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Adobe’s Bizarre Digital Publishing Approach

Adobe Systems is clearly the leader in print publishing with InDesign and all of the supporting tools it ships. But their digital publishing approach is like saying to you, “Oh…if you want to send your print job to a printing company that uses a digital press than you have to spend A LOT more money.“ 

One of our businesses publishes a six-times-per-year print newsletter and multiple ebooks (i.e., PDF-based) as trend publications for the home furnishings industry. After weeks of research I’ve determined that the best solution is Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite and it’s what drives many major publications who have made the switch to digital tablet publishing.

The good news? Adobe’s Digital Publishing “Single Edition” is $395 (or you can join the “Creative Cloud” and get ALL of Adobe’s apps as well) and you can create and ship “unlimited iPad apps” publications.

The really bizarre bad news? To publish multiple issues within one of those iPad publications — or to publish to Android or Kindle — one needs to step up to the “Professional Edition” which costs $495 per month!

While I appreciate that Adobe thinks that their position in publishing will enable them to escape disruption from others who will deliver tools to cross-platform publish, this is ridiculous. If I was going to just publish to the iPad I wouldn’t pay Adobe a nickel. I’d much rather use the far more robust and easier to use iBooks Author from Apple.

I suspect Adobe’s strategy is to to make the on-ramp to digital publishing simpler for their print publishing designer base. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Adobe, but most of them have gone on to other gigs like house painting or selling insurance. It’s a stupid strategy to make the Single Edition affordable and the price delta to go “Pro” like moving up from a Honda Civic to a Ferrari.

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

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