Adobe Digital Editions

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Adobe Digital Editions
Adobe Digital Editions.PNG
Adobe Digital Editions, library view
Developer(s) Adobe Systems
Stable release / April 11, 2019;5 months ago (2019-04-11)
Operating system Android, Windows, iOS, macOS
Type E-book reader
License Freeware

Adobe Digital Editions (abbreviated ADE) is an ebook reader software program from Adobe Systems, built initially (1.x version) using Adobe Flash. It is used for acquiring, managing, and reading eBooks, digital newspapers, and other digital publications. The software supports PDF, XHTML (through the nonproprietary EPUB file type specification) and Flash-based content. It implements a proprietary scheme of Digital Rights Management ("DRM") which, since the version 1.5 release in May 2008, allows document sharing among multiple devices and user authentication via an Adobe ID. ADE is a successor to Adobe eBook Reader. [1]

Adobe Flash is a deprecated multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich Internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, mobile games and embedded web browser video players. Flash displays text, vector graphics and raster graphics to provide animations, video games and applications. It allows streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera input. Related development platform Adobe AIR continues to be supported.

eXtensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) is part of the family of XML markup languages. It mirrors or extends versions of the widely used HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the language in which Web pages are formulated.

EPUB E-book file format

EPUB is an e-book file format that uses the ".epub" file extension. The term is short for electronic publication and is sometimes styled ePub. EPUB is supported by many e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers. EPUB is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). It became an official standard of the IDPF in September 2007, superseding the older Open eBook standard.


Windows and OS X versions of Adobe Digital Editions were released on June 19, 2007. Previous versions of the software required version 9.0 of Adobe Flash Player. Starting with version 2.0, however, which relies on .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows, Flash Player is no longer supported. Adobe initiated development of a Linux version of ADE in 2007; however, this has not had any beta release or any formal updates. [2]

Adobe Flash Player Software for viewing multimedia, rich Internet applications, and streaming video and audio

Adobe Flash Player is computer software for using content created on the Adobe Flash platform, including viewing multimedia contents, executing rich Internet applications, and streaming audio and video. Flash Player can run from a web browser as a browser plug-in or on supported mobile devices. Flash Player was created by Macromedia and has been developed and distributed by Adobe Systems since Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005. Flash Player is distributed as freeware.

.NET Framework software platform developed by Microsoft

.NET Framework is a software framework developed by Microsoft that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows. It includes a large class library named as Framework Class Library (FCL) and provides language interoperability across several programming languages. Programs written for .NET Framework execute in a software environment named the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR is an application virtual machine that provides services such as security, memory management, and exception handling. As such, computer code written using .NET Framework is called "managed code". FCL and CLR together constitute the .NET Framework.

Linux Family of free and open-source software operating systems based on the Linux kernel

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.

Digital rights management

Adobe Digital Editions uses the proprietary ADEPT (Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology) Digital Rights Management scheme, [3] which is also implemented on some e-book readers, including iPads and many Android devices, but not Kindles. [4] The software locks content to up to six machines and allows the user to view the content on each of them. Barnes & Noble (B&N) ebooks are protected with a variant of ADEPT.[ citation needed ]

Android (operating system) Free and open-source operating system for mobile devices, developed by Google

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google has developed Android TV for televisions, Android Auto for cars, and Wear OS for wearables, each with a specialized user interface. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs and other electronics.

The Amazon Kindle is a series of e-readers that Amazon designs and markets. Amazon Kindle devices enable users to browse, buy, download, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines and other digital media via wireless networking to the Kindle Store. The hardware platform, which Amazon subsidiary Lab126 developed, began as a single device in 2007 and now comprises a range of devices, including e-readers with E Ink electronic paper displays and Kindle applications on all major computing platforms. All Kindle devices integrate with Kindle Store content, and as of March 2018, the store has over six million e-books available in the United States.

In March 2009, the author of the reverse engineering blog i♥cabbages announced that they had broken the scheme. [5]

Reverse engineering, also called back engineering, is the process by which a man-made object is deconstructed to reveal its designs, architecture, or to extract knowledge from the object; similar to scientific research, the only difference being that scientific research is about a natural phenomenon.

When viewing an ebook, Adobe Digital Editions by default stores the ebook locally as PDF files on Windows machines. These files can be copied and handled like other files, but they cannot be opened except with Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe's website has virtually no information on ADEPT except on its trademark page and a statement that OverDrive is compatible. [6]

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Based on the PostScript language, each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it. PDF was standardized as ISO 32000 in 2008, and no longer requires any royalties for its implementation.

