How to Download ACSM Files with Calibre ACSM Plugin

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Now, aside from Adobe Digital Editions, you have another option for downloading ACSM files, thanks to a brilliant individual who developed a third-party Calibre ACSM plugin, also known as DeACSM. This Calibre plugin enables you to effortlessly convert ACSM files into EPUB or PDF formats without relying on Adobe Digital Editions. Below is a step-by-step tutorial to guide you through the process of downloading ACSM files to DRM-free EPUB/PDF files without the need for ADE.

how to download acsm files without ade

1. What You Need to Know about ACSM Files?

1What is An ACSM File?

An ACSM(Adobe Content Server Message) file is commonly used in the e-book industry to distribute and manage digital rights for eBooks. The ACSM file is not the e-book itself but is instead a download link that contains information about the eBook, including its title, author, and publisher, as well as the encryption key required to access the eBook from the online bookstore or library server.

what is an acsm file

2Which Online Book Retailers Use ACSM Files?

ACSM files are commonly used by big online book retailers and libraries that offer eBooks for purchase or borrowing. Here are some book retailers that use ACSM files: Adobe Digital Editions Store, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play Books, Booktopia, OverDrive, etc.

3Why Need to Use ADE to Download ACSM Files?

ADE is a free software application developed by Adobe that is used to manage and read digital publications. ADE supports a variety of e-book formats, including the ACSM file format. Since ACSM files are not the actual eBook files, but they contain information about the eBook. However, ADE is designed to handle ACSM files. ADE can connect to the online bookstore or library server to download and activate the eBook file because it handles the extraction of the encryption key, downloads the eBook file, activates the DRM protection, and provides a platform for reading and managing the eBook.

4Does ACSM File Have DRM Protection?

Yes, usually, ACSM files have Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection, which is used to prevent unauthorized copying, sharing, and distribution of eBooks. The DRM protection is applied to the actual eBook file that is downloaded using the ACSM file. It's worth noting that not all eBooks use DRM protection, and some eBook retailers or publishers may offer DRM-free options.

2. How to Download ACSM Files with Calibre ACSM Plugin?

As previously understood, ACSM files traditionally require Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) for download to EPUB or PDF formats. However, with the introduction of the Calibre DEACSM plugin, you can now download ACSM files directly to your computer without the need for ADE. Notably, this plugin also facilitates DRM removal from your eBooks. To navigate through the entire process seamlessly, follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1Download Calibre to your PC/Mac

Calibre is a free and open-source e-book management software that allows users to organize, convert, edit, and read e-books on their computers. The software supports a wide range of e-book formats, including DOCX, EPUB, TXT, PDF, and many others.

calibre ui

Step 2Download Calibre ACSM Plugin

With the third-party plugin, Calibre gains the superpower to extend the functionality of the Calibre software in various ways, including automating tasks, removing DRM protection, converting e-books to different formats, and more. So does this Calibre ACSM Plugin, which allows users to turn ACSM files into EPUBs or PDFs just like ADE would.

Step 3Load Calibre ACSM Plugin to Calibre

Launch calibre, then go to Preferences (in Calibre toolbar) > Plugins > Load plugin from file. After successful DeACSM plugin installation, you need to restart calibre for the plugin to take effect.

Step 4Setup DeACSM Plugin to Authorize ADE

After restarting Calibre, you need to open the DeACSM plugin settings to authorize the plugin with your Adobe ID account in order to prepare for it to work. There are four options to authorize this ACSM plugin:

setup deacsm plugin

1. You can click on Link to ADE account and enter your Adobe ID credentials to link your Calibre installation to your Adobe ID account. This uses up one of your available activations.

2. You can click on Create anonymous authorization to create an anonymous authorization. Make sure to create backups of that authorization.

3. If you have ADE installed and activated on your machine, you can click Import activation from ADE to clone the existing activation from your ADE installation.

4. If you have used this plugin before, you can click on Import existing activation backup to import a previously created activation backup (ZIP) file to restore an activation. This functionality can also be used to clone one activation to multiple computers.

Since we have installed and activated ADE on our computer before, so we chose the third option to authorize ADE. If you don't have an Adobe ID account to authorize ADE, you can create a new Adobe ID here.

