Adobe labs has made the beta of Adobe Digital Editions available.
This looks to be a promising product, having yet another lash at the ebook space. To my mind, ebooks have been cruelled by a number of factors over the several years different vendors have been trying to get in on this idea:
- the inconvenience of reading on screen (I still have to deliberately choose not to print before reading)
- the non-tactile nature of ebooks (people like the feel of a book in their hands)
- multi-platform compatibility (desktop/notebook/handheld and their various OSes)
I don’t think Adobe has these completely solved yet:
- the tactile nature and convenience of books remains
- Linux and OS X versions are yet to come
- Digital Editions is cross-platform, being based on Flash and Flex (and a sweet example of this technology is certainly is)
While I have a great deal of respect for everyone I know at Adobe (they are all very smart folks), I don’t think Bill McCoy, General Manager of the ePublishing Business Unit at Adobe, has it quite right when he says ebook reading is reaching a tipping point (hey, I’ve just read the book) quite yet. That said, I’d be glad to talk with Bill and get his view directly; I’m open to being convinced.
JD has some coverage also.