An announcement with big potential for the ebook industry has just come out of Adobe. They’ve released a software developer kit (SDK) that will allow developers to bring to mobile devices the capability to download, read and manage ebooks in the Adobe PDF format.
Among the early licensees are Lexcycle, the developer of iPhone ebook reader Stanza, and iRex who put out the iLiad ebook reader.
Importantly, this mobile PDF format supports reflowable text, a feature introduced in Adobe Digital Editions for the PC. This is a key feature that’s been needed if mobile devices are going to use PDF effectively. It will mean that users can read the same document on mobile devices or PCs. And, of course, it plays to Adobe’s strength as the main provider of content design and production tools.
The SDK also includes support for Adobe’s Content Server, the hosted platform which allows Digital Rights Management (DRM) encryption for PDF content.
One benefit of PDF is that it is a better system for controlling how content is displayed on different devices than formats based on HTML/XML standards such as ePub. The latter have to deal with the issue that the same document will look different on different readers’ screens because of how their devices are configured.