Just when you thought you had this infoproduct business cracked, along comes Adobe to mess it all up for you. For several years now, people have been getting used to – and liking – the PDF format which allows you to publish your books online and for your readers to buy them and use them with free software. Now Adobe is set to change all that by introducing “Digital Editions”. This is effectively iTunes for PDF files. In order to read the ebooks you’ll need to have the Digital Editions software and you’ll only be able to read them with that software – they won’t be able to be opened by Adobe Reader. What the folks at Adobe have done is to jump on the iTunes bandwagon. They have seen an opportunity to repeat the success that Apple has had with music, in the printed word area. What Adobe (and Apple) have failed to realise is that they are using technology to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They want to control our access to copyrighted material – the concept of digital rights. But that’s a 20th Century problem. Nowadays, the business model of copyrighted material is changing. People expect things free. Free music, free books, free digital products. They pay for them via advertising, sponsorship and so on. Forcing people to use something like Digital Editions is bound to fail as it no longer matches people’s expectations. I’m predicting the end of iTunes within five years and Digital Editions won’t last that long.
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