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Two quick ways to read library e-books on your iPhone or iPad with Bluefire

The Bluefire e-reader for iPhone made a big splash last week because it's a free app that can read DRM-protected e-books, like the ones offered by many public libraries. We've reviewed Bluefire and shown you how to get borrowed e-books onto your iPhone, but there are two better and faster ways to accomplish this, without opening Adobe Digital Editions on your computer or syncing with iTunes. Whether these methods work depends on the e-book format your particular library uses, but they work with one of the most common formats, EPUB.

Method #1: Dropbox

If you have Dropbox installed (and if you don't, why the heck not?) you can get a library e-book onto your phone and start reading in just three quick steps. Make sure you've got Dropbox on both your computer and your iPhone or iPad, and that the Dropbox app is running on your computer.

Step 1: Download the e-book from your library. Save it in the Dropbox folder (or one of its sub-folders) on your computer. My local library delivers books in the .ACSM format, which Bluefire can use to download the EPUB book. This should work just as well if your library gives you the EPUB file directly.

Step 2: Open up Dropbox on your iOS device and navigate to the book you just downloaded. Click the "open with" arrow, and Bluefire should pop up. Click on it, and your book will open in Bluefire.

Step 3: You don't have to do this step every time, but the first time you open a DRM'd e-book with Bluefire, you'll have to sign into (or sign up for) an Adobe account. It's free, and you can do it from right within Bluefire. Once that's done, you're all set.

Now, whenever you download a book from your library's website, it'll sync automatically to your iOS device via Dropbox. Easy peasy!

Method #2: Email

For the non-Dropbox-inclined amongst us, there's always good old-fashioned email. It's not as automatic as Dropbox, but users of iOS 4.1 and up can send themselves an e-book file as an email attachment. Clicking on the attachment in the iOS Mail app should pop up an "Open With" dialogue that lets you select Bluefire.

The advantage of this method is that it doesn't require you to set up Dropbox. The disadvantage is that you have to send an email every time you want to sync a book, rather than just saving it to a specific folder and letting Dropbox do the rest.

Tags: bluefire, dropbox, e-books, e-reader, how-to, howtos, ipad, iPhone, library