Author Archive: Ric Wright

Digital Editions 1.6 Released!

Adobe is pleased to announce that we today pushed live the newest version of Digital Editions, 1.6. You can get it here:

http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/

Or you will be automatically upgraded the next time you launch Digital Editions.

This version of DE does not appear much different on the surface. The real difference in this version is under the covers. Digital Editions 1.6 supports fulfillment from the new Adobe Content Server 4. You can read about Content Server here:

http://www.adobe.com/products/contentserver/

But what does fulfillment from Content Server mean to the end user, you might ask? The answer is that it provides ebook vendors with a modern, reliable system for protecting publishers books. This translates into more content from more publishers. Both in PDF and now in EPUB. Up to now, although publishers have been strongly voicing their support for EPUB, there hasn’t been a solution that would allow them to protect their books. The release of DE 1.6 and Content Server provides that solution. We are currently hard at work helping the publishers and ebook sellers to get their content ready for stores and libraries.

In addition, the new servers are much more reliable and bug-free than the old systems. This will mean more hassle-free downloads and less support issues. This won’t happen immediately as not all the ebook distributors will switch over right away. But it will steadily improve.

Now that the solution is ready it means there will be more content in more formats and more device support as well, such as the Sony Reader. The Digital Publishing team is working hard on supporting additional devices and will release them as soon as possible.

Sony 505A Firmware Released!

Adobe is pleased to announce, in conjunction with Sony, that Adobe Digital
Editions now supports the Sony Reader 505. On July 24th, Sony posted
the firmware updater to their website. Now people owning the Sony 505
can upgrade their Sony 505 and use it with Digital Editions.

The updater is available here:

http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-list.pl?mdl=PRS505

Be sure to get the full update. You need to upgrade your Sony EBook
Library (EBL) FIRST, then should automatically download and run the
updater for your 505. Doing the steps this way ensures that you have
the right drivers for Digital Editions and the Sony Reader to
communicates with. Once you have done this, Digital Editions will
automatically recognize the Sony Reader and it will appear as a new
bookshelf (or up to 3 if you have smart cards inserted) in your library.

You will need to authorize your Sony Reader in order to use it with
protected books that you have bought or borrowed online. Note that this
also means that you will need to authorize Digital Editions if you have
not already done so. Digital Editions will walk you through these steps
with a wizard.

Once you have authorized your Reader you can drag and drop books back
and forth between your PC and your Reader. You can even read books off
of your friend’s Reader (though you cannot transfer books from his
Reader to your PC or vice versa).

The full text of the Sony press release is here:

http://news.sel.sony.com/en/press_room/consumer/computer_peripheral/e_bo
ok/release/36245.html

The new Sony Reader supports display of PDF in both normal and “reflowed” modes. In the reflowed modes, the reader takes the original content and reflows it at a larger font size. The result is surprisingly good. Most books such as novels reflow almost perfectly (though the odd word will be split or two words run together). But you will find that the more complex the content, the less satisfactory the result.

EPUB is also supported by the Sony Reader and there is lots of EPUB content appearing, both public domain like feedbooks.com and elsewhere. Most of the major publishers have also promised to support EPUB and there is a lot of content in the pipeline.

This is an exciting time and we are looking forward to being part of it.

Digital Editions 1.5 Released!

Digital Editions 1.5 now released
(May 14, 2008)
Adobe has updated its popular Digital Editions software, a lightweight, rich Internet application for reading, acquiring and organizing digital books and other publications. Version 1.5 features enhanced DRM flexibility through named activation so that users can move content across platforms and mobile devices using an Adobe ID. In addition, ADE 1.5 is localized in French and German and has support for Mac® OSX 10.5 (Leopard). Adobe Digital Editions supports both PDF and IDPF EPUB, a standard format designed to reflow for the screens of mobile reading devices, which has gained broad acceptance among book publishers.

Adobe Digital Editions has over 1 million installations since the June 2007 launch. The new software will be automatically provided to users who have installed Digital Editions 1.0, and is available at the product site .

Adobe has also released an updated Digital Editions installer and launcher for distributors of eBooks. The installer is used to detect and install the latest version of ADE for retail or library customers of Adobe eBooks. The software is free to use and available with implementation instructions .

Digital Editions Beta2 Released

Adobe is pleased to announce the release of the second Beta version of Digital Editions 1.5.

You can find it here:

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/digitaleditions/install/

The Beta is an opportunity for customers to test and provide feedback to Adobe on new features and compatibility with their digital publications.

