Adobe Offers Format Upgrade, New E-titles
Paul Hilts -- 1/29/01

Adobe Systems Inc. has announced a joint promotion with Barnes & to unveil Adobe's upgraded e-book format, Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader 2.0, and the Adobe Content Server e-commerce support system, along with a range of new Adobe Portable Document Format- based e-books.

Both of Adobe's new products stem from Adobe's acquisition of Glassbook Inc. last fall. Glassbook founder Len Kawell had produced a user interface for e-books based on Adobe's PDF format, but also incorporating such features as text lending--a personal library of both owned and borrowed titles--and the ability to rotate the text to suit the user.

Acrobat eBook Reader 2.0 picks up all of these features, plus full-text searching, bookmarks, text highlights and annotations, and a built-in Web browser enabling readers to purchase e-books on the Internet from within the application. Also, when allowed by publishers, the users of eBook Reader 2.0 can print out the electronic texts with the same type fonts, pictures and complex graphics as the original.

B&'s lead title for the promotion is Survivor II: Field Guide, a preview of the popular TV program's new season, available exclusively in Acrobat eBook Reader 2.0 format from B&'s Web site, Other special eBook Reader 2.0 titles include Orpheus Emerged, the just-discovered early book by Jack Kerouac, published by LiveREADS, and The Physicians Desk Reference: The Family Guide to Prescription Drugs (Medical Economics Co.).

Adobe is also providing e-commerce support for its titles with the Adobe Content Server for eBooks, an all-in-one system that takes the PDF files created for print books, adds digital rights management software and prepares the files for subsequent online distribution by publishers, distributors or retailers. The Adobe Content Server can accept e-commerce transactions in both Adobe's WebBuy and the Glassbook-originated ebx systems.

Mike Looney, Adobe's senior director of e-books, told PW that, like a printed book, Reader 2.0 offers pictures, graphics and rich fonts. The Reader will allow "the large number of publishers who already have their content archived in Adobe PDF to take advantage of the growing e-book market immediately, without high conversion or integration costs," he said.

Michael Fragnito, publisher of B&N Digital, the book retailer's e-publishing unit, told PW that the Adobe eBook Reader "allows readers to have the same visual experience as if they were reading a printed book, but with the added benefit of interactivity and the option for the publishers to allow printing."

The Acrobat eBook Reader 2.0 software is available for free download for both the Windows and Macintosh platforms at and at For the time being, the Adobe Content Server will be available only for the Windows platform. For more information, visit