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Adobe: Electronic books market set to explode

Adobe unveils e-commerce solution and CoolType for clearer on-screen reading; new partners to begin selling content.Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced last week the immediate availability of Adobe PDF Merchant software, a server-based application that secures electronic content for distribution and sales via the Internet.

Adobe unveils e-commerce solution and CoolType for clearer on-screen reading; new partners to begin selling content.

Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced last week the immediate availability of Adobe PDF Merchant software, a server-based application that secures electronic content for distribution and sales via the Internet. Adobe PDF Merchant provides publishers, authors, resellers and distributors the security and confidence needed to deliver electronic books directly to consumer devices. Additionally, Adobe unveiled CoolType, which improves the clarity of type on LCD displays.

While many publishers and authors are interested in tapping the growing eBooks market, there has been concern about managing the intellectual property of electronic content. Adobe PDF Merchant can be integrated with existing e-commerce and transaction servers, creating a seamless solution for encrypting volumes of Adobe PDF files and selling them over the Web. Once the content is secured, Adobe PDF Merchant creates an electronic key, which can be used within Adobe Acrobat software or the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to unlock and read the material.

"Adobe's PDF Merchant is an important step in enabling the publishing industry to distribute content securely and effectively," said Robert Bolick of McGraw-Hill's Professional Book Group.

"Adobe has focused on the intersection of publisher and consumer interests in developing Adobe PDF Merchant and Acrobat Reader," said Joe Eschbach, vice president, ePaper Solutions, Adobe Systems Incorporated. "What will drive the growing electronic books market is the breadth of content available to people. Therefore, we have worked with end-users and leading publishers to broaden the number of titles available in a sharper, cleaner reading experience."

E-commerce for Electronic Content
Today, the company announced that a number of partners will implement Adobe PDF Merchant within their e-commerce services: BookZone; Chapters Online; DeepCanyon; Internet Interactif/Point Net Communications; Mazer Corporation; PublishOne; Qpass; RoxyBooks; Sheet Music Plus and Virtual Publishing. Whether selling analyst reports or sheet music, these companies are aggressively building a marketplace for electronic content. Electronic Books Market Set to Explode as Adobe Introduces New E-Commerce Solution-page 2

Said Eschbach, "Each of these companies maintains a unique and vital link in the publishing and delivery chain. We will continue to develop innovative technologies that help them expand the content options available to their customers."

Over the past few months, Adobe has announced relationships with: Barnes & Noble, Inc.; Everybook, Inc.; Glassbook, Inc.; InterTrust; Iomega Corporation; Octavo Corporation; Pearson PLC; Reciprocal; R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company; Salon.com; Seybold Publications; Simon & Schuster, Inc. and Xerox Corporation.

Bringing the Future of Reading into Focus

Adobe also unveiled new technology designed to enhance the reading experience for consumers as they browse, purchase and read electronic books. CoolType improves the resolution for text displayed on a LCD screen as much as 300 percent, making reading much easier on even the smallest handheld devices. Providing sharper text and graphics on LCD screens will help make the plethora of handheld devices a more suitable platform for reading longer documents. Adobe is also developing technologies to resize and reflow content to fit any device, while maintaining the high-fidelity and printing capabilities of the Adobe PDF format.

Acrobat Reader software, available on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, makes purchasing and viewing electronic content quick and easy. Consumers simply click on a document they wish to purchase and the request is sent to the publisher's commerce server. After payment is electronically submitted, consumers receive a "key" which opens the document. Since documents are in Adobe PDF, the visual integrity of the original document is preserved. Publishers benefit from the technology because encrypted Adobe PDF provides protection against unauthorised access and because it integrates into their existing workflows. As a result, consumers will have a greater selection of electronic content to choose from.

Availability and Pricing
Adobe PDF Merchant commerce server version is available immediately at an estimated U.S. street price of US$5,000 per server with a per transaction fee obligation. Currently, it is available through the www.adobe.com store in English to U.S. and Canadian customers only. The company intends that the new technologies will be integrated into existing ePaper Solutions products in the second half of 2000.