Moderator’s note: Adobe will ideally discover the joys of social DRMtalked up by the company’s own Bill McCoy—rather than simply going with the traditional variety alone. Meanwhile, with just slight editing, here’s news about Content Server 4, posted for TeleBlog readers who like the usual DRM. CS4 includes some wrinkles of special interest to libraries. And that should help spread around ePub, not just the usual PDF. – D.R.

Leading Publishers and Distributors Secure Digital Content With New Adobe Content Server 4

adobe SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sept. 9, 2008 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced Adobe® Content Server 4, a new server software solution that copy protects downloadable eBooks for Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe’s free client software for purchasing, managing and reading eBooks.

Adobe Content Server 4 enables publishers, retailers, libraries and other distributors to leverage hundreds of thousands of titles for sale or loan and was developed in concert with more than 30 industry partners worldwide (see separate quote sheet ), including Booxen Co. Ltd, Ciando, Ebooks Corporation, Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Ingram Digital, Jouve, LibreDigital, NetLibrary, Overdrive, Random House, Value Chain International Ltd, and others.

Today, Adobe Digital Editions is popularizing the digital reading experience on both Microsoft Windows and Macintosh systems and emerging platforms, such as the Reader Digital Book by Sony®.

“We know digital book customers want a broad selection of content, a choice of reading platforms and devices and the option to get their eBook from their favorite retailer, local public library or directly from the publisher,” said Paul Weiskopf, senior vice president, Corporate Development at Adobe. “Adobe Content Server 4 enables the publishing industry to meet all these needs for eBook customers while, at the same time, protecting valuable copyrights.”

The new server software supports Portable Document Format (PDF) and the EPUB file format, an XML-based industry standard with broad support from the publishing industry and the Association of American Publishers. With support for the EPUB format, publishers, libraries and content aggregators are able to securely distribute reflowable digital content to the smaller screens of mobile devices. Adobe InDesign® CS3 software helps publishers to easily export the content to the EPUB format and PDF.

Adobe Content Server 4 improves file security and flexible permissions, as well as retail and library lending support, which directly benefits aggregators, online distributors and publishers of eBook content through copy protection. eBook files can be hosted in existing Web infrastructures and business processes, providing easy and seamless integration with media servers, databases and e-commerce systems. The software features a pay-as-you-go pricing model for content distribution, and quick downloads for consumers.

Adobe Content Server 4 is fully compatible with Adobe Digital Editions 1.6 software, a free, lightweight desktop application that allows users to manage and read documents and rich, interactive digital content in an intuitive user interface created using Adobe Flash® software. The software delivers enhanced flexibility through named activation and enables users to move content across platforms and supported mobile devices like the new Sony Reader Digital Book.

Pricing and Availability

Adobe Content Server 4 and Adobe Digital Editions 1.6 are expected to be available in North America on September 22. The new server software runs on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Solaris and Linux, and requires a minimum of 1 GB of memory. Adobe Digital Editions 1.6 will be available as a free download for Windows and Macintosh systems.

Content Server 4 will be available for the initial fee of $6500USD, with no limits on the amount of content able to be protected or fulfilled, and will also include a pay-per-use subscription to a digital signing service. There are no restrictions on the numbers of CPUs on which the software can be installed. Adobe Content Server 3 will be discontinued with the introduction of Adobe Content Server 4. For full system requirement information and migration details, visit .

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information – anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit .


  1. >>>and will also include a pay-per-use subscription to a digital signing service.

    So Adobe is a tollbooth, collecting a fee with each secure transaction — in this case, each eBook borrow from a public library? I wonder what that fee is and what it does to pricing versus a print book versus an eBook? An eBook, after all, would not wear out like a printed book. Could eBooks wind up being a *multiple* of a single print book’s price?

  2. Have you run actual models to make sure that’s a fact?

    Amusing Ourselves to Death:

    Published in 1985. Still in public libraries. Multiple print copies bought over those years due to wear & tear, losses, theft. How many borrows were there over those years? Multiply those borrows over the life of an eBook version that *never* wears out. Unless you’re talking about fraction-of-a-penny fees (which I doubt!), I think the math is against you.

  3. Mike,
    Okay this is an argument about the costs of buying vs. renting. The current eBook market for libraries is already in a rent model and there is no buy model – Libraries buy access to catalogs from large aggregators. On the positive side this gives libraries access to larger catalogs than they could get through a purchase model. The downside is that for more popular books, the libraries will eventually pay more than retail cost of the book. However even that is hard to determine, since most aggregators charge libraries a flat monthly/yearly fee based upon the expected volume of rentals for that library.

    Your question boils down to how much will the aggregators increase the rental fee to libraries to account for increased costs in dealing with ACS4. Unfortunately that is information I don’t know, and couldn’t share if I did. However I will point out that in moving to ACS4 we have fixed problems that the aggregators were complaining about, that will decrease the support costs to both libraries and aggregators, so the math is not at all straightforward.

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