Data collection concern

On 6 October 2014, Nate Hoffelder reported in The Digital Reader that Adobe Digital Editions version 4 ("ADE4") was sending extensive information about ebooks back to Adobe, including ebooks read by a user as well as ebooks stored on the same machine but not opened in ADE4. [7] This was confirmed by Sean Gallagher, writing in Ars Technica [8] and by others. [9] However, no one else has confirmed the report that books never opened in ADE nor in the ADE library are logged. [8] Hoffelder reported that the information collected included "[which] ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order... including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book". [7] He also reported that all this data was sent in clear text—that is, not protected by any form of encryption. [7] This would make it easy for a third party to read this information. This data was collected for borrowed library books and for books NOT protected by any form of DRM. Hoffelder suggested that such a practice might violate various privacy laws. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made a similar suggestion. [10]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California. The foundation was formed in July 1990 by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor to promote Internet civil liberties.

Adobe responded that their practice was justified by their license agreement and denied collecting data on any book not currently opened for reading. Specifically, they stated:

"All information collected from the user is collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers. Additionally, this information is solely collected for the eBook currently being read by the user and not for any other eBook in the user’s library or read/available in any other reader. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy." [11] [12] [13]

Gary Price, writing in INFOdocket (an online publication sponsored by Library Journal ), views the matter as of serious concern, but sees it as another instance of concerns that have been present but largely unaddressed for years. [13] The article also posts Adobe's response to the issue.

In October 2014, Adobe released version 4.0.1 of the software, which sends data to Adobe in a secure transmission (using HTTPS). [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Open eBook, or formally, the Open eBook Publication Structure (OEBPS), is a legacy e-book format which has been superseded by the EPUB format. It was "based primarily on technology developed by SoftBook Press". and on XML. OEB was released with a free version belonging to public domain and a full version to be used with or without DRM by the publishing industry.

Sony Reader line of e-book readers manufactured by Sony

The Sony Reader was a line of e-book readers manufactured by Sony, who produced the first commercial E Ink e-reader with the Sony Librie in 2004. It used an electronic paper display developed by E Ink Corporation, was viewable in direct sunlight, required no power to maintain a static image, and was usable in portrait or landscape orientation.

Mobipocket SA was a French company incorporated in March 2000 that created the .mobi e-book file format and produced the Mobipocket Reader software for mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA) and desktop operating systems.

Sumatra PDF PDF reader

Sumatra PDF is a free and open-source document viewer that supports many document formats including: Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Compiled HTML Help (CHM), DjVu, EPUB, FictionBook (FB2), MOBI, PRC, Open XML Paper Specification, and Comic Book Archive file. If Ghostscript is installed, it supports PostScript files. It is developed exclusively for Microsoft Windows, but it can run on Linux using Wine.

The following is a comparison of e-book formats used to create and publish e-books.

Rakuten OverDrive, Inc. is an American digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video titles. The company provides secure management, digital rights management and download fulfillment services for publishers, libraries, schools, and retailers. OverDrive's catalog includes more than 2 million digital titles from more than 5,000 publishers. The company's global network includes more than 27,000 libraries and schools. OverDrive was founded in 1986 and is based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM) are a set of access control technologies for restricting the use of proprietary hardware and copyrighted works. DRM technologies try to control the use, modification, and distribution of copyrighted works, as well as systems within devices that enforce these policies.

Adobe Content Server

Adobe Content Server is software developed by Adobe Systems to add digital rights management to e-books. It is designed to protect and distribute Adobe e-books in PDF or EPUB format through Adobe Digital Editions, or applications and devices developed using Adobe's Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, covering a wide range of tablets, smartphones, and dedicated devices. Adobe Content Server also works in conjunction with Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology (ADEPT), Adobe's digital rights management scheme.


Aldiko is an e-book reader application for the Android and iOS operating systems. It supports the EPUB format for digital publications and incorporates facilities for browsing online catalogs on thousands of books and downloading them directly into the user's personal library. The application features a bookshelf-like user interface that lets user navigate their collection of eBooks. It also provides a customizable reading experience through configurable font and background color, font size and type, margin size, display brightness, page turn mode, etc. Additionally, the application allows users to import their own books to read them on the go. Aldiko does not support font embedding.

Calibre (software) E-book management and editing software

Calibre is a cross-platform open-source suite of e-book software. Calibre supports organizing existing e-books into virtual libraries, displaying, editing, creating and converting e-books, as well as syncing e-books with a variety of e-readers. Editing books is supported for EPUB and AZW3 formats. Books in other formats like MOBI must first be converted to those formats, if they are to be edited.

E-book Book-length publication in digital form

An electronic book, also known as an e-book or eBook, is a book publication made available in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on the flat-panel display of computers or other electronic devices. Although sometimes defined as "an electronic version of a printed book", some e-books exist without a printed equivalent. E-books can be read on dedicated e-reader devices, but also on any computer device that features a controllable viewing screen, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Barnes & Noble Nook 1st Edition

The Nook 1st Edition is the first generation of the Nook e-book reader developed by American book retailer Barnes & Noble, based on the Android platform. The device was announced in the United States in October 2009 and was released the next month. The Nook includes Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G wireless connectivity, a six-inch E Ink display, and a separate, smaller color touchscreen that serves as the primary input device. In June 2010 Barnes & Noble announced a Wi-Fi-only model of the Nook. On June 5, 2018 Barnes and Noble announced support for logging in to and adding new content to the device will end on June 29, 2018. The second-generation Nook, the Nook Simple Touch, was announced May 25, 2011 with a June 10 release date.

