9 Replies Latest reply: Aug 4, 2012 7:07 AM by Jim_Lester RSS

    ADE reader defeats the purpose


      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.

        • 1. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
          Frustrated in AZ Community Member

          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.



          • 2. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
            eggheadbooks Community Member

            No, it is not a PDF; it's an ePub made with InDesign. Which is a whole other issue...


            I am speaking from the point of view of a content creator, not a consumer. I'm left with two ridiculous choices: place my images in my ePub at a static pixel size and know they will be cut off for anyone using ADE as a reader, or anyone using reading apps such as Sony, Nook, or Kobo for their laptop, desktop, or mobile phones; OR I have to use a percentage value, knowing that images smaller than the screen width will be interpolated up and look awful, and images taller than the screen will be interpolated down and look awful.


            A year ago, when I published my first book and tested it in ADE on my PC, the cover image, although scaled to fit by ADE, looked fine. About six months later ADE was changed and then the same book opened with the cover cut off. Now I'm working with a much more complex book, with multiple images, and the choices, as noted, are both terrible. Sure, in a proper ebook or better reading app the images might look fine, but not everyone has a dedicated device. Many are using their laptop, desktop, tablets and mobile phones to read ebooks. Most consumers want to buy books from multiple sources and read them on multiple devices; hence the very vocal anti-DRM camp. For those of us who wish to apply DRM to our books, our only reasonable response is to point out that ADE makes Adobe DRMed books interoperable. Just download the application, we tell folks. Unfortunately, if they do not have a dedicated device and they open up their ebooks in ADE the books look terrible. How does this win support?


            Adobe promotes ADE as "an engaging way to view and manage eBooks and other digital publications"; it is not merely "a 'library management' application" as you say but is intended also to be an ereader for those who do not have a dedicated device; and when a consumer downloads a DRMed book via ADE, the book does not just download to one's Digital Editions folder but immediately opens in ADE to be viewed and read. Thus, many users who wish to read ebooks on their laptop, tablet or mobile devices wouldn't necessarily know to go beyond ADE to find Bluefire or others. Hell, it's a monumental task just finding consumers who understand how ADE works at all because the retailers who use it do not advertise how it functions because they don't want their consumers buying books from competitors.


            Consequently, as a content creator who elects to have her distributors and/or retailers such as Kobo apply Adobe DRM to her titles -- which, by the way, has also been adopted now by Sony and B&N -- I'm distressed at how ADE gives consumers such a poor reading experience. How are we to oppose the anti-DRM brigade when Adobe DRM is fast becoming the industry standard DRM outside of Apple and Amazon, and yet Adobe makes such a crappy viewing application?

            • 3. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
              Frustrated in AZ Community Member

              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



              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.



              • 4. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
                eggheadbooks Community Member

                I would hardly call a scroll bar or halfway decent image handling "the latest and greatest." If Calibre, which is designed by unpaid programmers in their spare time, can produce a better ereader than Adobe with all its resources and full-time programmers, well that just speaks volumes. Can't Adobe spare a few people from Photoshop to work on ADE's image handling? Or at least have enough foresight to give us a scroll bar? You really have to wonder about the people supposedly testing the products before release. The problem is so obvious that it's mind-bogglng to think no one thought to bring it up. And it's especially perplexing considering Adobe also make InDesign, so they know the issues with "fixed" versus "relative to page" image handling.


                I am seriously having to reconsider my use of DRM for my ePubs. I'm not happy about that, but if my readers are stuck using apps that cut off images, or badly interpolate them, then I have to consider making it possible for consumers to use a free utility like Calibre. And I can only do that if I no longer use and promote Adobe DRM. Which sucks. But that's how it is because Adobe couldn't be bothered to think about the most basic of ebooks issues: can the user actually READ the book on its ereader?

                • 5. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
                  Frustrated in AZ Community Member



                  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




                  • 6. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
                    Jim_Lester Community Member

                    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.

                    • 7. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
                      eggheadbooks Community Member

                      Hi Jim:


                      Thank you for your suggestions.


                      The problem isn't that I can't get the images to scale (one can do that by setting a percentage value instead of a fixed value) it is that in ADE the images are scaled badly. Interestingly enough, if I use a set value and let, for example, Aldiko scale the images to fit they look nice; images set to 100% look terrible.


                      I am modifying the images to fit well on most ereaders -- 600 x 800 max.


                      But regardless of what device the ePub is viewed on, if viewed in ADE itself set-value images are cut off instead of scaled down to fit (it's the same with most desktop apps). I guess it comes down to promoting to consumers that they NOT use ADE for anything except library management of Adobe DRMed ebooks. Which seems contrary to Adobe's plans considering their marketing material.


                      BTW, I came here because, contrary to Frustrated assertions, there is no feedback form for ADE. If you go to their feedback page and scroll through the list of Adobe software, ADE isn't on the list.


                      I think with SVG one can limit the scaling; if your image is less than the screen size of the device you can keep it from uprezzing, but I have to do more research. When I first checked out MR threads regarding images cut off in ADE and computer ereader apps, the answer is always the same: use a percentage value. That, as I have noted, isn't working well when viewed in ADE. The scaling is just awful.


                      Will have to keep looking for a solution.

                      • 8. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
                        eggheadbooks Community Member

                        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




                        Found this on the MR forum:


                        "The problem is that ADE for Windows/OS X scale graphics very poorly. There is nothing you can do to fix this using your JPG cover image...The only way to solve the problem on the computer is to get Adobe to fix their broken graphics scaling routines in ADE. ADE for the eink readers seems fine. But then, that is probably using built-in routines and not Adobe's broken ones."


                        Hopefully Adobe sit in on the MR forums. It appears my problem isn't so isolated as you would like people to believe.

                        • 9. Re: ADE reader defeats the purpose
                          Jim_Lester Community Member

                          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.