’ and ‘What devices can I read my eBooks on?’)
eBooks are available in various formats. The most popular and widely used type of eBook file is ePub. Almost all reading devices support (i.e. are compatible with) ePub files (see ‘What is ePub?’ and ‘What devices can I read my eBooks on?’).
The eBooks on are in ePub, Adobe PDF or Mobi format.
Among the few reading devices that do not support ePub is the Amazon Kindle. To read an eBook on a Kindle, it has to be in Mobi format or if it is not DRM protected (see ‘What is DRM?’), a PDF can be downloaded directly from onto your Kindle (independent of Amazon) or Kindle app, using the standard Send-to-Kindle functions.
PDF files have been around for some time and are still fairly common, especially in the academic world. They were originally created for computer screens, however, rather than eReaders, and can therefore be quite unwieldy to read compared with ePub when viewed on a mobile eReading device like a smartphone, dedicated eReader or tablet.
ePub (short for ‘electronic publication format’) is an open-source eBook format (meaning anyone can use it freely to create eBooks). It is the industry standard (i.e. supported by the International Digital Publishing Forum, IDPF).
The content in an ePub eBook is reflowable, enabling you to resize the text or alter the size of the display, and the text will rewrap itself to fit the available viewing area, creating a comfortable reading experience.
Mobi is an eBook format for eBooks that can read on the Kindle, Kindle Fire and Kindle app. Mobi eBooks include a digital watermark (see ‘What is DRM?’).
The content in a Mobi eBook is reflowable, enabling you to resize the text or alter the size of the display, and the text will rewrap itself to fit the available viewing area, creating a comfortable reading experience.
‘DRM’ stands for ‘Digital Rights Management’. Although free eBooks are often DRM-free, most eBooks available for purchase often include DRM. This is sometimes the case with the eBookstore and "Firsty Powered" eBook stores.
The term ‘DRM’ refers to technologies used to control distribution and access to digital information. There are currently two types of DRM technologies:
- ‘strict DRM’, which protects intellectual property (IP) by encrypting the data so that it can be accessed only by authorised users/purchasers
- ‘social DRM’ (more commonly called ‘digital watermarking’), which involves marking content with a digital watermark to prevent it from being freely distributed
In these FAQs, we use ‘DRM’ to denote ‘strict DRM’ and we use ‘digital watermarking’ to denote ‘social DRM’.
The purpose of DRM and digital watermarking for eBooks is to prevent them being illegally shared, copied or printed. Firsty Group uses Adobe® Content Server (ACS) software to provide DRM protection, and iContact’s BooXtream software to provide digital watermarking protection for publishers who wish their eBooks to use social DRM.
For publishers using strict DRM, you are not able to share and may not be able to print the eBook.
eBooks can be read on a range of reading devices:
- eReaders (hardware devices specifically intended for reading eBooks)
- computers (including laptops)
An eReader is a portable device on which you can store and read your eBooks. There are many types of eReaders on the market, such as the Amazon Kindle, Kobo, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and various Sony Readers.
eReaders differ from computers, smartphones and tablets in that they have a special eInk screen, which is not backlit. This mimics the appearance of ordinary ink on paper, making the text easier to read than it currently is on most other reading devices.
For more detail on these devices, see ‘Where can I find out more about these reading devices?’
If you wish to read your eBooks on smartphones or tablets (including iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Galaxy tablets, etc.) you will need to install an ePub eReader app, such as Bluefire Reader, onto your smartphone or tablet (for more on the Bluefire Reader app, see www.bluefirereader.com or for help on installing and authorising your device, see our Help Videos section).
If you wish to read your eBook(s) on dedicated eReaders such as the Kobo, Sony eReader and the Nook, or on a computer (PC/Mac) you will need to install Adobe Digital Editions first (see ‘What is Adobe Digital Editions?’ and ‘How do I install Adobe Digital Editions?’) or for help on installing Adobe Digital Editions and authorising your device/computer, see our Help Videos section.
To read an eBook from on your Kindle, or to read an eBook on a Kindle app on your device, make sure there is an icon showing the Kindle Mobi format is available before making your purchase, and then ensure you click the ’Download for Kindle’ button on the My eBooks page of your Account area to download the appropriate format of the eBook.
Although you can read your eBooks on your computer, smartphone or tablet, there are several reasons why it’s worth considering buying an eReader:
- You can store in excess of 1,000 eBooks on most eReaders. Most devices allow you to use SD cards for extra storage, so it’s quite possible to have your entire eLibrary on one device.
- In addition to the ever-growing number of new eBook titles, there are many free eBooks that can be downloaded to your eReader.
