Feb 18 2007
I have, often, derided the Adobe Acrobat format for ebooks. I have told people on this blog, in emails, on message boards, that this is my least favorite format and that you should only buy this format when there is NO OTHER OPTION. Buying an Adobe ebook, particularly one that requires authentication to read it, is akin to shaving your head when you are one of the most recognizable people in the world and, at one time, one of the most beautiful people in the world.
You’ve come out with a great new software called Adobe Digital Editions, for those people who love ebooks. And by great, I mean, if the reader was an island and had no choice but to choose Adobe’s software or be eaten by cannibals. You seem to think that readers want Adobe to control the reading experience because we readers can’t possibly know what we want.
Adobe Digital Editions only has four font sizes. You can’t type in the percentage you want, it has a small a and a large a and that controls the font size for the book. Adobe assumes it knows exactly what four font sizes you want. It also assumes when you will want two pages per screen or one page per screen. You don’t get to choose.
You also believe that readers won’t mind that when they use the “page up/page down” keys or the arrow keys entire sections are skipped. And you, paternally, like to believe that readers will WANT to always upgrade to the new and supposedly better version. Because everyone is moving to Vista and everyone has downloaded and installed IE 7, right? Too bad, so sad, for the users of Adobe Digital Editions because it will REQUIRE the reader to download the upgrade before she can read those ebooks she paid for.
Worse yet, is that this reading program is not exactly free. What do I mean by that. Well, in the licensing portion of the FAQ at Adobe’s site, it tells us that the following:
To offset Adobe’s costs in developing and operating Digital Editions and its associated content protection infrastructure, Adobe will provide dynamic context-based ads in the user interface of the Digital Editions application. We hope to make these ads tasteful, minimally distracting, and useful. A premium version of Digital Editions will be available on a subscription basis (price TBD), and content publishers using Adobe DRM technology will have the option to disable contextual ads. NOTE: Ads are not enabled in the initial beta releases.
So, I pay for the book and in order for me to read the book, I still get my special content related ads unless I pay for a premium version or the content publisher disables the ads? No wait, they’ll be tasteful and only “minimally” distracting. I can just imagine the increased uptick in name dropping in books as we get Adobe’s version of Google Ad Words. Adobe’s panties would get wet with a book from Susan Elizabeth Phillips and JR Ward. And what about those Avon Red or Harlequin Spice books. What “tasteful” ads are going to be generated with those stories?
Go you for creating a reading environment that is actually worse than the one you had before. I love it when big companies regress. Thanks, but I’ll sit this program out. It makes more sense to shave my hair off. At least I would be in control of that situation.