Digital Books and eBooks

Harvard Education press publishes eBooks in a variety of formats. We offer digital versions of books from our website directly that can be read online or downloaded for access via Adobe Digital Editions. Digital books can be purchased from book product pages when eBook editions are available.

If you are looking for a different eBook experience that is compatible with Kindle, Kobo, or other ereader apps, please purchase from one of our retail partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

I purchased a digital book from your website and it says I can read it online—how does this work? 

HEP now offers digital versions of books using the browser-based Online Reader developed by You don’t need to download any software to use the Online Reader because the reader allows your book to open in the same browser you use to surf the web. It is compatible with all major browsers.

I purchased a digital book on the website—how do I download it?

All customers who purchase a digital book from our website directly have the option to read online or download. If you choose the download option, please follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Install the free Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) application, which is required to open the book file. You can install ADE from the Adobe website; follow this link to find the installer for your corresponding device (PC, Mac, Android, or Apple phone or tablet):

STEP 2: Once you have installed ADE, you can download and open the digital book file. The download link for your digital book is on the confirmation page that appears immediately following your completed purchase as well as in a confirmation email. Click the button that says: “download digital book.”

The download experience will vary depending on the device you are on. Generally, you will need to find the file in your downloads folder (the file type will end with .acsm) and open it in the Adobe Digital Editions app.

  • On iOS, please note that after opening the .acsm file in your browser downloads, you will need to press the “share” button and choose to share it/open it in the Adobe Digital Editions app. If you do not yet have the ADE app, you will not be able to open the file until you install ADE.

STEP 3: When you open the file in ADE, Adobe Digital Editions will prompt you to authenticate your account.

The Adobe Digital Editions software includes single-user digital rights management that requires the user to create an Adobe ID before accessing the content. Downloaded eBooks from HEP can only be accessed by a single user ID, however up to six unique devices may be registered per ID, so you can backup, copy, or transfer digital content between devices. After the Adobe Digital Editions software has been installed and you have registered a valid ID with Adobe software, the content will remain accessible, even offline.

For further information on using Adobe’s Digital Editions software, please consult the Adobe’s Digital Editions FAQ. If you require additional assistance, please reach out to our customer service team

I need more detailed instructions on how to open and use the digital book download. Can you help?

Please see this page for more instructions: Digital Books: Download Troubleshooting.

Why do I need to have Adobe Digital Editions to download digital books from your website? 

Our goal at HEP is to serve our readers and authors by allowing a convenient way to purchase digital books from our website directly. However, to protect the copyright of our titles, this purchase process also requires us to place restrictions on how books can be viewed and accessed. Adobe Digital Editions is an industry standard for reading digital books and ensuring our authors’ intellectual property stays protected.

The download option is completely optional, and all books purchased from our website are also available to read in the Online Reader from No software is required to read in this way and you can access the book instantly.

Kindle and Kobo versions of our eBooks are still available through many retail partners. If this is more in line with your expectations for a reading experience, we encourage you to purchase eBooks from those partners instead.

As a small university press and nonprofit organization, we appreciate your understanding and support.

Do you have accessible eBooks? 

Accessible e-books are available through our partner, Bookshare, an online library for people with print disabilities. Titles not currently available on Bookshare’s list can be requested by special order through their website.

Can I get a refund for my digital book purchase? 

Eligible digital book purchases from can be returned within 24 hours. Harvard Education Press reserves the right to deny return requests at our discretion. Please contact our team at or 888-437-1437 with questions.

eBooks purchased from our retail partners are subject to the respective partner’s refund policies. Customers should reach out to the contact associated with their point of purchase.

I want an eBook that I can read on my Kindle—how do I get that? 

For eBooks that can be downloaded to a Kindle, Kobo, or similar ereaders and apps, please visit our retail partners. Such partners include the following:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Apple Books
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bookshare
  • EBSCOhost
  • Google Play Books
  • Kobo
  • VitalSource