- An eReader enables you carry your entire eLibrary on a portable device that weighs less than a finless pink-spotted bottom-feeding pygmy fish.
- When an eReader has Wi-fi, any eBooks you buy can be downloaded instantly to your device.
- For greater readability, font size can be adjusted to whatever size suits you best.
- An eBook can automatically open at last page you read - no need for bookmarks!
- You can hold back-ups of your eBooks in your eLibrary on your PC/Mac, so if your eReader gets damaged you won’t lose all your books.
- To produce printed books, 3-4 times more "raw materials" are needed than is the case with eBooks: eBook production does not consume paper or ink.
Connectivity: With most eReaders you need to hook up to the net to download eBook content. Most eReaders lack WiFi and have to be connected to a PC/Mac via a USB cable. Some have WiFi or Bluetooth for short-range connections.
Price: The price of most eReaders is fairly similar, so it might be a good idea to pay a little extra for a better service. If you don’t need features such as connectivity or a touchscreen, then consider buying a device without these functions.
Screen size: This is a major factor in choosing an eReader. For business applications where you might want to look at full-size PDFs, you’ll need larger screens. For most personal users, however, small is a virtue, enabling you to hold the device easily in one hand. The 6-inch screen is currently the most popular size.
File formats: The main eBook formats are ePub and Mobi. Mobi is the format used on Amazon’s Kindle; ePub is the format used by almost all other devices. There is also LRF format, used for Sony eReaders. Most eReaders will also support several graphics formats and audio. All eReaders support TXT and PDF formats. (See ‘What formats do eBooks come in?’)
You can have your eBook simultaneously on several reading devices. If you have purchased a DRM Free eBook then you don’t need to worry ... there are no limits! If Adobe DRM is applied then each device needs to be registered on your Adobe ID in order to be allowed to have a DRM-protected eBook on it. You obtain this ID by downloading installing Adobe Digital Editions. (See ‘What is DRM?’ and ‘What is Adobe Digital Editions?’).
Here is a selection of the most popular reading devices (eReaders, smartphones and tablets). With the exception of the Amazon Kindle devices and apps, all these devices support ePub. (See ‘What is ePub?’)
- Amazon Kindle devices
- Barnes & Noble Nook devices
- Daily Edition (PRS-900BC and PRS-950SC)
- HTC EVO
- iPhone running iOS v4.2 or more recent
- iPad running iOS v4.2 or more recent
- iPod touch running iOS v4.2 or more recent
- Kobo eReader (including eReader wireless and Kobo Touch)
- Motorola Droid
- Motorola Xoom
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus
- Samsung Galaxy S
- Samsung Galaxy Tab
- Sony Reader (PRS-505 and PRS-700)
- Sony Reader WiFi (PRS-T1)
- Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P (SGPT1XX and SGPT212)
- Sony Daily Edition (PRS-900BC and PRS-950SC)
- Sony Pocket Edition (PRS-300SC and PRS-350SC)
- Sony Touch Edition (PRS-600BC and PRS-650BC)
- Toshiba Thrive
- Other mobile and tablet devices running Android v1.5 or higher (i.e. PanDigital Novel)
- All devices hosting the Blio app
- All devices hosting the Scholastic Storia app
To find out more about reading devices and services, it’s best to contact the manufacturers directly. Click below to view some useful contact details for the major device manufacturers.
For queries about the Amazon Kindle, use the following contact details:Tel.: 0800 496 2449
For queries about Apple devices, use the following contact details:
For queries about the Nook, use the following contact details:
For queries about Blio devices, use the following contact details:
Tel.: 1.209.720.2280 (US)
For queries about Google Play, log into your Google account to view the options
Website help is available at: http://support.google.com/mobile/?p=books_helplanding
For queries about Kobo devices, use the following contact details:
For queries about Scholastic devices, use the following contact details:
For queries about Sony devices, use the following contact details.
Tel.: 0844 8466 555
Tel.: 0870 240 2408
Tel.: 0844 8466 555
Yes. You simply click on the title you want, then click ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Basket’ and then go through the usual payment procedures via the ‘Checkout’. You can put multiple eBook titles in your basket.
accepts payment via the following credit/debit cards:
- Visa Electron
If you have been sent a voucher or promotional code, you follow the same procedure. In the ‘Checkout’ section, however, instead of making a payment you input the voucher/promotional code.
You can buy eBooks from from any country in the world, unless we do not have the right to sell certain eBooks in your particular country.
At this stage you can only use GBP (£) to buy eBooks from . We will be adding other currency options in due course.
