Adobe has announced some major upgrades to its ebook reading software. The new Rich Internet Application (RIA) is Flash-based and is designed for managing and reading ebooks and other digital media.
With native support for Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) as well as an XHTML-based reflow-centric publication format, Digital Editions delivers an engaging way to acquire, read, and manage content, including eBooks, digital magazines, digital newspapers and other digital publications. Initially available as a free public beta for Windows, Digital Editions will support Macintosh systems as a universal binary application, Linux platforms, as well as mobile phones and other embedded devices in future versions.
"Adobe Digital Editions builds on the ubiquitous reach of PDF and Flash and will further energize the eBook and digital publishing market," said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief operating officer at Adobe. "By creating a specialized, consumer-friendly application like Digital Editions, Adobe is ensuring publishers can securely deliver high-impact content to the widest possible audience, across hardware platforms, operating systems and devices."
Digital Editions is designed to support a wide range of business models including public domain texts (open content), ad-supported content, library lending and other borrowing/subscription models, and the purchase of eBooks and digital content.
Digital Editions will integrate with a new hosted content authorization service to protect publisher's rights while maintaining ease-of-use for consumers. This new Adobe Digital Editions Protection Service, based on LiveCycle Policy Server, will allow publishers to choose from a flexible array of business models, with user-ID-based authorization that provides an improved user experience over competitive DRM models.
The new format makes publishers happy becuse of the Digital Rights Management components and should intrigue consumers with the ability to see animations and rich media. The format can also allow free, ad-supported content to be read.
If you're interested, you can download a beta of the software here.