During authorization, the plugin may ask you for the ADE version to emulate. Usually, you can leave this setting as it is (ADE 2.0.1).

choose the correct ade version

Tips: If you authorize ADE with the wrong Adobe ID or choose the wrong authorization option, you can find the DeACSM plugin under the File type, then double click it, next press Ctrl + Shift + D keyboard to pop up the setup windows. You can remove the ADE authorization by clicking Yes.

remove the ade authorization

Step 5Turn ACSM File into EPUB/PDF directly without ADE

After you’ve activated the DeACSM plugin, then just drag and drop ACSM files into Calibre and they'll turn into EPUBs or PDFs depending on the output format you chose earlier when exporting the files from the ebook vendor's website. BTW, some ebook vendors may only provide EPUB output files.

drmed ade files

As is shown in the above screenshot, the cover has not been displayed successfully. And when you try to open this EPUB via calibre e-book viewer, it says “This book has DRM.” How did this happen?

the book has drm

Correct! The Calibre ACSM plugin can only turn ACSM files into DRM-protected EPUBs or PDFs. And the DRM-protected EPUBs or PDFs can still be opened with ADE. Here comes to the most essential part: how can I remove DRM from these EPUB/PDF files? In order to download ACSM files into DRM-free EPUBs or PDFs for good, you need to use the Calibre ACSM plugin with another DeDRM plugin.

Tips: How Can I Identify whether the ADE Files Are Encrypted or Not?

Generally speaking, if the downloaded ebook file is saved as a .acsm file, then this file is DRM-protected. If it is saved as EPUB or PDF file directly, then this ADE file has no DRM.

whether ade files has drm or not

Step 6Download DeDRM Plugin to Your Computer

The DeDRM Plugin can help you remove DRM from Kindle ebooks, ADE ePubs, and PDFs. Unzip the DeDRM Plugin and you will get this:

unzip dedrm plugin

Step 7Import DeDRM Plugin to Calibre

Open Calibre's Preferences dialog. Click on the "Plugins" button > "Load plugin from file" > Navigate to the unzipped DeDRM_tools folder > Select the file "DeDRM_plugin.zip" and select "Open"> Click "Yes" in the "Are you sure?" dialog box > Click the "OK" button in the "Success" dialog box. Then restart Calibre to let this plugin take effect.

Step 8Remove DRM from EPUB/PDF Files

Now all it’s set up. Drag and drop the ACSM files to Calibre again, boom~ DRM is removed instantly. Now you can convert DRM-free EPUB and PDF files to other formats as well.

drm free ade files

As you can see, the Calibre ACSM plugin is a super useful tool to help you download ACSM files to EPUB/PDF files without ADE. So you can read them on your preferred e-reader device or reading apps. If you find the whole process is difficult for you to operate, you can use Epubor Ultimate to remove DRM from your ACSM files instead.

Download Epubor Ultimate for Free


decrypt googleplay book


crafts informative articles on eBooks and eReaders, uncovering optimal methods to enhance your eBook reading experience, and eagerly shares her findings with you.

04/16/2023 07:21:10
Unforntunately, following these instructions exactly as they are will not result in removing the drm from an acsm file dragged and dropped into Calibre after adding the extension. All you get is a message that "...no supported resource format was found." Maybe that is because my OS is Ubuntu Linux?
04/17/2023 11:03:59
Thanks for contacting me. I'm sorry that we can not make sure that all books downloaded by Calibre ACSM plugin can be decrypted. I suggest that you'd better download the books by ADE and then use our software to remove the drm. Thank you.
04/16/2023 07:21:11
Unforntunately, following these instructions exactly as they are will not result in removing the drm from an acsm file dragged and dropped into Calibre after adding the extension. All you get is a message that "...no supported resource format was found." Maybe that is because my OS is Ubuntu Linux?
06/30/2023 15:21:13
Worked great (Windows), explanation is very well writen for a newcommer as myself, thanks a lot
07/3/2023 10:11:08

Thank you! I'm glad that this article can help you.

Any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
best regards
Epubor Team

07/19/2023 00:50:27
Trying to load the DeDRM plug-in in Step 6 gives an "invalid plug-in" error....
07/19/2023 10:08:46


May I ask where you downloaded the plugin?
Please download the DeDRM plug-in from the website we mentioned in this article, and then import it again.

Any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us via support@epubor.com.

Best regards,
Epubor Team

08/22/2023 18:04:45
Thank you! Worked great, written in details step by step, it's easy! I was so annoyed that I can't read the book I bought on my Kindle cause it was ACSM with DRM, bless you:)
09/22/2023 00:19:11
I've got the next message: "asn1crypto.zip' is invalid. It does not contain a top-level __init__.py file"
09/22/2023 11:09:01

Hello, thanks for your comment.

If you have any questions or concerns when you use Epubor software, please feel free to contact us via support@epubor.com.

Best regards,
Epubor Team

11/30/2023 01:52:53
Receiving the same error.
11/30/2023 10:51:26

Hello, thanks for your comment

Can you provide a screenshot to show the error message and send it to us via support@epubor.com?

We will identify the issue and help you solve your problem as soon as possible. Thank you!

Best regards,
Epubor Team

12/2/2023 08:06:46
Thank you so much
05/10/2024 11:36:26
Worked like a charm! I used Ultimate but ADE became unstable after several install/reboots/uninstalls. Found this work around. I still love Ultimate
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