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Old 12-18-2010, 02:41 PM   #1
wallcraft
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Reading Adobe ePub on the Desktop

Adobe has a list of Digital Editions Supported Devices, which includes Desktop apps for Windows and Mac. These are all based on mobile Adobe Digital Editions, so they are more similar to each other than to Desktop ADE. The list often includes unreleased devices and apps, and is not complete, but there are now several alternatives to Desktop ADE.

Two listed apps that don't seem to be alternatives are Txtr PC and Mac Application 3.2 and Kobo Desktop for Windows. I can't find the Txtr app, and the Kobo app seems to only support Kobo ebooks. Let me know if there is a way to read Adobe DRMed ebooks (or any non-Kobo ebooks) using the Kobo app, and I'll include it as the 4th viable alternative app.

The original mobile ADE on Windows app is the Sony Reader Library (Windows & Mac). It emulates a generic (Sony Reader like) device with a 600x800 screen. So it is the best alternative for testing an ebook targeted to reading devices. It would be an even better tester if it allowed a rotated landscape view.

The NOOK for PC app only reads B&N DRM, but NOOKstudy (Windows and Mac) reads both B&N DRM and Adobe DRM for ePubs (even though it is not on Adobe's list). It also allows you to select between 6 default fonts, and is overall a good alternative to NOOK4PC.

COPIA's reading device plans are now much reduced, but the COPIA Desktop Reader (Windows or Mac) is available and works well. You have to sign up for an account to use the reader, and for some reason the "federal government" (not clear which country) requires COPIA to collect dates of birth, which I have never had to provide at other ebook stores. You do get seven free ebooks, including Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut which I used as a DRM-ridden test ebook.

This isn't a detailed review of all three alternatives to Desktop ADE. For example, I did not test that all three can fulfill .acsm "tickets" from non-affiliated ebook stores, although I believe that they all can do so. None can authorize non-affiliated USB-connected devices, so they are not complete replacements for Desktop ADE.

All three have Windows and Mac versions, but no Linux version. This probably isn't for technical reasons (since most EInk devices are Linux-based). It might be resistance from Adobe, but it is more likely a shared judgment on Linux market share on the Desktop. I think it would be worth one provider (perhaps COPIA) to break from the pack and fully support Linux on the Desktop. At least there are now 4 Windows apps to try under WINE.

The screenshots are from Slaughterhouse-Five using Sony, B&N, COPIA and Adobe DE.
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