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PR: Adobe Announces New Digital Publishing Suite

[Editor's note: This involves the Digital Magazine Publishing Solution (called DMP or DMS at different times recently) that we've been talking about recently, and which publishers have been using to create iPad apps such as Wired, the New Yorker, InDesign Mag, and many others. It's pretty cool technology, but has been relatively challenging to use in the early beta stage and Adobe's introductory pricing clearly limits the number of publishers who can participate at this time.]

LOS ANGELES — At MAX, Adobe?s annual worldwide conference, Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite, providing publishers a set of turnkey hosted services and viewer technology to create, publish, optimize and sell digital content direct to consumers, through content retailers or leading mobile marketplaces. Built on the foundation of Adobe Creative Suite® and Adobe InDesign® CS5 software, the Digital Publishing Suite enables the design and delivery of innovative publisher-branded reading experiences, paired with flexible commerce models and support for deep analytics reporting.

“Adobe was attuned to our needs as designers, editors and content creators and was able to meet those needs in a way that not only distinguishes our forthcoming digital issue of Martha Stewart Living, but will benefit all magazine publishers.”

Using InDesign CS5, PDF, HTML5 and the Digital Publishing Suite, publishers will be able to efficiently author both fixed and adaptive layouts, natively build new levels of interactivity directly in InDesign, distribute and monetize their digital editions, and optimize their editorial and advertising content for a complete end-to-end digital publishing workflow.

“The publishing industry is reinventing itself and a new era of editorial and advertising innovation is upon us as publishers target new mobile hardware platforms,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager for Creative and Interactive Solutions, Adobe. “By leveraging the InDesign CS5 workflow and the services of the Digital Publishing Suite, professional publishers can design and commercialize a new class of innovative digital magazines to create a richer and more dynamic reading experience that will attract high-value subscribers and advertisers.”

Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch will officially unveil the Digital Publishing Suite during his Adobe MAX 2010 keynote today at 9:30 a.m. PT. Sign up for live streaming of the keynotes on the MAX 2010 website at http://www.max.adobe.com/online.

The Digital Publishing Suite includes enterprise-level services and viewer technology:

  • The Digital Publishing Suite will support the Adobe Content Viewer for Adobe AIR® and iOS that can be fully publisher-branded to support immersive reading experiences on tablet devices, such as the Blackberry PlayBook, Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPad and the many Android-based devices expected to come to market soon. Minimal chrome, innovative navigation features such as the zoomed out “browse mode” and dual-axis navigation allow readers to engage with content in new and exciting ways.
  • Production Service: Upload articles directly from InDesign CS5 into an intuitive hosted service in which publishers can collaborate on design, assemble final content in the correct order, add issue and article metadata and preview the complete issue as it will appear in final published form on the desktop and tablet devices. The Production Service will support a range of file formats, including PDF and HTML5.
  • Distribution Service: Securely store, host and distribute digital content across leading tablet devices and desktops for broad reach and audience access. Publishers can manage content available for fulfillment from within a library content dashboard, including publication metadata and archival as well as seamlessly notify readers within the Content Viewer when a new magazine issue is available for purchase or download.
  • E-commerce Service: Leverage flexible payment and merchandising models with the ability to monetize content directly, through retailer platforms or leading mobile marketplaces such as the Blackberry App World, Android Market, Google Apps Marketplace or Apple App Store. Publishers can create high-value merchandising programs such as print and digital content bundles and enable readers to seamlessly purchase content directly from within the magazine application on their device. Direct publisher e-commerce support for interoperability will allow readers to purchase content once and read it on their desktop or tablet devices.
  • Analytics Service: Gain valuable customer insights to better optimize editorial content and drive higher advertising monetization using best?of?class online analytics from Adobe SiteCatalyst®, powered by Omniture. Publishers can access prebuilt dashboards directly from within the hosted publishing workflow to view key advertising and subscriber data including total ad views, issue download and purchase metrics and engagement with interactive content such as video. Valuable viewer-profile analytics can supplement traditional offline point-of?sale (POS) data to build a more comprehensive understanding of an individual subscriber. Drill-down reporting and analytics are available through a separate Adobe SiteCatalyst subscription. Additional dashboard and reports can be custom tailored to meet a publisher?s unique business goals.

Adobe is already working with the largest publishers in the world such as Condé Nast and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. to create and monetize dynamic digital magazines.

“Our pioneering work with WIRED and The New Yorker has enabled Adobe to deliver a set of workflows and tools that will leverage emerging hardware platforms and make our magazines stand out in the digital format that will attract advertisers and keep readers engaged in new ways,” said Joe Simon, chief technology officer, Condé Nast. “I can?t think of a more exciting time to be involved in the publishing business.”

Gael Towey, Chief Creative and Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, stated: “Adobe was attuned to our needs as designers, editors and content creators and was able to meet those needs in a way that not only distinguishes our forthcoming digital issue of Martha Stewart Living, but will benefit all magazine publishers.”

Additional information about the Digital Publishing Suite is available at http://adobe.com/digitalpublishing and on the Digital Publishing blog at http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalpublishing. Follow the team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/adobedigitalpub.

