Adobe on Tuesday released Adobe Digital Editions 1.0, a new application for managing, acquiring and reading eBooks, digital newspapers, and other digital publications. Adobe is making the software available as a free download from its Web site.
“We are seeing a tremendous amount of growth in this market, even though the general feeling may be that eBooks fizzled away in 2000,” Bill McCoy, general manager of Adobe’s ePublishing Business, told Macworld. “We were told very clearly that users didn’t want to be limited to the browser for content, but they didn’t want to have to download huge files either.”
Weighing in at 2.5MB, Adobe Digital Editions has native support for Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) and XML-based publications, which means it is already compatible with 150,000 commercially published titles, according to Adobe.
Adobe Digital Editions differs from reading a PDF document in a couple of significant ways. First, when a digital document is resized for different screen sizes, the text and images will actually reflow to fit the screen. The software also features support for Flash, allowing integration of rich audio and video.
Other features of the software is the ability to annotate content through bookmarks, highlights and text notes, as well as a library view for organizing multiple bookshelves.
Adobe said that the beta of Digital Editions has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in less than six months. In addition, the company said that publishers and retailers have shown their support and Sony has committed to embed Adobe Digital Editions technology into its portable reader product line.
“We don’t think of digital publishing as digitizing books, but creating new content,” said McCoy.
Adobe is also offering publishers a way to protect their content with Adobe Digital Editions Protection Technology. Adobe said the new hosted content protection service will guard publisher’s rights while maintaining ease-of-use for consumers.
Adobe Digital Editions requires Mac OS X version 10.3.9 (or higher), a 500MHz or faster PowerPC G4 or G5 processor and 128 MB of RAM. For Intel based Macintosh systems, Adobe Digital Editions requires Mac OS X version 10.4.8 (or higher), 500MHz or faster processor and 128 MB of RAM.