Digital Editions 1.7.2 now available

Today, we’re excited to announce the release of Digital Editions 1.7.2, which is now available for download on Adobe.com. This update adds compatibility for additional operating systems, including Microsoft Windows 7 (32- and 64 bit) and Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard, 32- and 64-bit). Compatibility with these additional operating systems allows readers to continue to acquire eBooks in the interoperable PDF and EPUB formats from thousands of online booksellers and libraries, and read these books wherever and whenever they like — especially across different screen and device types. The Digital Editions 1.7.2 release also contains updates that address other previous known issues with the application.

You can access the Digital Editions 1.7.2 application update on Adobe.com. Enterprise IT administrators can find standalone installers on the Adobe Digital Publishing Technology Center site.

EPUB, iPad and Content Interoperability

We’re anticipating that the eBook functionality on the newly announced Apple iPad will spur further consumer interest in eBooks and we welcome the decision Apple has made to standardize on the EPUB format. With export support from professional publishing tools like Adobe InDesign, EPUB allows publishers to streamline the authoring workflow by reducing the number of formats to which they output.

However, in a recent study commissioned by the Book Industry Study Group, the number one complaint consumers noted about the e-reader experience is that “certain e-books [are] specific to certain e-readers.” (Book Industry Study Group. “Consumer Attitudes Toward E-book Reading” Jan. 2010, p. 28). Clearly, consumers value content interoperability as a key feature of the digital reading experience, preferring to not have their content specific to one device. Although Apple has standardized on the EPUB format, because it employs its own DRM to protect eBooks consumers will lose out on much of the benefit of an interoperable format simply because they won’t be able to transfer content across devices.

For example, EPUB content protected with Apple DRM won’t work on numerous eReaders like the Barnes & Noble nook and the Sony Reader, not to mention future, forthcoming models. Similarly, protected EPUB eBooks obtained from thousands of online booksellers (including Barnes & Noble) and most public libraries (including The New York Public Library)—are unreadable on the iPad.

In the coming months, we’ll see a plethora of tablets besides the iPad hit the market. Before investing in a library of eBook content, readers should consider how they’ll be able to access their content across the range of devices—eReaders, tablets, desktop PCs, and smartphones—that they use on a daily basis. The Adobe eBook Platform—including the thousands of online booksellers and libraries using Content Server 4 to protect PDF and EPUB eBooks and the 30+ device manufacturers building compatible eReaders—allows consumers to download, transfer and read EPUB eBooks across PCs, smartphones, and dozens of dedicated eReader devices. The result is a reading experience not limited to a specific platform, but tailored to the consumer—whenever and wherever they wish to read.

Creating EPUB with InDesign – online resources

We’ve posted new resources over at Adobe.com to help authors as they use InDesign to create eBooks and export them to EPUB. You can find three new how-to guides at www.adobe.com/products/indesign/epub/howto that cover the following topics:

  • Creating EPUB from InDesign
  • FAQ on the InDesign EPUB export
  • Working with images when exporting to EPUB

For more general InDesign EPUB authoring resources, including video tutorials on setting up documents for optimal EPUB export, visit the new InDesign eBooks authoring center at www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/design/crossmedia_resources/ebooks_software.html

If you’d like have a suggestion for a future topic you’d like to see in a how-to guide, please leave a comment here.

Adobe Expanding Investment in Digital Publishing

As part of a restructuring announced yesterday, Adobe has made the decision to expand its investment in digital publishing, creating a new organization focused on delivering products to increase digital revenue opportunities for book, newspaper and magazine publishers. This organization will combine the efforts of Adobe’s eBook business responsible for the Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, Adobe Content Server, Adobe Digital Editions, and PDF and EPUB authoring support in Adobe InDesign with Adobe’s digital newspaper and magazine efforts responsible for, among other products, the collaboration with the New York Times to create the AIR-based Times Reader 2.0.

The decision to increase investment in this area underscores the importance that Adobe has always given to digital publishing as well as the bright future it sees in helping publishers to deliver compelling digital publications that support a variety of business models: subscription, advertising, retail and other emerging models. We are particularly excited about what we have in store for 2010. We plan to further our reach to emerging mobile reading platforms to allow readers to read anywhere, on any device. With Adobe’s acquisition of Omniture, we will help publishers measure and understand how their readership interacts with and uses their content. But, most of all, we will continue to deliver products that make digital books, newspapers and magazines a terrific experience for readers.

We look forward to working with our existing customers and business partners and welcome any new inquiries as we continue our progress in digital publishing.

InDesign to Kindle conversion guide

Today, we’re posting a how-to guide that explains how to convert eBooks authored using Adobe InDesign for compatibility with the Amazon Kindle and the Kindle Store. Because Amazon uses their proprietary AZW format, the Kindle doesn’t natively support the open EPUB standard. However, with a bit of open source software, it’s fairly easy to convert the EPUB files exported with InDesign into the Amazon-compatible MOBI format.

Converting InDesign documents for Kindle compatibility requires the following steps:

1. Export InDesign document to EPUB
2. Convert EPUB to Amazon-compatible MOBI format
3. Preview on Kindle device (optional)
4. Upload to Amazon store

For complete details, check out the Adobe InDesign to Amazon Kindle Store white paper

EPUB generation library written in Java

It’s come to my attention that I didn’t really give EPUBGen a proper introduction, and so there’s been some confusion about the project.

EPUBGen project

EPUBGen is a Java library that demonstrates EPUB generation from a variety of document formats, and which may be a useful starting point or reference code for other EPUB generation needs. That is to say, it’s an effort to promote the development of a variety of tools and workflows.

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Font obfuscation code, available for review

I realize this blog might have a diverse readership so I’ll warn those of you who aren’t developers, that this particular blog post probably isn’t for you.

Unless you find reading Java code interesting, you can probably skip this article.

I’ve implemented the IDPF font obfuscation algorithm which is recommended here. The font obfuscation code can be found in the EPUBGen project, and so you can take and review, and use the code. In this article, I’m going to highlight just the portions of that project that are related to embedding and obfuscating the font information. (The project also has font subsetting and other features which I will not cover.)

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InDesign 6.0.2 and EPUB export

There’s a new update to InDesign CS4. Version 6.0.2. The update fixes lots of other stuff, so you may want to look at the release notes to see what’s fixed that is not related to the EPUB export, I’m only going to talk about the EPUB plug-in.

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RTF, Word, and FB2 file conversion

EPUBGen is a project that Peter Sorotokin has started, it’s a conversion utility for rtf files, word files, and FictionBook files. The output in each case is, of course, epub.

The project is open source, and available for download.

Note that there is also a .jar file for rtf2epub and it should work, but the main intent of this project is to provide source code and examples of the way things could be done. In other words, there’s plenty of room for developers to improve and enhance the conversion.

The project includes code to convert a couple different formats to ePub, including generating all the required files and creating the package. The project also shows how to mangle embedded fonts, how to sub-set those font (thus reducing the size of the ePub).

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Working with the cover

The covers on your books make a first impression. So when you’re creating a cover for a book you’re likely to put in some extra effort to make sure it looks good. When you’re working with EPUBs and Adobe Digital Editions, there are some simple things that you can do that have a big impact on the look of the covers.

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