Is Adobe Digital Editions the eBook reader you’ve always wanted?

I’m not a big fan of ebooks. To be honest, they’re just glorified PDFs and look terrible onscreen. So, I tend to avoid them. However, I came across this jewel in Adobe’s lab site and it’s terrific.

I’m not a big fan of ebooks. To be honest, they’re just glorified PDFs and look terrible onscreen. So, I tend to avoid them. However, I came across this jewel in Adobe’s lab site and it’s terrific.
What does it do?
Adobe Digital Editions is a rather slick ebook reader that lets you read and manage eBooks, both online and offline, with support for PDF and XHTML-based content.
You can use it to download and purchase digital content, which can be read both online and offline. Transfer copy-protected eBooks from your PC to other computers. Organize eBooks into a custom library and annotate pages. It also supports eBook formats, including PDF/A and EPUB.
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FAQs

  • Digital Editions is built from the ground up as a lightweight, rich Internet application (RIA).
  • Download is only 2.5 MB including Adobe Flash Player 9 and takes less than two minutes to install over a broadband connection.
  • With an RIA service model, you always have the latest version of Digital Editions, giving you the advantage of new features and security enhancements.

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What is Adobe Digital Editions?
Digital Editions is Adobe’s new rich Internet application (RIA) specifically designed for digital publishing. It lets you easily acquire, manage, and consume eBooks and other kinds of digital publications.
How does Adobe Digital Editions differ from Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat?
Adobe Reader supports a variety of workflows beyond consuming eBooks and other commercially-published content, such as interactive forms, digital signatures, and other workflows that involve integration with other office applications. This means that Reader’s functionality is not optimized for consumer-level eBook reading. Likewise, Adobe Acrobat offers advanced document generation and collaboration functionality.
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Digital Editions extends the eBook capabilities (integrated in Reader and Acrobat) via a simplified, content-centric user interface. Digital Editions is distributed as a web-based RIA, ensuring that users will always have the current up-to-date version of the software.
Does Digital Editions replace Adobe FlashPaper?
For some, it might. Digital Editions delivers a lightweight Flash-based user experience for document viewing, and adds native PDF and XML document viewing capabilities, so that translation of content to SWF format is not required.
However, initially Digital Editions will not operate inside the browser, and requires a Player Add-in installation. Customers who require in-browser operation with the standard Flash Player may wish to continue to utilize FlashPaper, which remains a component of the Adobe Contribute product.
Interface designed for digital reading
I have to admit that I really love the ui. It’s clean, well-organized, and is an improvement over Adobe Acrobat. (Try it and you’ll see.)

  • It’s expressly designed for reading digital publications.
  • Use the Reading View to view bookmarks, annotations, and a table of contents.
  • Display PDF files in a double-page, single page, or fit-to-width view — or specify your own custom fit.
  • Increase and decrease text size with EPUB content.
  • Fast, free download and installation

Stand-alone installer
You can distribute Digital Editions internally on an intranet site or a local network.
Content portability
Manage digital publications across multiple computers and devices using your Adobe ID and a simple authorization process. Digital Editions also provides support for content portability on mobile devices, so you can take your eBooks with you wherever you go.
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Markup features
Add bookmarks to PDF or EPUB documents so that you can quickly navigate around a document. Highlight text and add comments for future reference within your digital publications.
Support for PDF and EPUB
Native support for PDF/A and EPUB formats. PDF/A is the ISO-approved standard for the long-term preservation of electronic documents. EPUB is an XHTML-based file format designed to reflow text according to screen and font size, which makes it optimal for reading content on mobile devices.
Borrowing eBooks
You can borrow eBooks from many public libraries for use with Digital Editions.
File organization
Organize digital publications and manage devices in the Library View. Sort by title, author, and publisher, and view the covers of your favorite eBooks. Create custom bookshelves to further organize and manage your content.
Multiple platform support
Digital Editions runs on many platforms for reading digital publications on laptop and desktop computers. In addition, it allows support for the Sony® Reader.
Multimedia support
Supports embedded SWF files so you can include multimedia experiences in digital publications.
Easy eBook creation
With Adobe InDesign® CS3 software, you can create content and output it to both the PDF/A and EPUB formats supported by Digital Editions.

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Copy protection
It works in conjunction with Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology (ADEPT), a hosted service that provides publishers with copy protection in both retail and library environments.
Multilingual support
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional.
Issues
Why do some PDF documents look different in Digital Editions beta than they do in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader?
It uses Adobe PDF technology that has been optimized for small code size and lower system requirements.
This technology is optimized for performance and on-screen readability, rather than graphics-arts or prepress-level fidelity. Some minor differences in graphics and font rendering are therefore to be expected.
In addition, the Digital Editions PDF implementation does not support several enterprise-oriented PDF features. These features are not typically used in PDF-based eBooks and, if present, are ignored, but could cause certain documents to render incorrectly.
Which PDF 1.7 features are not supported by Digital Editions?
PDF interactive forms, JavaScript, digital signatures, 3D, and annotations are not supported by Digital Editions.
Links:
Adobe Labs – http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/digitaleditions/
You can read more detailed and technical FAQs over here and then
FAQs – http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/digitaleditions/faq.html
Download a nice collection of free ebooks from the site here.
Free ebooks – http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/library/
Let me know what you think. What’s not to like?

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