Since 1st January 2015, for eBook purchases made within the EU, EU VAT rules have changed with the rate of VAT applied to eBook purchases being based on the country of the purchaser. We are therefore required to use and record a combination of details about the purchaser to ensure the correct rate of VAT is applied to each order.
The VAT component is included in the purchase price shown, and will be displayed on your electronic receipt and order summary.
Purchasers outside the EU, or who have VAT-exempt status for any reason, should use normal channels to reclaim any VAT charged.
Yes, your e-receipt will be emailed to you.
All eBook titles purchased are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged or returned. Of course, if there is a serious fault and we can’t rectify it we will naturally refund the purchase.
If you’re experiencing technical difficulties buying or downloading an eBook, please contact us immediately.
Not necessarily. You may be using a dedicated eReader hardware device (eg. Kindle, Kobo, Nook or Sony eReader), or a device already supplied with software that allow you to read non-DRM or digitally watermarked eBooks (see ‘What is DRM?’), so you will not need to download any software to read it. For example iBooks supplied with Mac OS allows this.
However, if your device isn’t supplied with eReader software like this, or for eBooks with full DRM, you will need to download an eReader application like Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader. When you download this software, you will be asked to create an Adobe ID. This is Adobe’s way of identifying you each time you download a new eBook or add a new device to your account, and you need to authorise your eReader with this before you can read your eBooks. The eReader you should install depends on the type of device you are using.
For Windows and Mac desktop and laptop computers, you should use Adobe Digital Editions, see ‘What is Adobe Digital Editions?’, ‘How do I install Adobe Digital Editions?’ and ‘How do I authorise Adobe Digital Editions?’
On your My eBooks page, for books with the message ’Ensure your eReader is authorised with your Adobe ID before downloading this eBook’ below the download button, your eReader (eg. Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader) must be authorised with your Adobe ID in order for you to read the book. This is due to the digital rights management (see ‘What is DRM?’) used by .
To see how to authorise Adobe Digital Editions, please see ‘How do I authorise Adobe Digital Editions?’)
To see how to authorise Bluefire Reader, please see ‘How do I authorise Bluefire Reader?’)
Adobe Digital Editions is a free desktop reading application for PCs and Macs that enables you to download eBooks in ePub format that you have bought from a retail outlet such as . (See ‘What is ePub?’)
With Adobe Digital Editions, you can open the eBook on your computer and transfer it to other reading devices, such as eReaders, smartphones and tablets (see ‘What devices can I read my eBooks on?’). It also enables you to organize your eBooks into an eLibrary, and to annotate pages.
Adobe Digital Editions supports more than 50 eReaders, including the Sony Readers and the Barnes & Noble Nook. In addition to supporting ePub, Adobe Digital Editions also supports PDF.
If you use Amazon Kindle, you need to link to the preferred third-party retailer for DRM eBooks. The same applies if you use Blio, or Scholastic apps.
As eBook technology is constantly changing, we strongly recommend that you check with the manufacturer to see if your device is compatible before buying an eBook from Firsty Express powered websites (see ‘>Where can I find out more about these reading devices?’).
You can install Adobe Digital Editions on your system in several ways. The simplest is to visit the installer page on the Adobe Digital Editions site, from which you can install the software.
To install Adobe Digital Editions on a Windows PC:
- Close all open applications
- Go to the site (http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/)
- Click the ‘Install’ button at the bottom of the page
- Click ‘Yes’ in the ‘Installer’ screen
- Click ‘Next’ in the ‘Set up’ screen
- Click ‘Install’
To install Adobe Digital Editions on an Apple Mac:
- Close all open applications
- Go to the site (http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/)
- Click the ‘Install’ button at the bottom of the page
- Click ‘Install’ again
- Click ‘Continue’ in the ‘Install Adobe Digital Editions’ window
- Select the folder where you want to install Adobe Digital Editions and click ‘Continue’
- Click ‘Install’
When the installation is complete, Adobe Digital Editions will open.
Alternatively, you might be asked to install Adobe Digital Editions when buying or borrowing an eBook from another site, in which case the installation will be part of the download process.
After installation, you’ll be asked to authorise Adobe Digital Editions. During activation, you’ll have the option to create an Adobe ID. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, creating one is free and takes less than a minute. An Adobe ID enables you to transfer DRM-protected eBooks between multiple reading devices and restore them after a data loss or system reinstallation (see ‘What is DRM?’). If you don’t create an Adobe ID, the software will still download but you will not be able to download any eBooks until the Adobe ID is created and authorised.
