ⓘ Adobe Digital Editions


ⓘ Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe Digital Editions is an ebook reader software program from Adobe Systems, built initially using Adobe Flash. It is used for acquiring, managing, and reading eBooks, digital newspapers, and other digital publications. The software supports PDF, XHTML and Flash-based content. It implements a proprietary scheme of Digital Rights Management which, since the version 1.5 release in May 2008, allows document sharing among multiple devices and user authentication via an Adobe ID. ADE is a successor to Adobe eBook Reader.

Windows and OS X versions of Adobe Digital Editions were released on June 19, 2007. Previous versions of the software required version 9.0 of Adobe Flash Player. Starting with version 2.0, however, which relies on.NET Framework 3.5 on Windows, Flash Player is no longer supported. Adobe initiated development of a Linux version of ADE in 2007; however, this has not had any beta release or any formal updates.


1. Digital rights management

Adobe Digital Editions uses the proprietary ADEPT Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology Digital Rights Management scheme, which is also implemented on some e-book readers, including iPads and many Android devices, but not Kindles. The software locks content to up to six machines and allows the user to view the content on each of them. Barnes & Noble B&N ebooks are protected with a variant of ADEPT.

In March 2009, the author of the reverse engineering blog i♥cabbages announced that they had broken the scheme.

When viewing an ebook, Adobe Digital Editions by default stores the ebook locally as PDF files on Windows machines. These files can be copied and handled like other files, but they cannot be opened except with Adobe Digital Editions. Adobes website has virtually no information on ADEPT except on its trademark page and a statement that OverDrive is compatible.


2. Data collection concern

On 6 October 2014, Nate Hoffelder reported in The Digital Reader that Adobe Digital Editions version 4 "ADE4" was sending extensive information about ebooks back to Adobe, including ebooks read by a user as well as ebooks stored on the same machine but not opened in ADE4. This was confirmed by Sean Gallagher, writing in Ars Technica and by others. However, no one else has confirmed the report that books never opened in ADE nor in the ADE library are logged. Hoffelder reported that the information collected included ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book". He also reported that all this data was sent in clear text - that is, not protected by any form of encryption. This would make it easy for a third party to read this information. This data was collected for borrowed library books and for books NOT protected by any form of DRM. Hoffelder suggested that such a practice might violate various privacy laws. The Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF made a similar suggestion.

Adobe responded that their practice was justified by their license agreement and denied collecting data on any book not currently opened for reading. Specifically, they stated:

"All information collected from the user is collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers. Additionally, this information is solely collected for the eBook currently being read by the user and not for any other eBook in the user’s library or read/available in any other reader. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy."

Gary Price, writing in INFOdocket an online publication sponsored by Library Journal, views the matter as of serious concern, but sees it as another instance of concerns that have been present but largely unaddressed for years. The article also posts Adobes response to the issue.

In October 2014, Adobe released version 4.0.1 of the software, which sends data to Adobe in a secure transmission using HTTPS.

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