The key feature of this second Beta release is that we have enabled the “Setup Assistant”. This walks the new user through the steps of authorizing their computer. With this assistant, you can also, optionally, decline to authorize your computer. Adobe very very strongly discourages this. We feel that you should *always* authorize your computer. More on this below.

The key feature of Digital Editions 1.5 is the addition of enhanced DRM support that provides “content portability” across computers and devices that you authorize with your Adobe ID. (Note that this portability is available ONLY if you authorize your computer).

Note: You should be aware that this beta release includes an enhanced version of DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection. If you plan on using Digital Editions for mission critical work, please consider using Digital Editions 1.0.

Key features of the enhanced DRM include:
– Ability to convert a user’s content to a “Named Authorization” license, enabling them to be backed up, copied and read on other computers or devices
– Authorization of end users’ DRM protected content with an Adobe ID (if authorized)
– Writing the secure license into the document
– Existing content is migrated to the new system and newly downloaded content is automatically converted when it is downloaded
– Content portability applies to both PDF and EPUB documents (again, only if the computer is authorized).
– Resulting documents can be copied just like any other file (if both computers are authorized)
– Documents can be opened on any computer or device which has been authorized by the owner
– The number of machines that can be authorized is controlled by the amount set by the Authorization server (up to 6 computers and 6 devices)
– We have added functionality within Digital Editions 1.5 to support mobile devices. At this time we are working hard on rolling out support for the actual devices which work with Digital Editions, which should become available later this year.
– The number of machines on which a document can be viewed is limited by the number of authorized machines, unless the document has been limited to a single machine by the publisher

Note that authorization with an Adobe ID is no longer required in 1.5, but is *strongly* recommended. If you do not authorize your computer, your content will, as in Digital Editions 1.0, be locked to the computer to which is was downloaded. Adobe feels very strongly that all users will be best served by authorizing their computers. Adobe Digital Editions does not use the ID for any purpose other than enabling portability by linking you and your books. The ID is not used for any other purpose, public or private. Please see Adobe’s privacy policy here.

Publishers and vendors should note that this release does not alter the fulfillment of ebooks so existing ecommerce workflows are not affected.

In addition to the DRM enhancement, this release of Digital Editions also
Adds support for Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard)
– Fixes a bug in which double-byte (e.g. Asian, some European) users could not use Digital Editions
– Adds support for users whose My Documents folder is mapped to a network drive.
– Improved PDF support, including more complete support for the Adobe transparency model
– Support for named pages in PDF (e.g. i, ii, iii, etc.)
– Page map support in EPUB so that there is a mapping between the reflowed screens and the paper copy of a book
– Adds support for multiple books per ETD fulfillment
– Miscellaneous user interface improvements and bug fixes

Digital Editions and Content Portability

Earlier this week we released Digital Editions 1.5 as a Beta on Adobe Labs (get it here). One of the key features is an enhanced DRM that provides content portability. Of course, the first question that users want to know is “What does this really mean?” This blog is an answer to that question.

The process that happens when you buy an ebook with Digital Editions 1.0 is that your book is downloaded and also a “voucher” (license) is downloaded from a secure server. The voucher contains the key to open your book. That voucher is then stored in secure database (the “voucher store”). That voucher store is locked to your machine and thus so is your book. This has caused some real problems when people upgrade to a new computer or their hard disk dies.

For Digital Editions 1.5 we have enhanced the DRM capability and changed how it works so that when your book and voucher are downloaded, the voucher does still get stored in the voucher store, but then your ebook is copied and the contents of the voucher are written INTO the copy of the document itself. (The original is backed up into a subfolder of your My Digital Editions folder). This means that the book and its key and license are self-contained. Can you then just copy your book to another machine and open it? Yes, with a very important “BUT”.

When you install Digital Editions, the very first action it takes is to contact a secure server at Adobe to get info that it uses to secure your books on your machine. This is very similar to what Digital Editions did. But, with DE 1.5 you have the option to authorize your machine by entering an Adobe ID. All Digital Editions does with the ID is store it on the same server along with the info that came down. This allows us to know that you are you. (Actually we only know that you are whatever Adobe ID you have, Digital Editions doesn’t know or care who you are. Your privacy is very important to us See Adobe’s privacy policy). Then, if you want to copy your content to another machine, all you have to do is go to another machine and install DE 1.5 and authorize that machine with the very same Adobe ID. Then the server downloads the same info so DE knows that your book belongs to you. And you will be able to copy your books back and forth between the two machines as often as you like.

