Adobe Introduces Affordable Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition

A few weeks back I wrote a post with a few ideas for using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite tools without having to pay the high price for a subscription to the complete service. At the time, there were already hints about a lower cost service but nothing specific and no timeline.

Well, I’m very happy to report that Adobe has finally come up with a way for the 98% of the market that’s been left on the outside looking in. Today, during the keynote address at MAX, Adobe introduced Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition. Using this service, anyone with InDesign CS5 or CS5.5 can create a one-off branded app for a one-time fee of $395. Additionally, for those interested in the Professional Edition, Adobe also announced that Digital Publishing Suite, Professional Edition will be available as a monthly subscription at US$495/month.

This is a far cry from the prior requirement of a DPS subscription at a minimum cost of about $6,000/year and $100 less than Quark is charging for a similar service for users of QuarkXPress.

Assuming that you have a working knowledge of the DPS tools and InDesign, the process is pretty straight forward and works almost identically to the high priced subscription service with a few important limitations:

  1. This is a one-off product. No in-app purchases and no subscriptions.
  2. The app cannot be updated. Just like a printed piece, if it needs updating you pay.
  3. While the full DPS service is compatible with Android, Playbook and iPad DPS SE is iPad only at this time. Playbook and Android will roll out in 2012.
  4. North America only to start. Plans are to roll DPS SE out globally throughout 2012.

So, how’s it work? Besides InDesign CS5 or CS5.5 you’ll need a credit card and an Apple Developer account ($99/year). Windows users won’t want like this part, but you’ll also need a Mac. That requirement is two-fold.

  1. A Mac is required by Apple to create the certificates  needed to generate the app. The keychain utility is used for this and there is no Windows equivalent.
  2. Adobe has yet to release a Windows version of the viewer builder app needed to package everything up.

Additional benefits

For those who are not ready to publish, there’s more good news. Until now, if you wanted to share folios and only had a free Acrobat.com account, you were limited to one single folio. That limit has been removed and all registered Acrobat.com users will have access to the full folio builder tools by logging into digitalpublishing.acrobat.com.

This will allow you to work on as many projects a you see fit and publish whenever you’re ready.

I’m absolutely thrilled about this. It shows that Adobe does listen to its customers and while it would have been nice to introduced this sooner, I’m happy to file it under “better late than never.” You can read the official Adobe announcement here.

Please use the comments section to let us know what you think.

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Comments

26 Comments on “Adobe Introduces Affordable Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition

  1. I think Single Edition is going to open a whole area of business for designers dealing with smaller businesses. Allowing them to produce more professional marketing collateral that tablet users will be able to interact with.

  2. Bob, it might be worth altering the post so it doesn’t appear that there’s absolutely no way on Windows – people don’t always read comments, do they? I’d add that generating these certificates on Windows is a command line method and I find it more pleasant to generate them on my Mac laptop and transfer them to my main Windows machine.

  3. John,

    How do you work around what Bob wrote about needing the viewer builder app that Adobe has not yet released for Windows?

  4. In addition to Fred’s point, AFAIK (which apparently isn’t everything :) ) you still need a Mac to submit the app to iTunes using the Application Loader.

    As far as generating the certs, as convoluted as it is, doing it on a Mac is certainly a more straightforward process.

  5. I’m glad it’s more available, but it’s still too complex and too expensive. I’ll stick with hammering on ePUBs. I can publish for free and deal with it just like I do a print book. I don’t need or want more complexity.

  6. David, I don’t see the point in bringing up EPUB here. EPUB and DPS are two different things with two totally different workflows.

    There are times when one is better than the other but it’s the content and audience that will dictate that.

  7. I may be missing something, but I don’t see a difference between paying $495 a month and paying $6000 a year – well okay, that’s a 1% saving… Woohee?

  8. @Quentin, what you’re missing is that there is no annual commitment. You can subscribe for a month for $495 and create as many apps as you like.

