How to read an eBook – they’re the future you know

First, get logged in through the paywall – I used an Athens password, so find a student to help you.

This is what you get. It looks like the book should load in the big empty space, but it doesn’t.


Click on some of the links down the side… oh they download PDFs. Not one per chapter. One per heading. Some of the sections are merely a page long… so that’s 1 PDF per page people.

They all have handy file names so that you can check what you’re reading, look:


If you can work out which page is which, and you have Acrobat Pro, you can combine these into one readable document. Ok, so it’s taken me 10 minutes now to stitch together the acknowledgements. Let’s try Chapter 1…

Here are the headings – click on any heading and the reader fires you over a PDF document.


Here’s the stitch:

Download this file

Ah, as we can see here, clicking on a heading just loads page 1 of that heading. Not useful. This isn’t really happening for me; let’s try the handy “download multiple pages” option instead:


Oh, we’re only allowed 10 pages at a time. Well no worries, I’ll grab a section at a time using this feature. Only the interface doesn’t tell me the page numbers for all of the sections. Right. This is getting tricky now, but I know what to do: just download 1-10, 11-20, etc. and stitch them.

Or not:


Ah, it seems that accessing my book is inappropriate. I might just give up and order another one from Amazon.

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Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research:

  • Jon Hickman

    Someone has quite rightly pointed out that putting a PDF of parts of the book in the post is a bit naughty. Here’s why I did it:I made an executive decision when I was doing this that there’s so much missing content, the PDF is not a threat to anyone’s revenue. It’s also a small sample, and used only to illustrate the problem. The combination of the editorial context, minimal content, and the text being disjointed should constitute fair use on this occasion. There is no intent to infringe copyright for any other purpose, and the post is supposed to be educational and highlight an issue.I would actually welcome a take down notice if anyone wanted to make representations because it would lead to some interesting conversations around eBook DRM.