At O’Reilly’s Tools of Change Conference (TOC), Adobe made a very unAdobelike product announcement. Their new Digital Editions is very impressive!! I’ve never been a huge PDF fan because it is so stubbornly page centric in a world where pages are becoming much less important to the display of content. It has often awkward and painful to read PDFs on computer screens and hand held devices.

This new technology is based upon the IDPF EPUB standard that has been developed as the universal distribution format for reflow-centric content. The dynamic layout capability is amazingly agile as it reflows content from large to small screens with excellent speed and seemingly miminal effort. Adobe is currently mum about whether it will be included in the IPhone launch.

Digital Editions has optional DRM capability and will support contextual advertising, subscription and membership based business models. It features the expected compatibility with PDF and InDesign CS3.

The functionality and openness to industry standards are a radical departure from many of Adobe’s traditional practices. Bill McCoy, General Manager- ePublishing Business explains that the MacroMedia acquisition played a major role in making this strategic transition possible. This is more evidence that the Macromedia acquisition was one of the better acquisitions in recent memory.

The relatively small download (under 3MB) can be found at: www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions.

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