Adobe has announced that it will continue to support the older DRM encryption formats for PDF and EPUB eBooks. This flip-flopping on this specific matter was due to the firestorm that erupted due to our recent post on Adobe killing the e-reader industry. We had so much feedback, that Adobe themselves commented on our original story and announced that they will continue to support the old formats indefinitely.
Last week, Adobe stated that they were upgrading the security of their eBook encryption systems. They mandated that they would start petitioning the greater eBook industry starting in March and would prevent older e-readers from reading new eBooks. Basically, if you have an old device, and buy a new eBook, you would not be able to read it, unless the company who made the e-reader updated the firmware. Needless to say there is a ton of older models on the market and perfectly good devices in service, that would never receive the firmware update.
“Adobe does not plan to stop support for ACS 4 or RMSDK 9. ACS 5 books will be delivered to the older RMSDK 9 based readers”, according to Shameer Ayyappan, Senior Product Manager at Adobe. “We will let our resellers and publishers decide when they wish to set the DRM flag on ACS 5, thus enforcing the need for RMSDK 10 based readers.”
In other words, ACS and RMSDK customers can migrate to the new hardened DRM that provides a higher degree of security to EPUB & PDF content and prevents unauthorized viewing of content now and in the future in a timeframe that makes sense for them.
Although Adobe will not cut old e-readers off, they still won’t be able to read the new eBook formats, once more companies start adopting them. One silver lining, was that Sony was the largest company that used the stock Adobe DRM, but they have since abandoned their bookstore in the USA and Canada. Kobo has picked up their customers and all the old books, and Kobo uses their own offshoot of Adobe DRM.
Adobe may not have the clout in North America that they used to, but still have a major presence in the international digital scene. Thalia, txtr and many other companies use their stock encryption, but all of these stores only account for 4% of the global eBook market.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.