If you are asked to select an ’Ebook Vendor’ when you authorise Adobe Digital Editions, please select ’Adobe ID’ from the drop-down list of ’Ebook Vendors’.
Once you’ve downloaded Adobe Digital Editions, it will appear on your desktop as a new icon. The default setting is that it will open automatically every time you download an eBook from .
To read eBooks with full Adobe DRM (see ‘What is DRM?’) from using Adobe Digital Editions, you will need to authorise your installation of Adobe Digital Editions with a free Adobe ID. An Adobe ID also enables you to transfer DRM-protected eBooks between multiple reading devices and restore them after a data loss or system reinstallation. If you don’t create an Adobe ID, Adobe Digital Editions will still download but you will not be able to read any eBooks with full DRM until the Adobe ID is created and authorised.
To authorise Adobe Digital Editions
- In Adobe Digital Editions, click Help > Authorise Computer and click the ‘Create an Adobe ID’ link to create your Adobe ID. You should use the same email address for your Adobe ID as you used for your eBook purchase from .
- If you are required to select an ‘Ebook Vendor’, please select ‘Adobe ID’ from the drop-down list of ‘Ebook Vendors’.
- Enter the Adobe ID and password you just created with Adobe and click ‘Authorise’
Bluefire Reader is an e-reading application for iOS, Android and Windows tablets and smartphones, enabling the reading of ePub and PDF eBooks. It is used by eBookstores and libraries around the world including ours and it allows you to read eBooks with or without DRM on your iOS device or Android tablet. All the user has to do is authorize the app with a free Adobe ID and sync books either through iTunes or Dropbox to get them in the library. Since the app supports Adobe’s digital rights scheme this is also one of the few apps that can access eBooks on loan from public libraries.
Working out the whole DRM thing can be confusing so we recommend that you view the short User Guide included within the app. It’s very helpful and takes you through the simple steps you need to follow in order to start reading your eBook.
Like other eReading applications and software the Bluefire Reader has a few features that are designed to enhance your reading experience. In our opinion the Bluefire delivers a pleasing, no-nonsense reading experience. You can personalise your reading experience by changing colour themes, line spacing, font choices, and more. You can also create and browse through notes, highlights and bookmarks.
To get Bluefire Reader for iOS, please click here.
To get Bluefire Reader for Android, please click here.
After installing Bluefire Reader, for ebooks with full DRM (see ‘What is DRM?’), you will need to make sure you authorise Bluefire Reader with your Adobe ID (See ‘How do I authorise Bluefire Reader?’).
To read eBooks with full Adobe DRM (see ‘What is DRM?’) from using Bluefire Reader, you will need to authorise your installation of Bluefire Reader with a free Adobe ID. An Adobe ID also enables you to transfer DRM-protected eBooks between multiple reading devices and restore them after a data loss or system reinstallation. If you don’t create an Adobe ID, Bluefire Reader will still download but you will not be able to read any eBooks with full DRM until the Adobe ID is created and authorised.
To authorise Bluefire Reader
- In Bluefire Reader, click the ‘Create a free Adobe ID’ link to create your Adobe ID. You should use the same email address for your Adobe ID as you used for your eBook purchase from .
- Enter the Adobe ID and password you just created with Adobe and click ‘Authorise’
Once you have bought an eBook from (and have installed Adobe Digital Editions, Bluefire or another reader package), you are ready to download your eBook(s) from your ‘My Account’ area. You will receive a link to your My Account area via email after completing your purchase. (See ‘How do I install Adobe Digital Editions?’ and ‘What are the main features of the My Account area?’)
In the ‘My Account’ area, you will see all the eBook titles you’ve purchased from Firsty Express powered eBookstores, with the most recent listed at the top. Below each title you will see a ‘Download’ button to download an ePub version of the eBook, and if available from the publisher, a ‘Download for Kindle’ button to download a mobi version for your Kindle. You should download the appropriate version for your eReader.
You can download a DRM protected eBook from Firsty Express powered sites a maximum of three times. Thereafter, if you want to download it any more times you will need to purchase the eBook again.
If you have any problems downloading an eBook that you’ve bought from , please contact us.
Too see videos explaining how to download and read your eBooks in either Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader, go to our Help Videos page.
Before purchasing, please see 'Can I read eBooks from on my Kindle?' for details of eBooks that can be read on a Kindle.
If you have purchased a Kindle-compatible eBook, to get your eBook onto your Kindle, from your My Account page in Firsty Express, click the 'DOWNLOAD FOR KINDLE' button for the required title to download the .mobi file to your device. You should then use the instructions here to send the .mobi file to the Kindle email address on your Kindle.
