BooksOnBoard is Closed – Download Your Purchased eBooks Now!


Since launching in 2006, BooksOnBoard has been one of the more popular independent bookstores to buy ebooks from (audiobooks too), especially for international buyers.

But as of yesterday, BooksOnBoard has stopped selling ebooks. Access to their ebookstore has been shut down entirely. The only thing that you can do is log into your account and download past purchases.

This is part of the statement on their website:

Please sign in on the login page to download books you have purchased. BooksOnBoard has temporarily stopped selling books. We are re-structuring to compete more effectively against Goliaths who have entered our marketplace since we first launched in 2006, i.e., Amazon, Apple, Google, Sony and Barnes & Noble.

We expect to be back with our new business model soon. Meanwhile, customers can continue to download their prior purchases as long as the publisher and their distributors continue to make them available – same as always and out of our control. As in the past, it’s always wise to download your eBooks as soon as possible after purchase.

It goes without saying: if you’ve ever bought ebooks or audiobooks from BooksOnBoard, now would be the time to go and download backup copies in case they shut down entirely.

Right now BooksOnBoard is expecting to restructure their company and reopen their virtual doors in the future, but that seems rather optimistic. You never know which way the wind is going to blow with cases like this, especially with reports that they’ve been neglecting to make payments to some publishers for awhile now.

It’s sad to see smaller independent bookstores like this struggling to remain afloat, but that’s the nature of the business. And it goes to show how important it is to always download backup copies of your purchased ebooks so that they don’t disappear into oblivion if the place you bought them from happens to go under.

5 Responses to “BooksOnBoard is Closed – Download Your Purchased eBooks Now!”

  1. Nathan,

    What you’re recommending is only a short term fix at best. It’s the future availability of the purchased digital rights to use the e-book title that’s the issue.

    Right now BooksOnBoard has their Adobe DRM server up, running and can issue you a token file to download and install a title you’ve purchased and that works fine with authorizing a computer or e-book reading device.

    The issue that will arise is when you go to upgrade to new devices in the future. When you decommission an old computer or e-book reading device you’ll need access to an Adobe DRM server with your purchased digital rights in order to transfer a title to the new device. If this server is no longer available then you lose the rights and the money you’ve paid for the title.

    Can you imagine buying a physical book from Borders Books and then have someone show up at your house to reclaim the book because Borders went out of business? Digital copies should not be any different and the bigger issue with DRM is going to be how those purchased rights get transferred to another distributor when one distributor goes out of business.

    I think this is uncharted territory since it probably has not happened before. Do you know of any other instances?

  2. Jim: you shouldn’t need to access any servers in order to transfer an e-book to a device. The device will already have been authorized for your account by Adobe’s DRM servers (not the bookseller’s), and the e-book will have been encoded for your account by the bookseller when you originally downloaded it.

    I can copy purchased Adobe EPUBs to my NOOK by simply drag’n’drop in Windows Explorer. No server access needed.

    As far as happening before, a number of e-bookstores have already gone out of business. Borders is the obvious one, but they had it easy because Kobo was running their e-book store and quickly picked up the Borders customers. Then there’s the B&N trio FictionWise/, which B&N is struggling to migrate to, and Amazon’s MobiPocket [I have no idea what’s going on there].

    A number of other e-book stores have simply shut down. CoolerBooks didn’t make it long after the Agency Model debacle, and Cyberread and Ereadable have disappeared in the last year or so.

    I think there’s a issue that’s masked by a lot of this: the consumer’s belief that they should be able to redownload. All of the e-book stores provide redownloading as a convenience — and BoB is recommending that their customers do so post haste — but it’s not a “right” and it’s not something that the bookseller can guarantee. When Dorchester Publishing was going under, I snapped up e-book copies of the rest of the Gabriel Hunt series. No surprise to ME, I can’t redownload those any more. That might have come as an unpleasant surprise to a lot of people.

    DRM does suck, and it often makes dealing with e-books less convenient than it should be. But unless your e-book is protected with a dead DRM system — Microsoft LIT, Sony LRF, eReader/B&N PDB, etc. — you shouldn’t need to resort to illegal means to be able to move and read it.

  3. Doug,

    I understand what you’re saying and the example works for migrating between e-book readers, because the digital rights have been granted to your specific computer and the computer in turn acts like a server and grants rights to the e-book reader. You use your computer to activate and revoke rights to individual e-reader devices.

    The concern that I have and maybe I wasn’t clear in my post, is moving DRM e-books from one computer to another. While you can copy the files to the new computer, you won’t be able to open them or transfer them to an e-book reader without the DRM server being in place with your personal rights and that requires a new download.

    If you know how this can work without the process I’ve described above then please educate me about it and I’ll stand as being corrected.


    Jim Savitz

    • Jim, there should be no need to redownload. Just authorize your new computer (I think Adobe calls it ‘activate’ when it’s a computer) using Adobe Digital Editions, and you can import your existing e-books directly into your ADE library (if you want them in there).

      With Adobe’s DRM, a computer is authorized for an Adobe user account. This involves Adobe Digital Editions contacting Adobe when you initially authorize (activate?) the computer. [On Windows, at least, each user can have a different Adobe account.]

      Once that is done, ADE can be used to authorize other devices — e-readers, etc. — to the same account as the computer.

      When you download an e-book, the bookseller encrypts it to the user account that the computer or device is currently authorized to. The downloaded e-book can be opened only by computers and devices that are authorized for that account.

      It’s reported that every now and again, ADE will check in with Adobe to be sure that your account hasn’t been canceled. Other than that, reading (and copying) e-books you’ve already downloaded doesn’t involve any communications with anybody.

      In general, you can simply copy Adobe-DRMed e-books around. You can only open one on devices that are authorized to the account that the e-book is encrypted for.

      The exception to that “just copy” rule is e-books with time limits: library checkouts, limited-time advance reader copies, etc. For those e-books, you’ll need to have them in your ADE library and use ADE to move them onto the device. That’s because ADE has to set up the time limit on the destination device.

  4. Doug,

    Thank you so much for clarifying this. It makes me feel more confident about being able to protect my purchases. This makes sense. That’s a big benefit to the Adobe DRM platform compared to proprietary ones like Zinio.

    I never truely understood the mechanics of how the Adobe DRM worked.