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eggheadbooks
Currently Being Moderated

ADE reader defeats the purpose

Jul 31, 2012 4:38 PM

Tags: #sony #mobile #images #laptop #tablet #image_size #drm #nook #kobo

Have been trying to send feedback to Adobe for ADE but apparently Adobe isn't interested: ADE isn't included in the list of software in the feedback form. Am hoping that perhaps someone is listening in here.

 

Here's my beef: I am a firm supporter of DRM, but Adobe's ADE is so bad of an ereader that it defeats its own purpose.

 

My book uses multiple images, most of which are screen shots of instructions and so legibility is critical. Many images have a height of 800 pixels and are thus too tall to fit on a typical 15.4" laptop screen, smaller tablet or mobile phone; and images set to 600 pixels wide are too wide for small devices. So in order for the images to be scaled, I cannot set a fixed pixel size; I have to use "height=100%" or "width=100%" value. Unfortunately, ADE interpolates the images so badly that they look like crap. I would expect ADE's image handling to be on par with at least Amazon's Kindle apps, but no; Kindle apps mop the floor with ADE.

 

If I then use a fixed pixel size so that the images are not interpolated, tall images are cut off the laptop screen at about 650 pixels while wide images are cut off at the sides on smaller devices. And unfortunately, ADE doesn't allow the user to scroll down between pages, or from side to side; it only jumps from page to page.

 

It's the same with the Nook, Sony,and Kobo for PC apps that can read ADE DRMed books: on my 15.4" laptop, the Sony reader app cuts off images taller than 525 pixels, and Kobo and Nook apps cut images off at about 500 pixels high.

 

Users can install popular free programs such as Calibre, which has an ereader that scrolls down as well as jumps from page to page. Unfortunately, Calibre cannot open DRMed ebooks. Ditto for Sigil.

 

So now the tablet, PC, or mobile user has to find an ereader app that will both open ADE files AND either does a better job of image handling or has a scroll function for viewing tall fixed-pixel images. By this time the user -- who has most likely purchased the book through Kobo, Nook, or Sony and is trying to read it on their app -- has said "screw this" AND is cursing the book publisher and vowing never to buy a DRMed book again. Or has gone instead to find an app to remove the DRM, again defeating the purpose.

 

Since the majority of tablets and all laptops have a screen width equal to or greater than 600 pixels, one can safely use a fixed image size for anything 600 pixels or less in width and not suffer the horrible uprezzing that occurs if one uses a "width=100%" value; and just leave mobile phone users to suffer.

 

But with tall images, it's not so simple. If ADE would just allow downward scrolling, the problem would be solved: one could safely use a fixed pixel value and let the laptop user scroll down through the image.

 

So why has Adobe missed such an obvious feature? And until ADE does a better job of image handling, its ereader will continue to be subpar. It's not good enough to assume most people have a dedicated ereading device; many are using tablets and it's as if Adobe is pretending these consumers do not exist.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 31, 2012 8:15 PM   in reply to eggheadbooks

    I understand your frustration.  However, you're blaming the wrong things.

     

    I don't think you understand a lot about ADE.  And I think you're confusing

    much about the industry standards with what ADE does and is designed to

    do.  Also, don't confuse ADE the epublication management software with DRM,

    which is a set of specifications implemented by the Adobe Content Reader

    software.  It's only a 'library management' application.

     

    Let's look at your prime - perhaps only - point: 'oversize' images.  You

    haven't told us what format the ebooks with these images are in, and I'm

    going to guess that it's a .pdf, because many textbooks use that format.

    ADE does not support some of the functions in the more advanced versions of

    .pdf (see the HELP section for the specifics).  Neither do Amazon, SONY,

    B&N and Apple.  That doesn't prevent a publisher from putting them out

    there.  You can say that they should, because, after all, .pdf is an Adobe

    format.  However, ADE was written in the 1990's, so its basic framework is

    more than a dozen years old.  Lots of things change during that time.  The

    latest version of Adobe Reader 'might' do the job for you.

     

    Although old, Adobe hasn't kept ADE static.  ADE has embraced reader

    software on tablets - Aldiko is the most popular.  But it doesn't support

    most of them natively.  And it doesn't support all manner of other devices

    - Apple's to be most obvious, but other Android powered devices also.  So,

    ranting about what ADE 'should' do is probably not going to be productive -

    it is what it is, and it's going to stay that way.

