updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue October 24, 2006
Adobe Digital Editions
Adobe today released Adobe Digital Editions Beta, a rich internet application for digital publishing that allows users to acquire, read, and manage content including eBooks, digital magazines, and other digital publications. Digital Editions is designed to deliver a straightforward user experience for reading and managing commercially-published digital publications. The software builds on the Adobe eBook capabilities integrated into previous versions of Adobe Reader, taking them further by adding the ability to incorporate Flash interactivity and rich media. Adobe Digital Editions Beta is initially available as a free download for Microsoft Windows, though the company announced plans to distribute an initial public beta for Mac OS X during the fourth calendar quarter of 2006. Adobe plans to unveil Digital Editions beta at Adobe MAX 2006 on October 24th in Las Vegas, offering the software as a free download from the Adobe Labs website.
Digital Editions natively supports PDF as well as an XHTML-based reflow-centric publication format designed to represent dynamic content that is easily adapted to different sized displays. The application offers support for Flash SWF to enable new levels of interactivity and rich media delivery, according to Adobe. The Digital Editions beta includes integration with Adobe Acrobat 8 and Reader 8, which can install and launch Digital Editions from within their user interface.
"Digital Editions will integrate with a new, hosted content authorization service to protect publisher's rights while maintaining superior ease-of-use for consumers. This new Adobe Digital Editions Protection Service, based on Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server, will allow publishers to choose from a flexible array of business models, with user-ID-based authorization that provides an improved user experience over competitive DRM models. Digital Editions also supports Adobe Content Server DRM, delivering full compatibility with existing protected PDF content and infrastructure."
PDF/A and an XHTML subset (enhanced OEBPS with OCF packaging) are the two publication-level content types supported by Digital Editions, according to Adobe. Users can reference SWF content and common image file types within PDF and XHTML-based publications. The company notes, however, that SWF content is not supported in the initial beta release, and that XHTML support is experimental, pending finalization of the upcoming revision of the OEBPS standard.
The new software is designed to support a wide range of business models including public domain texts (open content), ad-supported content, library lending, and other borrowing/subscription models, as well as the purchase of eBooks alongside digital content. Digital Editions integrates with a new hosted content authorization service to protect publisher's rights while maintaining ease-of-use for consumers. The new Adobe Digital Editions Protection Service -- which is based on LiveCycle Policy Server -- allows publishers to choose from a flexible array of business models with user-ID-based authorization.