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In January 2014, Adobe released Adobe Digital Editions 3.0* that along with some reader enhancements allows for a more secure digital rights management (DRM) scheme. This upgraded version is designed to take advantage of the Adobe Content Server (ACS) 5** release that will happen later this year.

Perhaps you’ve seen some articles or blogs on this already. Some of those articles and blogs are claiming that this new DRM is killing all legacy eReaders . The fear being once Adobe Content Server 5 is released, eReader apps and hardware devices will no longer support purchased eBooks. At Sheridan we’ve dug through these and countless other articles and blogs, contacted experts, and are presenting you with our findings which are not as scary as you may have been lead to believe…

First, it is important to realize that this only applies to ePub and PDF eBooks using Adobe DRM that are purchased prior to the release of Adobe Content Server 5. (As a side note, Amazon has their own proprietary format and does not use Adobe DRM.)

Next, Adobe will continue to support eBooks that use the earlier version, ACS, 4x. As stated on the Adobe website “Adobe had no plans to discontinue support of ACS 4x. Our ACS 4x customers would be able to continue with their operations and deliver eBooks. Adobe believes that it is the choice of the customers to decide if they want to take advantage of the enhanced DRM or continue with the existing DRM. Adobe will not force any customer to the new DRM. Your existing devices, applications, or content will continue to operate as they are today.”

Lastly, the new DRM provides a higher degree of security and content protection against unauthorized viewing of ePub and PDF eBook files.

For our Sheridan customers, rest assured that we will not activate the new DRM until we are certain of the impact, if any, it may have on our publishers and their consumers. As always, we will keep you informed of any new developments that may affect your publishing efforts. If you produce eBooks with another provider, we encourage you to discuss with them their plan for Adobe’s ACS 5 release.

For more information see Adobe Announces it Will Continue to Support old eBook Formats.

*Adobe Digital Editions is a software that allows the end consumer to view PDF and ePub eBooks protected with Adobe DRM.

**Adobe Content Server 5 is a software that “applies” DRM to PDF and ePub files and would be used by companies that apply DRM to titles.