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Before a user can read a DRM-protected book, the user must have an account, activated with either an Adobe ID, provided by Adobe Systems, or with a Vendor ID, provided by an eBook vendor.

You may have up to six different mobile devices activated for a single account, and you can share eBooks across those six devices. You can also have up to six workstation devices activated for an account.

An alternative to an Adobe ID, a Vendor ID is linked to Adobe Content Server and works in much the same way as an Adobe ID. It allows the vendor to create an eBook reader application that uses that vendor’s own method for authenticating customers.

A user could use his or her Vendor ID account to activate a reader application and read eBooks in the user’s personal library, as well as purchase eBooks and see the list of titles in that user’s personal online library. The reader app can use the same information to activate the reader application without requiring the customer to enter an ID code again as in the case of using Adobe ID.

For some businesses, there is a need to create a batch of ID codes for reader applications or devices. In this case, the Vendor ID will allow a vendor to programmatically create user account and then pass the account information to users.

Activation Workflow with Vendor ID

Typically, if a customer does not have a Vendor ID, an RMSDK application asks for a user's Adobe ID and password in order to activate. The app sends the user ID and password to the Adobe Systems signing server for authentication. If successful, the user can start reading books or downloading new books immediately. New books will then be activated with the current Adobe ID account.

When a reader app/device is being activated, the app sends the user ID code and password to the Adobe Systems signing server. For an Adobe ID account, Adobe server will be able to validate the account and respond to the reader app. If the reader app accesses an account using a Vendor ID, the Adobe signing server passes the account information to the vendor's web service. The vendor’s web service validates the user account and responds to the Adobe signing server.

What type of web service should the vendor provide?

Vendors need to implement a 3-4 web service. Details are provided in the spec for Vendor ID that can be obtained from Datalogics. The main service is the authentication service. Vendors need to provide a web service that can accept a POST request to authenticate user ID and password, and respond with the result. The web services URL will be registered with Adobe Systems to allow the Adobe Systems signing server to pass the authentication to the specified services.

How do I activate reader apps with Vendor ID accounts?

RMSDK calls the function InitSignInWorkflow to activate a reader app. In addition to taking the user ID and password (or authdata), you can pass another parameter to specify the Vendor ID name. This parameter can be called authority or method. When a Vendor ID service is registered with Adobe Systems, Adobe assigns a unique readable Vendor name to the service. Instead of using "AdobeID" as the authority or method, you simply pass in this Vendor ID name along with the user name and password maintained by the vendor (not the user’s Adobe ID account). The Vendor ID name provided here will be the key for Adobe signing server to decide which web services to use to authenticate the user account.

Is the account created with the vendor different from an Adobe ID account?

We refer to the user account created with the vendor as Vendor ID account. Most likely this will be an account used to purchase books with the vendor's bookstore. The Vendor ID account has the same access rights when reading eBooks.

What are the limits for device activations?

Each Adobe ID account allows the user to read eBooks on six mobile devices and six standalone devices. The same limit applies to a Vendor ID account. For joint accounts, the combined number of activations is the same; six mobile devices and six standalone devices, or 12 total. If the user has activated six app/devices with one account, the user will not be able to activate more apps/devices after joining with another account.

When this limit has reached, the user should call the vendor to add additional activations.

Joint Accounts

Vendors who implement their own reader apps should consider supporting the joint account feature. This allows a user to combine two or more accounts into a single account.

A user may have more than one Adobe ID or Vendor ID for use to read eBooks. Maybe that user made a simple mistake, setting up an account and then forgetting about the process and creating another one six months later. Or maybe the user started with a Vendor ID for one eBook vendor and then decided to set up another account with a different vendor a few months after that.

As a result the user would find that some of the books in his or her library are associated with one account while other books are associated with another. In this case, the user would be unable to read all the books in his or her personal library without first deactivating your ID for a device and activating that device again with the second ID. The Joint Account feature allows a user to fix that. The user could merge these accounts together to create a single new account. Then, any book that already purchased using either account can be read using any device that has been activated for either account.

The new Joint Account is permanent.

After the accounts are joined, the user can activate a reader app with one of the joint accounts and will be able to read books fulfilled with other joint accounts. This is particularly important to allow users to join their Adobe ID account with their Vendor ID account so books previously bought under the Adobe ID account can be read while using the vendor's reader app with Vendor ID account.

Note that if a user joins two accounts with two devices each, and each account has its own library of eBooks, all of the eBooks available on all four of these devices will be associated with the new joint account. All of them will be available from any of the devices associated with that joined account.

But remember that each Adobe or Vendor ID may have no more than six devices activated for that account, and joined accounts are also limited to six activated devices. So if a user wants to create a joint account that supports more than six devices, such as joining one account that supports five devices to another account that supports four, one of those accounts will not be activated. The user will not be able to open any of the eBooks included in the library for that account. In that event the user should contact Customer Service at Adobe Systems to ask them to reset the activations for the account.

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