     

    Yes, you can decide to 'eliminate' DRM protection - there are several

    programs out in cyberspace that will do that.   And they all are helping

    you break the law if you decide to do that.  But what does that

    accomplish?  Not much, because there are better options.  If ADE isn't

    doing it for you, try one of the other software suites that do the same

    job.  Despite your comments, Calibre has a wide range of features that may

    help your situation.  Bluefire Reader and Overdrive are the others I'd

    suggest looking at.  If the ebooks are DRM-protected, each of these other

    packages have implemented DRM protection according to the same rules that

    Adobe used in ADE.  They have to - it's the way that the industry has

    implemented copy protection.  Apple, SONY, B&N and Amazon have implemented

    DRM differently, and their formats are not compatible with ADE.  However,

    you can use them with their ereaders successfully.  I don't know, however,

    whether they'll be any better at managing the images.  Try the latest

    version of Adobe Reader if the texts are in .pdf format.  That might work

    for you.

     

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 1, 2012 10:49 AM   in reply to eggheadbooks

    This is a viewpoint I've not seen on the forum before.  And I'm not

    qualified to comment on the way ADE would handle epub's when they have

    illustrations in them.

     

    To your point on how 'limited' ADE's function is:  it's still the product

    of the '90's.  And, while it's recommended by distributors, publishers and

    libraries, it will function well for the uses they see for it.  We still

    have to separate the reader/library manager from the digital rights

    manager, though.  Adobe Reader also uses DRM protection.  Should Adobe do

    something else?  I spent over 35 years in the computer world, and it moves

    more quickly in this century than it did at any time during the past one.

    Keeping up is difficult: new ereaders appear about every month, while the

    tablet/smartphone world is exploding at a similar pace.  No software is

    going to keep up with this pace.  If ADE has a weakness now, it's not going

    to get better.  It will take a new product, not a new release of Digital

    Editions.

     

    It would be a shame to stifle the creativity of people like you who produce

    the ebooks.  But, as I learned the hard way, using the 'latest and

    greatest' features can leave your product marooned if the audience doesn't

    have access to those features.  So, the only thing I've been able to do to

    manage the rate of change is to stay behind the curve long enough that it's

    moved on, and then step into the areas that have emerged as 'mainstream',

    while the curve continues to redefine it.  Adobe is doing this also.

     

    I'll bring up just one correction:  When a user decides to acquire an ebook

    using ADE, they have a choice to OPEN or SAVE the ebook.  If they choose to

    OPEN the ebook, then ADE downloads it and opens it in Reading mode, and

    does not add the title to the library.  If they choose to SAVE the ebook,

    then ADE downloads it and adds it to the Library, but does not open it to

    be read.  The user then has the option to open and read the ebook, or to

    download it from the ADE library to an ereader.

     

    =====================

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 1, 2012 11:45 PM   in reply to eggheadbooks

    Sigh....

     

    Your point isn't quite on point.  Adobe's Digital Editions software started

    out in the '90's, and it's gone through several iterations.  As I said,

    it's not easy to keep up with the 'latest and greatest' - whether it's the

    hardware or people who write ebooks and use features available now that

    weren't available 'then', back in time.  Your use of InDesign is a case in

    point: I doubt that you're using version 1.0 of that software.  But, that's

    not a great excuse for Adobe.  It just explains that resources are

    required.  And those resources are NOT the same as those used for its other

    software.  While there is some commonality in the programming language

    perhaps, the real talent required is the thought process needed to manage

    the data that the program is intended to manipulate - and I have a great

    perspective on that from my 30+ years in the computer world.

     

    Your broad brush condemnation of ADE isn't fair either.  Let's add

    perspective: thousands of people have no problem reading ebooks using ADE.

    That's one reason that it's one of the industry standards.  YOUR problems

    with it are much more narrow in application - and while you can be

    frustrated with them, that doesn't mean that those thousands of other

    people will have that problem - or care that you do....  You do have the

    option of complaining - and, believe it or not, you can submit product

    improvements to Adobe via the web.  I'm told that they review them all and

    respond.

     

    ============

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2012 10:23 PM   in reply to eggheadbooks

    Your content isn't scaling well for the use you want it to,  I would suggest modifying your images so that they will fit better on 6/7 inch readers (and not just the desktop).

     

    Also there are other methods of embedding image such as the use of SVG.  The ADE forums are probably not your best bet for learning about those however, and I would suggest going to the MobileRead forums and in particular the EPUB subforum, where there are plenty of people who will know a fair bit about getting epub to behave on various readers.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2012 7:07 AM   in reply to eggheadbooks

    Be careful of matching the screen dimension on the eink readers to closely - although the screens may be 600x800, the area devoted to content is usually slight shorter than that (say 600x760 ), since some of the space gets used for 'chrome' (additional UI).

     

    Also there are other Readers on the desktop that are capable of handling Adobe DRM'd content such as Sony Reader, Kobo and Nook for Windows/Mac (as well as the new version of ADE which is on labs.adobe.com ), you may have better luck with them.

     

    Good Luck

     

    p.s. After your made your first post, your time is going to be better spent looking for workarounds, rather than trying to get Adobe to make changes.

     
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