To transfer Kindle-compatible eBooks to the Kindle app on iOS, you should log into your First Express account on your iOS device and from your My Account page, click 'DOWNLOAD FOR KINDLE' for the required title. Then on the Open screen on your iOS device, click 'Open in...' and select the Kindle app from the list of apps installed on your device. (If you've already done this on your iOS device before, on the 'Open screen, you should just be able to select 'Open in Kindle'.)
After opening the eBook on your Kindle, you should then be able to sync the eBook to your Kindle cloud, which will enable the book to be read on all of your Kindle devices.
This depends on your computer’s Internet connection. With a typical broadband speed of about 7 Mbps, it should take just a few seconds. You can check your download speed by contacting your broadband supplier.
You can read your eBooks on your computer or you can transfer them to other reading devices. To transfer DRM eBooks from your computer to your eReader, smartphone and/or tablet, in most cases you need to follow this procedure:
- Open Adobe Digital Editions (see ‘What is Adobe Digital Editions?’)
- Go to ‘Library’ and click ‘Library > Add item to library’
- Select the eBook on your computer and click ‘Add’ or ‘Open’
- Close Adobe Digital Editions
- Connect your reading device to your computer using a USB cable (which is supplied with the device)
- Open Adobe Digital Editions
- In ‘Library’, under ‘Bookshelves’, an icon representing your reading device will appear
- Click on the eBook and drag it to the reading device icon
- Disconnect the reading device from your computer
If you have any queries about transferring your eBooks to reading devices, we recommend that you contact the relevant device manufacturer (see ‘Where can I find out more about these reading devices?’)
An eLibrary is where you store your eBooks on your computer. It is therefore also a back-up for all books on your other reading devices.
With Firsty Express powered sites, every time you buy and download an eBook, it is automatically stored in your eLibrary, which is in the ‘My eBooks’ section of your Account area (see ‘What are the main features of the My Account area?’).
The eBook remains on your computer unless you manually delete it. You can re-download your eBook through your ‘My Account’ section. All eBooks you’ve bought from Firsty Express powered sites can be downloaded from ‘My eBooks’.
You can access all eBooks you’ve bought from Firsty Express powered sites at any time by logging into your ‘My Account’ area (see ‘What are the main features of the My Account area?’).
Publishers of some eBooks allow you to print a limited number of pages or all pages, depending on the book. This is built into the DRM (see ‘What is DRM?’). You will need to check with the publisher of the book from which you’d like to print pages.
If the eBook is protected by DRM then you are limited to three devices. Each device needs to be registered on your Adobe ID in order to be allowed to have a DRM-protected eBook on it (see ‘What is DRM?’). If the eBook is DRM free then there is no limit to the number of devices onto which you can download it.
will allow you to download the same eBook title three times. For example, you might want to download a copy onto your desktop, tablet and smartphone. Thereafter, if you want download it a fourth time will need to purchase the eBook again!
This error means you tried to open your eBook in Adobe Reader instead of Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader. You need to download, install and authorise Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire to open and read the eBook because the publisher of this book is using DRM to protect it's content see 'What is DRM'). Please see other sections of our Help or our Help Videos for details of how to do set-up and use either Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader.
On a phone or tablet with Android, for an ePUB format eBook, open the eBook in Bluefire and tap the home button to display the settings options. Then used the ‘+’ sign to increase the text size and tap the Save button when the font size is correct. With an eBook in PDF format, the pinch and zoom technique should be used, but after adjusting the font size, you will need to scroll left and right to read your eBook.
On an iPhone or iPad with iOS, for ePUB format eBooks, to make the text of your ebook bigger, open the eBook in Bluefire, and tap on the text to display the menu options and then tap the ‘wheel’ icon. Then use the ‘+’ sign to increase the text and tap Save. For PDF format eBooks, you can pinch and zoom, but after adjusting the font size, you will need to scroll left and right once you have done this.
For eBooks with strict DRM (see ‘What is DRM?’), if you try to open the eBook in Adobe Reader instead of Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader you will see this error. You should download, and authorise Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire Reader in order to open the eBook file. Please see the our help pages on ‘Downloading eBooks’ and our Help Videos page for details of how to do this.
Yes, to buy eBooks from , you do need to open an account with us. The benefits of having a account (‘My Account’) are:
- faster and easier checkout process
- easy downloading
- retain all payment details
- check download history
The ‘My Account’ area is divided into:
- ‘My eBooks’: for building up your eLibrary and downloading purchased eBooks
- ‘My Account’: for managing your personal details and viewing your purchases