Pricing and Availability

The Digital Publishing Suite is expected to be available in Q2 2011 and offers both a Professional and Enterprise Edition. Pricing for the Professional Edition is expected to be US$699 per month plus a per-issue fee, which scales with publisher volume. The Professional Edition price allows publishers to access the Digital Publishing Suite and create applications for all of their titles and publications. The Enterprise Edition is a custom, multi-year platform agreement that includes access to APIs for integration of back-end publishing services such as subscription management, print fulfillment and e-commerce. Adobe also offers professional services to support enterprise level custom engagements.

Professional publishers that would like to deploy and sell commercial applications prior to general availability of the Digital Publishing Suite are invited to join the Adobe Digital Magazine Publishing Prerelease Program at http://www.adobe.com/beta.

A preview release of the add-on digital publishing technologies for InDesign CS5 is available on Adobe Labs at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/digitalpublishing.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

© 2010 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe, the Adobe logo, Creative Suite, InDesign, AIR and SiteCatalyst are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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30 Comments on “PR: Adobe Announces New Digital Publishing Suite

  1. It really needs to be SEEN. Very impressive. Here is a link to Terry White’s Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast, just released, where he demos the current beta version:

    http://networkedblogs.com/9ABY7

    Also available from the Podcasts section of the iTunes (I subscribe to Terry’s podcasts).

    And here’s a link to Terry’s Tech Blog, where he’s beginning to answer questions about the process in the comments section:

    http://networkedblogs.com/9ACoD

  2. Thanks, Steve. It’s great to see the Overlay Creator and all those other parts of the solution.

    But I just have to insert a question here: Is it just me, or does no one else find the $699 per month plus a per-issue fee a little, um, steep? I’m kind of reeling after hearing about this…

  3. I find it excessively expensive! I guess Adobe is doing what it’s used to doing for its server solutions: Going for the BIG bucks but a very tiny market. I think it’s short-sighted.

  4. Steep, yes, wow. Have been working with the system in prerelease for a book publishing client, and I am stunned by the pricing. I agree with Bran, tens of thousands of users will be cut out of the process. I think Adobe needs to look at an alternative package for the medium-smaller guys, too.

  5. So they’re saying “Unless you sell $1000+ worth of stuff on the Apple Store per month, go away.”

    Might just be cancelling all my plans for Adobe DMP stuff. I’d like to see a “Solution” for us who are a little less enterprise and a little more punk.

  6. Well, I’m hearing some rumors behind the scenes that there may be other pricing plans down the line… this may just be the first wave pricing. So perhaps we just need to be patient.

    It’s hard to be patient sometimes! :)

  7. The main problem, IMO, is the nebulous “plus a per-issue fee, which scales with publisher volume.”

    How is that volume calculated? If I release 4 *small* “issues” (I’m not really publishing “magazines”) a month, is that going to cost me more than releasing one big one?

    It’s not just the dollars, it’s the lack of ability to make plans with incomplete information. Right now we’re guesstimating sales figures (initial and long tail), guesstimating how much it’s going to cost us to host each issue, guesstimating if iPad sales are going to cannibalize our other electronic sales … plenty of murky waters.

  8. So now we can compare Aodobe’s solution to that of Woodwing: both VERY expensive!

    Now in order to design (not publish) iPad magazines, pages etc. the Woodwing solution needs their Content station for the whole workflow (which adds the needed panels to InDesign), it is that content station that makes Woodwing’s solution unavailable for the ‘small’ designer, aka the freelancer.
    Adobe’s solution SEEMS to imply that one can design in InDesign and only needs to be payed at the publising fase (creating the mag and publish to iTunes).

    The big question will be: can someone work in InDesign on a layout for free as freelancer?

    in Woodwings case: no.
    In Adobe’s case: maybe, not clear.

    In order to design in InDesign for iPad with Woodwings solution you need the panels and workflow order from Content Station it seems now to add, well, content.
    In Adobe’s solution we use a strict Folder order to make mags for the iPad.
    Woodwing is far better at adding interactive content: webpages that display, movies, sounds, yes: InDesign animations!
    For Adobe now we have the Air application Overlay builder to add movies, sounds and all sorts of stuff (export to SWF then import SWF layer into InDesign), not as smooth as Woodwings solution – BUT – it seems that this is the situation for now. My bet is that in time we won’t need this Overlay builder and can add this kind of content directly in InDesign.

    If so: then you could use InDesign’s ‘native’ tools to build horizontal en vertical layouts.
    This would cost zip – you already have InDesign. What we need is a ‘iPad simulator’! Read: Device Central.
    If this would be the future, EVERYONE (freelancers!) could make the design (and maybe test it) but to create the actual digital publication you would need the big bucks! ANd to publish it to iTunes: more bucks.

    So it is VERY important for the future that EVERY designer can use the native tools in InDesign to create, or edit layouts (horizontal nd vertical). Then only the end result would cost the big bucks.

    So my guess (and advice to Adobe): smooth things out, forget the Overlay editor or make it at least a panel, make the plug-ins and/or AIR apps free, charge for the creation!