But … you have to authorize your PCs to get this content portability. If you do not authorize your computer, your content will, as in Digital Editions 1.0, be locked to the computer to which it was downloaded. This first Beta release does not actually offer the option to use the old-style “anonymous” mode of use, but the next Beta and the final release version will. But Adobe feels very strongly that all users will be best served by authorizing their computers. Digital Editions does not use the ID for any purpose other than providing the portability by identifying you and your books. The ID is not used for any other purpose, public or private.

It is also important to note that in the final release you will be able to decline to authorize your computer and then change your mind and authorize it later. And, when you do, all your books will become portable to any other computer you have authorized. BUT, really important point: If you have two (or more) computers that are not authorized and you buy books with each of them, then later authorize the PCs, only the first-authorized computer will have fully migrated books. The other computer(s) can then be authorized and books shared with the first-authorized computer, but the books that were downloaded anonymously on the other computers are forever locked to those computers. So, again, Adobe really really recommends that you authorize your computers as a matter of course. There is really no good reason not to do so – it is in your own best interest!

Note that this first beta does not have the final UI for the authorization process. The next beta will include the “setup assistant” which is a complete wizard-driven workflow that guides the user through the process of how and why they should authorize their computer. But it will also provide a way for users to decline to authorize their computer (even though we think that is not a good idea). If the user declines to authorize their computer at the beginning they can always do so later – but with the caveats outlined in the previous paragraph.

You can authorize up to 6 different machines. And up to 6 different devices. At present, there aren’t any publicly available devices that support Digital Editions, but they are coming soon! Also note that some publishers explicitly specify that their books cannot be transferred to any other machine than the one to which it was downloaded. Adobe of course abides by this restriction. You can find out if your book has this restriction by looking the book’s info, available in the library pane by selecting the book and pressing Ctrl+I (or using the book’s drop-down menu).

What about your existing books, that you downloaded with Adobe Reader, Acrobat or Digital Editions 1.0? When you first install Digital Editions 1.5, the application will migrate all your DRM-protected books, from whatever source, into the new enhanced DRM format. If you have authorized your computer, then those books are now portable to any similarly authorized computer with DE 1.5.

What about library books? Well, library books are somewhat special. Your existing library books (ones that you have checked out from the library when you upgrade to DE 1.5) will NOT be migrated. You’ll have to finish reading them in the old application, or early-return them and check them out again. Also, library books cannot currently be transferred from PC to PC. They can be transferred to a device, but not to another PC.

Digital Editions 1.5 Beta is Released!

Adobe is pleased to announce the release of the first Beta version of Digital Editions 1.5.

You can find it here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/digitaleditions/install/

The Beta is an opportunity for customers to test and provide feedback to Adobe on new features and compatibility with their digital publications.

The key feature of Digital Editions 1.5 is the addition of new DRM support that provides “content portability” across computers and devices that you authorize with your Adobe ID.
Note: You should be aware that this beta release includes an enhanced version of DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection. If you plan on using Digital Editions for mission critical work, please consider using Digital Editions 1.0.

Key features of the enhanced DRM include:
– Conversion of user’s content to a “Named Authorization” license, enabling them to be backed up, copied and read on other computers or devices
– Authorization of end users’ DRM protected content with an Adobe ID
– Writing the secure license into the document
– Existing content is migrated to the new system and newly downloaded content is automatically converted when it is downloaded
– Content portability applies to both PDF and EPUB documents
– Resulting documents can be copied just like any other file
– Documents can be opened on any computer or device which has been authorized by the owner
– The number of machines that can be authorized is controlled by the amount set by the Authorization server (up to 6 computers and 6 devices)
– We have added functionality within Digital Editions 1.5 to support mobile devices. At this time we are working hard on rolling out support for the actual devices which work with Digital Editions, which should become available later this year.
– The number of machines on which a document can be viewed is limited by the number of authorized machines, unless the document has been limited to a single machine by the publisher

Note that authorization with an Adobe ID will not be required in the final release of 1.5, but is strongly recommended. If you do not authorize your computer, your content will, as in Digital Editions 1.0, be locked to the computer to which is was downloaded. This first Beta release does not actually offer the option to use the old-style “anonymous” mode of use, but the next Beta and the final release version will. But Adobe feels very strongly that all users will be best served by authorizing their computers. Adobe does not use the ID for any purpose other than providing the portability by identifying you and your books. The ID is not used for any other purpose, public or private.

Publishers and vendors should note that this release does not alter the fulfillment of ebooks so existing ecommerce workflows are not affected.

