Karl's Corner: Digital Editions

October 25, 2006


Editor's Note: Formerly CEO of Planet PDF, Karl De Abrew is now the CEO of Debenu ( -- maker of the Quick PDF Library (formerly iSEDQuickPDF | QuickPDF) (, a powerful royalty-free PDF developer SDK, and Benubird Pro, the easy-to-use personal document management system.

ARTS PDF and Planet PDF are both divisions of BinaryThing

I was intrigued to catch the latest news that Adobe has decided to give the ol' electronic book another run for its money. If you'd been following the world of eBooks, you'll probably remember the fuss around Stephen King's "Riding the Bullet" release back in mid-2000. Over 400,000 copies of "Riding the Bullet" were downloaded in the first 24 hours -- 4.62 per second!

Maybe you read my (optimistic) article that was published at the time, "PDF eBooks are here to stay". Heck, you might have even been a regular reader of our sister site, Planet eBook, but as you're probably well aware, the Adobe eBook Reader wasn't exactly a raging success after the initial explosive interest petered out. In fact, for the most part, the eBook industry grew much more slowly than originally predicted by some, myself included. You'll see, for example, that Barnes and Noble no longer sells or provides support for eBooks based around Adobe eBook Reader or Microsoft Reader. Interestingly, a potential lack of future support for eBooks was one of the reasons that many were against the idea of adding Digital Rights Management to digital editions of books.

Electronic books have quietly made a comeback over the past 4-5 years, slowly but surely making their way into the lives of users by way of sites such as This accumulation of interest has contributed to the recent revival of Adobe's eBook-related projects, although its new eBook viewer and manager is clearly a child of the marriage between Adobe and Macromedia. Named "Digital Editions", it's a flash-based viewer which can read eBooks in both PDF and XHTML formats. It's also lightweight, being only 2.5mb in size.

To find out more about Digital Editions, check out CNET's or jump straight to the Adobe Labs site and get reading -- you can even download a beta version from the latter site.

What do you think? Post your comments in the Planet PDF Forum Talkback section.

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