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Old 11-24-2007, 04:13 PM   #1
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What will Adobe Digital Editions do for Sony owners?

I've been reading with great interest about the possibility of Adobe Digital Editions becoming available on the PRS-505 sometime next year. What would this imply for Sony owners?
  • Does it mean we'd be able to read "Adobe Reader" books?
  • Are these books basically DRMed PDFs? (If so, would they be legible in the 505's 6" screen?)
  • Are there any news (official or otherwise) of major publishers using (or planning to use) Adobe's epub implementation?

I'm mainly interested in having an alternative to Sony's Connect store for commercial ebooks. Will Adobe DE give us that option?
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Old 11-25-2007, 02:24 AM   #2
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I'm mainly interested in having an alternative to Sony's Connect store for commercial ebooks. Will Adobe DE give us that option?
Conceivably it could, it depends a good deal on how Adobe implements mobile DE, and how the industry responds.

Adobe has enormous name recognition and folks generally trust them for making documents for distribution purposes. If the pubs decide that they want to stop playing around with all these silly formats and go with DE then it could emerge as a de-facto e-book standard -- something the e-book world disparately needs (note that some pubs sorta tried this with PDF, and it got a lot of traction in spite of the fact that PDF is horribly suited to e-books).

As for reading DRMed PDFs via DE ... I'm not sure that even Adobe's folks know what they're going to do in that area.
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:41 AM   #3
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Adobe may do just about anything with the Sony version, but the Windows version of DE will read PDF and epub formats. The PDF is supposed to be either normal PDF or the encrypted ebook variety. As for epub, this is the new, reflowable ebook standard from IDPF (Adobe is a member).

Support for epub on the Sony should be a big deal, as it provides not only another ebook format, but one that is based on open standards (XHTML, CSS, etc.). Currently, epub has no DRM, as that has not been incorporated into the standard yet.

Although epub is new, you can already download epub ebooks from some sites. The most notable so far is Feedbooks. Thanks to Hadrien for supporting this new standard.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:47 AM   #4
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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that epub was primarily meant as a tool for publishers rather than end-users. Isn't the idea that a publisher will produce a book in epub format, and then convert the resulting epub file into various device-specific formats?

Forgive me if I've got this completely wrong!
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:04 AM   #5
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That's pretty much how I understood things to be as well. Currently most *publishers* have to either create the specific DRM'd files that the distributors want, or they have to pay to get those files created (as in Sony .lrx). Epub is supposed to be a standard that all publishers could hand to various distributors and just say, "here this is the standardized file, if you need to implement a different format that is your problem".

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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that epub was primarily meant as a tool for publishers rather than end-users. Isn't the idea that a publisher will produce a book in epub format, and then convert the resulting epub file into various device-specific formats?

Forgive me if I've got this completely wrong!
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:07 AM   #6
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Thanks for that clarification. I wondered why I should care about epub but was afraid to ask.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:15 AM   #7
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Are there any news
Not a new!
(sorry 'bout 'dat)
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that epub was primarily meant as a tool for publishers rather than end-users. Isn't the idea that a publisher will produce a book in epub format, and then convert the resulting epub file into various device-specific formats?

Forgive me if I've got this completely wrong!
I don't see anything in the specifications or on the IDPF web site that states that epub is not for use by the end-user. The fact that the standard also includes a specification for a container (Zip) to package all of the various files, as well as specifying how that container and included files are to be parsed by reading systems, tells me that the IDPF does indeed expect end-user devices to use epub. If epub was only for publishers, none of this would be necessary and the IDPF would not have wasted many hours on this part of the standard. Why should they care how publishers deal with multiple files internally? Having a standard format like epub does indeed make things easier for publishers, but that doesn't preclude the use of the format for end-use.

We already have three reading systems that directly support epub: Digital Editions, FBReader and Lector. A fourth, DotReader, claims support, but I haven't seen it work yet. Assuming that DotReader gets epub working, that makes two commercial entities (one very large one - Adobe) and two Open Source entities. I'd say that's not too bad for a standard that is only a few months old. And as we all know, Digital Editions is being ported to the Sony Reader. I would be very surprised if Adobe dropped epub support in the process.

And as for vivaldirules question about why he should care, I think we all should care. Pushing epub for the end-user and not just the publisher holds the promise of reducing the myriad of ebook formats that we have to deal with today. The more widespread epub becomes, the better for all of us. It certainly isn't a perfect standard, but it is a good start.

Another very good reason to want epub for the end-user is that the standard currently does not include DRM. This may be added to the standard later. If it does, at least it will be one standard way of doing it, and not the incompatible, different DRM schemes that each format has. Besides, if epub gets widely popular on reading systems before a standardized DRM method is approved, that would be one more nail in the DRM coffin.

We all bitch about having to deal with multiple ebook formats and DRM. These are the two primary reasons why everyone should care about epub use by the end-user. Sure, it doesn't do much for you as an end-user today, but what about tomorrow?
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:19 PM   #9
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Sounds like epub is a good thing all around, and that having DE on the PRS-505 will make it somewhat future-proof (should Sony pull the plug on Connect, for example.) However, it also seems that for end users the benefits of epub are fraught with unanswerable "ifs".

What about the currently available "Adobe Reader" books? Would DE give us access to these books on the PRS-505?
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:24 PM   #10
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What about the currently available "Adobe Reader" books? Would DE give us access to these books on the PRS-505?
That is how it works with the Windows version. I would think that it would be the same on the Sony version. I would think it would be rather stupid to drop such support on the Sony version, but you'll have to wait until the firmware is actually released.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:28 PM   #11
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Sounds like epub is a good thing all around, and that having DE on the PRS-505 will make it somewhat future-proof (should Sony pull the plug on Connect, for example.) However, it also seems that for end users the benefits of epub are fraught with unanswerable "ifs".

What about the currently available "Adobe Reader" books? Would DE give us access to these books on the PRS-505?
As far as PDF you purchase from say Fictionwise or BooksOnBoard, you can basically write them off. They were a bad idea from day one. And support for them is not going to happen (IMHO) on any eink reader. WHat we are hoping however is that with DE that the PDF rendering engine will be imporved to the point where we won't need pdflrf.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:29 PM   #12
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To my mind, the real question about PDF and DE on the Reader is will DE reflow existing PDF files? This can be done, Adobe demonstrated as much with their (no longer available) PDF viewer for Palm OS some years back. What remains to be seen is if Adobe implements something like it in "mobile DE" or not.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:31 PM   #13
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Adobe has a pretty good FAQ on their website about Digital Editions.
http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/faq/

According to this it will read PDF/A (subset of PDF) but they indicate it's intended as a lightweight solution that isn't intended to replace the full Acrobat Reader.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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Good find, Barcey! It seems to apply to only the current DE though, we're theorizing about the version of DE that will end up on the Sony Reader (and other devices, hopefully). I have no idea where Adobe is in designing/developing that "mobile DE" so even they may not know what they intend to put into it.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:40 PM   #15
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Adobe has a pretty good FAQ on their website about Digital Editions.
http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/faq/

According to this it will read PDF/A (subset of PDF) but they indicate it's intended as a lightweight solution that isn't intended to replace the full Acrobat Reader.
True, it isn't intended to replace the full Acrobat Reader. What it is intended for is ebook reading. As for encrypted PDF ebooks, Adobe dropped support for that in Reader v8. Digital Editions is intended to be the replacement for that functionallity, along with adding epub support.

I only have one encrypted PDF ebook, so I am not interested in registering my copy of Digital Editions. I don't know if you will have to re-download those PDF ebooks again, or if you can read them as-is. Someone else will have to test that.
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