Vivebooks are published as PDF files delivered as a download to your computer or as a CD or DVD (physical product) sent to you in the mail. The book is identical however you buy it. We use pdf files as they give you additional benefits over other ebook formats:
Many of our recent publications contain video (sometimes audio) clips embedded in the file. These are fully compatible with PC and Mac computers as well as devices such as tablets running iOS (e.g. iPad), Android or Kindle platforms. You do need to make sure that you use the right software to view the files, which means Adobe Acrobat Reader for the Mac or PC, the latest Dropbox app on iOS (5.2.2 or later) or Android—please see our FAQ page for more information about this. These publications work well on recent devices with up-to-date software and enough memory. Older devices or those only with minimum memory may struggle. It is always going to be easier to download and view these publications on computers/laptops with larger screens and capacity to deal with large files. Even if you want to view the file on a tablet or phone, it is easier to download it to a computer first and then transfer/sync it.
The PDF files vary in size so that those with a larger video element may be 600Mb to over 1Gb whereas those without may be 50–100Mb. When you pay for a download, you will immediately be sent an email confirmation of your order that contains a secure download link. If you don’t receive this, please check your SPAM filter before contacting us. If you opt for a download the files are streamed from an Amazon server—as fast as we can manage but the download speed may be limited by your Internet connection. Downloading a large file may take up to 2 hours or more if your connection is fairly slow. We hope you will agree it is worth the wait to get high quality photos and all the video clips. If you are concerned about the download and can wait a couple of days, please order the physical product and we will ship it to you first class/airmail asap. For further information, please Contact Us.
Your ebook purchase will give you a limited number of download attempts before it times out. When you click on the download link you will typically get a ‘black’ screen but if you leave it several minutes you will start to see a bar appearing in the middle of the screen as the file downloads (depending on your browser, this bar may not appear). It can often look as though nothing is happening while the download is streaming to your computer so please don’t start another download unless your connection has been cut off or you have received a failure notification. If you click again, you will cancel the download in progress and start a new one.
Once downloaded, your ebook will appear in your browser; then use ‘Save as’, to move it to a folder where you can open it with Adobe Reader (this also takes a few minutes). By default, your computer will often store downloaded files in the ‘Downloads’ folder, so please check in there. You may need to ‘refresh’ the view of the contents of Downloads to see it – click on a different folder and open that, then go back to Downloads and open that. It can also take your computer a little while to process and open the file when it has downloaded – opening such large files can be slow if your computer is a bit older or only has limited memory. If you have run out of download attempts without getting your purchase, please contact us and we will help you get it.
It’s best to copy the file from ‘Downloads’ to somewhere on your computer that you can find it easily. To open the file, DON’T just click on it. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader, then in Reader, go to ‘File’ (top left), ‘Open’ and navigate to where you have saved your ebook. The reason for this is that otherwise your computer will probably try to open the ebook with a different program that won’t play the video. Acrobat may need to download and install Flash player for the videos. This is also fine but please make sure that you download Flash player not the plugin for Chrome as this is not needed.
You may also be asked to ‘enable 3D content’ and/or to ‘trust’ the file. These are both fine to do, they are security settings on your computer to make sure that you don’t open a video with malicious content. Acrobat often takes a while to sort itself out to play the video the first time you enable it (faster if you copy the file to your hard drive from a CDROM) and it may show as ‘not responding’ but it will . . . eventually, and be faster in the future. If Adobe Acrobat is slow or seems to have frozen, this is usually sorted by closing and re-opening Adobe Acrobat and the file.
We have had a very few comments from people working on a Mac who get just a white space where the video should be, in spite of following all the instructions. This seems to be a problem with downloading using Safari. If you get this error, please try your download again using a different browser – Google Chrome or Firefox.
Our experience suggests that it is often quicker and simpler to download your chosen ebook to a computer first, then transfer/sync it to your tablet, using Dropbox if possible as this will then also play the file. For advice on how to sync the file from your computer to the tablet, see the FAQ page. If you want to download directly to your iPad/tablet, here are the instructions as the standard apps can’t cope (the browsers quit before completing the download of our large files that include video).
Basic Instructions for iOS and Android