    Any comments on my analyses are very welcome by the way!

  9. Another concern about all of this is fonts. Currently it shouldn’t be an issue since your layouts are rasterized pings, but I could see font vendors get excited about charging per issue if this system every supports selectable text via PDF or HTML.

    Not only will we have to pay adobe & apple, but adding a font license per issue may make printing seem like the affordable option.

  10. David is right with his question. How do I have to tell to my customer that there is a fee of 699 bugs/month and an additional fee per issue, when he’s only selling his magazine for low budget or even for free.

    Whats about the customers only selling a few hundred issues? Don’t they have right to get their magazine on mobile devices.

    Adobe is answering this very clear: NO
    They have to put a new slogan on her site. Digital Publishing, only for the big fishes.

    And before I start conveting all to ePub, I will better rest on PDF.

  11. Adobe has apparently decided the future is feeding the dinosaurs.

    There is an opportunity here for some one/organization with the right skills. As of now, no one is serving the small scale digital publication market.

  12. If the plug-in and the two AIR-appss are free, or at least the Overlay builder is, you can design without fear. The money comes in in actually making and marketing/uploading the book.
    If you can design, build overlays and test it (either in an iPad simulator or Device Central, either with an app on the iPad itself like now) I have no worries. Let my publisher do the paying of bucks, as I designer I can do layout and work on existing lay-outs.

    My fear is more in Adobe charging money for the plug-in and Overlay builder itself – that would be a HUGE mistake. As specially as itself are simple apps.
    (Well, maybe in fact I only need one AIR app: the overlay builder. If I have my folders set-up like needed, and I can build overlays – I can work on it, just need to test it.)

    But I found it rather strange that none of the new animations features can be kept in this iPad apps (well – maybe because ehr… it is a RASTERIZED page!). Woodwings solution does SO much more (and, ouch is expensive too!)

    So do freelancer and smaal designers have to worry? Not for the design-work, but we surely can not publish our own book or magazines. But heY: when was the last time you as freelance designer could afford to print the magazine on off-set ;-) That part is yoy publishers, I see this issue/iPad workflow as the same.

    So Adobe, keep the simple overlay creator (the AIR app) free and I can design, work in existing designs etc. My publisher will do the rest…

  13. A lot of these details are going to work themselves out but I can’t help but believe that there will be a plan for a small publisher to sell one off publications without a subscription fee.

  14. I do work for several small publishers who produce limited run books. They are beginning to think about e-distribution. This scheme is totally beyond them. Too bad, because the iPad would be an excellent venue for a lot of their materials.

  15. Let’s hope you’re right, Bob, but for goodness sake, if there is, please Adobe, can we have some details, so that us small guys can also get excited (in a *positive* way).

  16. As a small guy, I’m excited by this development. I publish a small regional magazine with a social enterprise element, so having spent money on Adobe’s software, upgrading my PC, etc – combined with the prospect of having to buy some plugins because some functionality doesn’t exist in the several hundred £ software (that has existed for a good while with the use of plugins?), to hear of silly prices, subscriptions, blah blah blah, that will hinder (price out?) the ability of the small guy to compete really is frustrating.

    As I pointed out on Terry White’s blog, we still live in a world that requires print
    . In the area in which I live and do business, most people use the internet infrequently to not at all. An iPad is a luxury to most people, or not even a consideration to people in their latter years.

    Also take into account areas where literacy skills are poor (closely tied in with many forms of social deprivation, including low incomes). From a business (as well as the social enterprise) point of view, you’re going to want to spend your money on what is most effective and ‘most direct’ – and I’m afraid to say that print and distribution, in my view, ticks these boxes. Spending £100s on subscriptions and per issue fees, only serve to enrich corporations, not the communities that some of us are trying to serve.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Adobe’s price plan is. Who knows, I might be pleasantly surprised to find that it is very reasonable so that the small guys like us can take advantage of it and further develop this exciting new aspect of publishing.

  17. You know when they use corporate drone phrases like “innovative publisher-branded reading experiences” and “high-value subscribers and advertisers” they have given in completely to the dark side. Add to that the Analytics Service bullet which essentially says they’re really good at spying on customers, and pretty much all is lost. The corporate zombies are in charge.

  18. Uhmm… hooray for the “digital revolution”? I’ll stick to print and PDF.

    Perhaps Adobe throws in an AED with every subscription? I bet lots of folks will need one when they tell their clients how much that sweet iPad publication will end up costing them :)

  19. Is there absolutely no way create these mags by purely using HTML 5 & CSS3? seems to me that apple could make a killing if they bought out Pages Pro that would cater for print and digital distribution.

  20. As I understand it now, the authoring tools will be free, as creating and previewing an issue on your iPad. It is the final creation and distributing that costs the big bucks. The same as in print.

  21. As a french (european) guy, I’m already afraid by the pricing!
    Adobe’s products ares sold double the price here in Europe. Do I understand than it will be the same with the Digital Publishing Suite, the cost by month and the fee per issue?

    Please Adobe, let me know how many of this solution you think you will sell in France :(