HTML5 can generally be used as an alternative to Adobe Flash. Both include features for playing audio and video within web pages, It can also be used to play some basic HTML5 browser games and integrated vector graphics are possible with both.

Barnes & Noble Nook Android-based tablet and e-reader

The Barnes & Noble Nook is a brand of e-readers developed by American book retailer Barnes & Noble, based on the Android platform. The original device was announced in the U.S. in October 2009, and was released the next month. The original Nook had a six-inch E-paper display and a separate, smaller color touchscreen that serves as the primary input device and was capable of Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G wireless connectivity. The original nook was followed in November 2010 by a color LCD device called the Nook Color, in June 2011 by the Nook Simple Touch, and in November 2011 and February 2012 by the Nook Tablet. On April 30, 2012, Barnes & Noble entered into a partnership with Microsoft that spun off the Nook and college businesses into a subsidiary. On August 28, 2012, Barnes and Noble announced partnerships with retailers in the UK, which began offering the Nook digital products in October 2012. In December 2014, B&N purchased Microsoft's Nook shares, ending the partnership.

Lektz is an eBook business platform developed by AEL Data, operating from UK and India. The solutions available in the Lektz platform include DRM, ebook reader applications, virtual book store, ebook conversion, elending, consumer analytics, and digital marketing solutions for small, medium-sized publishers and independent authors. Dr. M.S. Mohammed Sadiq, Sr. Vice President of AEL Data, is the chief architect of the Lektz platform and it draws support from AEL Data's ePublishing, digitization, accessibility solutions and application development services.

Kobo Aura

The Kobo Aura is the fifth generation of E-book readers designed and marketed by Kobo Inc. It was revealed 27 August 2013 at Kobo's Beyond the Book Event in New York City, along with three new Kobo Arc devices. Available for pre-order the same day, it cost $149.99 USD/CAD.

Bluefire Reader is an e-book reader application for Android, iOS and Windows operating systems that supports white-labelling. It supports the EPUB and PDF formats for digital publications and incorporates facilities for browsing online catalogs, and downloading them directly into the user's personal library. The application features a library that lets users navigate their collection of eBooks, as well as provides a customizable reading experience through configurable font and background color, font size and type, margin size, display brightness, page turn mode, etc. Additionally, the application allows users to import their own books to read them on the go.

Google Play Books Digital distribution service for ebooks

Google Play Books, formerly Google eBooks, is an ebook digital distribution service operated by Google, part of its Google Play product line. Users can purchase and download ebooks and audiobooks from Google Play, which offers over five million titles, with Google claiming it to be the "largest ebooks collection in the world". Books can be read on a dedicated Books section on the Google Play website, through the use of a mobile app available for Android and iOS, through the use of select e-readers that offer support for Adobe Digital Editions, through a web browser and reading via Google Home. Users may also upload up to 1,000 ebooks in the PDF or EPUB file formats. Google Play Books is available in 75 countries.

FBReader e-book reader application

FBReader is an e-book reader for Linux, Microsoft Windows, Android, and other platforms.


  1. "1.Adobe Digital Editions (NB: Also supports .epub e-books)". e-book software. For PDF e-books (.pdf files). Archived from the original on 2011-02-16. Retrieved 19 March 2011. ...Like its predecessor the Adobe eBook Reader...
  2. "Adobe forum comments - When will linux version be released?" . Retrieved 2011-07-03.
  3. "Adobe Digital Editions 1.0 Press Release". Adobe. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  4. "Digital Editions supported devices". Adobe. January 2012.
  5. "Circumventing Adobe ADEPT DRM for EPUB". i♥cabbages. February 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  6. "Partner Quotes" (PDF). Adobe. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  7. 1 2 3 Hoffelder, Nate (6 October 2014). "Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries". The Digital Reader.
  8. 1 2 Gallagher, Sean (7 October 2014). "Adobe's e-book reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe—in plain text". Ars Technica.
  9. Thomson, Iain (7 October 2014). "Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base". The Register.
  10. McSherry, Corynne (7 October 2014). "Adobe Spyware Reveals (Again) the Price of DRM: Your Privacy and Security". Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  11. "Adobe Confirms It's Gathering Ebook Readers' Data". Digital Book World. 7 October 2014.
  12. Thomson, Iain (7 October 2014). "Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'". The Register.
  13. 1 2 Price, Gary (7 October 2014). "New and Old: Serious Reader Privacy Concerns Both Inside and Outside the Library". INFOdocket.
  14. "What We Can Learn From The Adobe E-Reader Mess". Electronic Frontier Foundation. October 2014.