Adobe releases software to organize e-books

Or you could say, even more old-fashioned brick-and-mortar libraries are destined to be turned into condos, thanks to Adobe's release today of its Digital Editions software, an application for reading and organizing electronic books, newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Not that I really believe paper books have become obsolete – and certainly not magazines – but Adobe sure wants you to buy into the concept. It began offering the software as a free download beginning Tuesday morning.

Built on Adobe's Flash platform, Digital Editions allows you to resize documents dynamically – that is, you can adjust the font size to exactly what you need for it to be readable – and documents automatically reflow based on the screen size you choose. The final version that's available now allows you to add bookmarks, make text notes, and highlight passages. I know you'll want to take advantage of those tools for everything I write – right?

The software incorporates Adobe's new Digital Editions Protection Technology (ADEPT), which Adobe describes as "a hosted content protection service to guard publishers' rights while maintaining superior ease-of-use for consumers." Electronic bookstores and libraries can use an Adobe Content Server (ACS) to protect their assets. Adobe says Digital Editions already is compatible with more than 150,000 commercially published titles.

Ironically, many libraries (talk about chewing your own leg off) embrace digital publications. My own library, in Belmont, California, makes a broad range of electronic books available for download, but it's among the most advanced libraries I've ever visited. It's so advanced, you almost never have to deal with a person – most of the time, I interact with computerized systems.

Digital Editions comes in Windows and Mac versions; a Linux version will appear in the second half of 2007. Adobe says that Sony has committed to embedding Digital Editions technology into its Sony Reader portable product, but I still haven't heard anything about a Palm or Windows Mobile version.

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