Adobe Digital Editions and E_ACT_TOO_MANY_ACTIVATIONS error

January 12, 2014

Good morning readers.  I have just spent a very frustrating morning and am hoping my experiences will help some of you save some time and irritation.

A few days ago, I borrowed an ebook from the library, via Overdrive.  Overdrive uses Adobe DRM (digital rights management) as its system to prevent your copying/sharing the books you’ve borrowed.  What it means, essentially, is that you must go through the Adobe Digital Editions software to transfer your books to your ereader.

The process goes something like this:

  1. Download Adobe Digital Editions to your PC or Mac
  2. Authorise ADE with an Adobe account (on the Mac it’s under the Help menu) – you may need to set one up if you don’t have one
  3. In ADE authorize each device you wish to use (it’s one of the right click menu items)
  4. When you borrow (or in some cases buy) a book it will download an ACSM file which when clicked will open the book in ADE.
  5. Transfer the book via ADE to your device via USB.

Once it’s set up, in future steps 4 and 5 are all that are needed to read the book on your device.

Anyway, when I borrowed the book yesterday, it worked without issue and I was happily reading the book this morning on my Kobo Aura.  Suddenly, my Kobo decided it needed a reset.  Annoying, but no big deal until I realised it had lost the ADE authorisation.  I tried to go through steps 1-3 but got the error E_ACT_TOO_MANY_ACTIVATIONS, meaning that I had too many devices registered under my Adobe ID.  I had forgotten to deauthorise my old ereaders when I rehomed them.

This was the point at which my frustration started.  A quick Google search suggests you need to contact Adobe to resolve this issue.  Most information directs you to this page.  However when you click on Chat now, ADE is not one of the options listed.  Choosing Adobe Reader (which seemed the closest one) tells you politely that it’s a free software and to take a hike and check out the forums.  The forums redirect you to Contact Adobe…

I tried everything I could think of, including deauthorising and reauthorising my Mac (Cmd Shift D) to no avail.  In the end I went into the chat and chose Adobe Services as the option.  Very quickly I got through to an Adobe rep who understood the problem immediately and fixed the issue.  Within a minute or two I had reauthorised my Kobo and as a bonus my Kindle Fire.

As I had reauthorised my Mac I had to repeat steps 4 and 5 again, but I was finally back reading my book.

So dear readers, the moral of this tale is, don’t forget to deauthorise your devices from ADE if you rehome them and don’t wait to contact Adobe to have this issue resolved.

Good luck.

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