    This may in fact turn out to be the most important development in all of this.

  9. Ah right – so long as there’s no minimum subscription period, that may indeed do the trick. Thanks for clarifying that.

  10. Why doesn’t Adobe just hire a hit man, line up all the remaining people that still work in a print shop, and kill us? Lord knows between Apple and Adobe thats seems to be their ultimate goal.

  11. @almaink Print is not dead, but print-only is. Apple, Adobe, Quark, Microsoft, Corel, etc are simply providing the tools that users are demanding.

    It’s that simple, IMO.

  12. I agree with you, Bob. It’s not about print OR epublishing; it’s all about “and.”

    What’s amazing is the number of print shops that are now offering digital publishing services! There will always be a place for niche, focused companies (just as there will always be a place for people who do letterpress). But many printers realize that their job is to help creative professionals and publishers create and distribute, not just print.

    I loved the comment someone tweeted about netflix: that their recent mistake has been to forget that their job isn’t to deliver dvds or stream movies… it’s to deliver movies! The method of delivering them is less important than the ultimate mission.

  13. If you purchase the Professional subscription of DPS, are you limited to how many people can upload folios? In other words, do you need a subscription for each designer? Also, can designers upload multiple folios? So if I had 10 designers, each working on a different folio, would one Professional subscription cover them all?

  14. David and Bob: I completely agree. We’re in one of those rapid-but-fundamental periods of change in the entire field of publishing. Print is a very long way from obsolete. (In fact, until somebody figures out how to create virtual packaging, print has great job security.)

    At least 80% of my work is still for print, but I’d have been a fool not to have learned HTML/CSS and Flash. InDesign’s ePub, HTML, DPS and RGB/pixel capabilities are terrific for independent designers like me, who have to be able to provide what clients need across all media.

    Now if Adobe would just give us InDesign-to-After Effects round-trip editing… ;-)

  15. This, the Woodwing announcement, and Kiyo’s demo at MAX restores my faith in Adobe on the DPS front. Really, the subscription looked maybe appropriate only for high-end magazines, and “maybe” as the initial forms of this were technically stupid. Flipping through huge raster images from a 500-meg download like wired… http://allthingsd.com/20100928/conde-nasts-ipad-apps-are-too-portly-blame-adobe/

    I assume that Adobe is best positioned to actually make a good version of DPS, and it was probably a one-weekend hack that produced their first attempt at this (after they heard that friday that Flash wouldn’t be going onto the iPad). But even had it been a good product on first release, the pricing would have been absurd for 90% of our clients.

    $395 one-shot looks fantastic. I am assuming the technology has improved or will improve to be worthy of the Adobe name.

    If you seriously want to publish anything to an iPad, you need a mac… I don’t know how someone would imagine otherwise, the iOS simulator is invaluable in publishing to iPad or iPhone in any form.

  16. Not sure what the price comparison here is between Quark and this product. Quark is offering a one shot hits for around £95 and a Title with subsequent issues For around £499

    Adobe’s price of $395 seems to offer the one shot hit which compares poorly with the Quark price. Am i missing something here?

  17. Does anyone know if there’s a limit to the number of people you can share a folio with via the Folio Producer and a free Acrobat.com account? If I have one folio, can I share it with an unlimited amount of people, or is there a limit? Do the other, paid Acrobat.com accounts offer additional sharing capabilities, if there is a limit on the free account? I’m having a very hard time finding an answer to this. An answer with a reliable, linked source from Adobe is even more evasive. Thanks!

  18. Hi there – just read this and am wondering about publishing to only a private group, with confidential information, for example. Can you not make it open to anyone on iTunes? If so, how does that happen? Does the group all need Acrobat accounts on their iPads?

  19. To publish privately you need an enterprise level DPS account and Apple Developer account. It’s a very expensive proposition and still subject to some very strict requirements by Apple.

    For a very limited audience you can certainly use the Adobe Content Viewer to distribute your content.

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