Posts in Category "PDF"

Adobe and Barnes & Noble eBook Collaboration

Adobe and Barnes and Noble announced today a partnership to advance the open eBook platform standard. This was part of a broader announcement by B&N featuring their new nook device – which is very sweet – definitely the highest techno-lust quotient of any eReader device to date.
The adoption of EPUB, PDF & ACS4 by B&N is an extremely significant milestone. First, it puts to rest concerns that B&N would adopt EPUB as a base format but frustrate consumer expectations of interoperability and confuse the marketplace with a non-interoperable content protection solution based on their Fictionwise eReader acquisition. Instead, B&N is adopting the cross-platform Adobe solution that is already used by Sony, OverDrive, and nearly a hundred others. And, by adding support for password-based content protection for EPUB, Adobe is addressing the need to deliver a more lenient “social DRM” option as part of our solution. And from the perspective of the overall ecosystem, today’s announcement is huge: we have, within the last two months, seen two “legacy” proprietary eBook formats – BBeB and eReader – superseded by the open standard EPUB solution with Adobe’s cross-platform content protection. In essence, there is now a clear “DVD of eBooks” format standard, and everyone significant has adopted it (with now only one remaining exception).
This partnership is a double win-win: a win for both companies involved, as well as for the rest of the ecosystem and consumers. It’s clearly a good move for B&N and Adobe, it’s going to help accelerate consumer adoption of eBooks by cementing the standard eBook platform – EPUB and PDF with the option of ACS4 DRM – and giving consumers content portability across their choice of devices.
While Adobe and Barnes & Noble work at very different levels of the value chain, I feel we really have a shared vision, one that William Lynch, President of, emphasized at the nook launch: “Any Book (Magazine, or Newspaper), Any Time, Anywhere (On Any Device)”. Today, we all took a big step towards realizing this vision.

WSJ on eBook Format War

Geoffrey Fowler has a good piece today in the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog: Format War Clouds E-Book Horizon . The tone is perhaps overly ominous – while I agree that “the burgeoning marketplace for e-books is riddled with inconsistent and incompatible formats”, there are definitely signs that the clouds are starting to break up. But overall it’s a thoughtful take on the current situation and trends (full disclosure: I talked with Geoffrey and was quoted in the article).

How To: Add Flash content to PDFs

A new tutorial on Adobe Developer Connection concisely describes how to add a Captivate movie clip (more generally, any SWF) to a PDF document using Acrobat. While the article’s author Jeff Freeman didn’t mention it, the SWF content also works great in Adobe Digital Editions as well as Acrobat and Reader. Actually the Digital Editions experience is better because it doesn’t display the annoying “Manage Trust for Multimedia Content” warning dialog (that Jeff also failed to mention).
That dialog has always seemed a bit senseless to me since Web browsers by default play rich media content without such warnings. Perhaps it made sense back when Adobe was integrating with 3rd-party multimedia engines not under our control, but heck it’s now Adobe Flash. But as a solution targeting enterprises & knowledge workers Acrobat/Reader is under a number of constraints so I guess this conservative behavior is somewhat understandable. As Digital Editions is a consumer-focused solution, and built on Flex/Flash, we decided to make the experience with Flash-enhanced content truly seamless.
A wide range of text-centric content can potentially benefit from the ability to add rich media & interactivity, from eLearning-enhanced digital textbooks to novels that can add ancillary content to make reading more engaging and entertaiing. I’m looking forward to seeing what creative authors and publishers start coming up with.