In addition to the DRM enhancement, this release of Digital Editions also
– Adds support for Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard)
– Fixes a bug in which double-byte (e.g. Asian, some European) users could not use Digital Editions
– Improved PDF support, including more complete support for the Adobe transparency model and support for named pages
– Page map support in EPUB so that there is a mapping between the reflowed screens and the paper copy of a book
– Adds support for multiple books per ETD fulfillment
– Miscellaneous user interface improvements and bug fixes

Further Info on Activation in 1.5

Adobe recently announced plans to support cross-machine portability of DRM-protected content in Digital Editions by allowing named activation. Since then we have received quite a bit of feedback on our plans. Much of the feedback is positive, but others have voiced concerns about some users (library patrons, minors) needs for privacy. An Adobe ID is a very non-intrusive way of identifying users – users need only provide a name, country and email address. Nonetheless, Adobe understands that some users and organizations are uncomfortable with even this minimalistic level of identification. Based on the feedback from users and partners we have decided to continue to support an option of anonymous activation.

We feel very strongly that content portability is a very important feature. These days, almost everyone (especially ebook users) has multiple computers and a handheld device or two. Without content portability that has been enabled by named activation, users cannot move their books around as they wish. Almost more importantly, Digital Editions will be introducing new social features in the future that will enhance the use and enjoyment of user’s ebooks, such as sharing annotations and reading lists. Use of these social features will require that the user have a personal identifier, even if they only use one computer.

Therefore our plan remains to promote named activation as the primary means of enabling DRM capabilities. Anonymous activation will be supported, but discouraged in order that users not be disappointed to discover that content they have purchased is inextricably tied to a single PC, or that they can’t participate in new social features. And the overall user experience of activation will be more integrated and seamless than the various DRM activation options that were present in Adobe Reader versions 6 and 7: we are working to keep it simple. We will post additional details about the new DRM activation coming in Digital Editions version 1.5 here on the blog soon.

Named Activation Coming in Digital Editions 1.5

“Named Activation” coming soon to Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe wants your eBook experience to be as easy and seamless as possible. Naturally, this includes protecting your investment in eBooks from being lost or damaged. This is one of the key reasons why the upcoming release of Digital Editions 1.5 will feature “Named Activation.”

Some users have eBooks and other digital publications on their computers that have been licensed with Acrobat, Reader or Digital Editions using “Easy Activation.” These items cannot be moved to a new computer, essentially becoming locked on a particular machine. To solve this problem, Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 will convert items to a “Named Activation” license, enabling them to be backed up, copied and read on other computers. All items subsequently downloaded with Digital Editions 1.5 will be licensed using Named Activation. This change will also enable a new breed of mobile devices designed to be used with Digital Editions. However, note that your content will not be portable if the content distributor has specified a more restrictive setting, in which case you will need to re-acquire the content directly from them.

How will “Named Activation” work?

The first time you run Digital Editions 1.5, you’ll be prompted to activate the application by entering an Adobe ID. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, you’ll be provided with a link to get one. Then, when you purchase an item online or borrow one from the library with Digital Editions 1.5, the item will automatically be “tied” to your Adobe ID, rather than to your computer. This way, you’ll be free to move your items to other machines where Digital Editions has been activated with your Adobe ID.

What about the eBooks I already have?

Once you’ve entered your Adobe ID, Digital Editions 1.5 will look for eBooks already on your computer. It will first back up the items it finds, then convert copies of the items to a new “named activation” license.

IMPORTANT: Digital Editions 1.5 will convert eBooks that have been purchased or borrowed with Acrobat, Reader or earlier versions of Digital Editions. However, items that were licensed using Easy Activation can only be converted on the same computer with which they were originally purchased or borrowed. If you are contemplating buying a new machine, please consider keeping your old machine intact unless you bought all of your books with Acrobat or Reader using Named Activation.

Is Easy Activation still an option?

Adobe introduced the Easy Activation option in Acrobat and Reader 6.01 (and it was the only activation option previously supported in Digital Editions). This option made it easy for users to get started with eBooks, as users did not have to go online and get a Microsoft Passport or Adobe ID. The downside of this convenience is that the books could not be transferred to another machine or device.

Based on feedback from our customers, the Digital Editions team has decided that the benefits of content portability outweigh the inconvenience of the user ID and activation processes. So the next release of Digital Edition will use only Named Activation.

The Digital Editions team understands that some users may be uncomfortable at first with the need to obtain an Adobe ID and activate their machines. But we are convinced that everyone will quickly see the value of safeguarding their investment in eBooks. We’re working hard on this new release and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

For further info on this topic, please also see this post.