More on Sony Reader’s PDF, DRM, and reflow

A couple of comments on my post on Sony Reader and Adobe PDF indicate there’s still a bit of confusion.
To answer Rob McDougall’s question: yes, absolutely, just stick a PDF on a MemoryStick or SD card, insert, and read (Sony’s increased openness is shown by their supporting the latter media type). In general the implementation just ignores advanced features like JavaScript that aren’t supported by the mobile/device PDF subset so pretty much any unencrypted PDF works. And you don’t need to use “memory card sneakernet” – Sony’s companion PC application makes it simple to drag&drop both BBeB and PDF documents to the device via USB (which also recharges the battery). As simple as iYouKnowWhat.
Henrique’s questions are both very interesting. His first question is whether this means that “the sony reader will only be able to read encrypted pdfs from the sony store and not pdfs from other online sellers?”. AsI said in my earlier post the PDF implementation initially shipping in the device doesn’t support DRM at all. So I believe Sony initially plans to sell only DRM-protected BBeB-format eBooks from the Sony Connect eBookStore, not PDF format content at all. However there’s nothing to stop Sony or other vendors from offering unencrypted documents (PDF or BBeB) under the “rule of law”. Baen is among a number of publishers experimenting with business models that are not predicated on heavyweight DRM. As well, one might imagine that down the road the Adobe PDF implementation for the Sony PRS product line could conceivably support DRM.
Henrique also asked “does this version of PDF offer any reformatting characteristics?” noting that “although there are some ways to put a PDF on Librie (usually printing to pictures), the text is usually a little small.” The version of mobile/device PDF shipping with the Sony Reader 1.0 does not utilize advanced “Tagged PDF” structure information, which the desktop Adobe Reader uses to implement accessibility and reflow features. So, no, PDFs on this device are fixed-format. Admittedly, fixed-format pages are not a great match to a 6-inch display, especially when many PDFs are essentially created as print masters. Indeed this is arguably the primary reason that Sony had to support BBeB: although it has structure capabilites, PDF doesn’t really solve the problem of efficiently and reliably representing flowable content that doesn’t necessarily even have a single canonical paginated representation. But Adobe is working with its partners, including Sony as well as the broader publishing industry, to solve these issues. We envision expanding our platform to incorporate first-class standards-based support for reflowable content. More on this soon.