Adobe Content Server 4 - Deploy it yourself or rent it?

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Adobe Content Server 4 – Deploy it yourself or host with us?

Turgay Birand

January 28, 2013

Currently, Adobe Content Server 4 is pretty much the industry standard for eBook DRM systems. It can protect the most popular eBook formats, ePub and PDF, and perhaps its greatest strength is that it does so without locking end-users into a single device, platform or vendor. It is probably why many industry giants like Google Editions, Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster have adopted Adobe Content Server 4 instead of developing their own eBook DRM system. So what does this mean? Technically, it means that anyone can setup their own eBook DRM system and sell eBooks through their own website. All the while, their system would be compatible with hundreds of reader devices and mobile apps, as well as PCs and Macs with the free Adobe Digital Editions Software. (You can see a complete listing of supported devices and apps here.) And most large publishers allow you to reseller their eBooks if you have Adobe Content Server 4 deployed as your DRM solution. Therefore, you could build a large catalogue of popular eBooks to sell rather quickly. This all sounds great and all, but there has to be a catch, right? It turns out, there is. Adobe Content Server 4 is a great eBook DRM system. However, it is both prohibitively expensive and technically complicated for small to medium size self-publishers and eBook resellers. Its pricing as of today is as follows:
  • $10.000 for the software license (one-time)
  • $1.500 / year maintenance
  • $0.22 for each eBook activation (first time an eBook is accessed by an end-user, also called fulfillment)
Add to that another $5.000 to 10.000 for initial deployment and integration, yearly hardware, bandwidth and technical maintenance costs and you quickly come up with a huge budget. Dealing with the components of the system are also not trivial, requiring an experienced team of server admins and developers. These requirements are simply out of reach for most eBook resellers and self-publishers, or they're just not feasible for larger ones. This is why Adobe has come up with an Adobe Content Server 4 Solution Provider program, which we're proud to be a member of. Our aim is to make this great system accessible to self-publishers and eBook resellers. While we support many large customers with their own Adobe Content Server 4 infrastructure, we feel that self-publishers and smaller eBook resellers need more attention. A more accessible pricing model as well as technical support and accessible documentation is a must. This is why we developed EditionGuard. EditionGuard also comes with some nifty extras built on top of Adobe Content Server 4. Real-time reporting tools and easy to use eBook management web interfaces are a couple examples. In addition, you don't need to deploy and manage a sophisticated piece of server software yourself, we take care of that for you. All you need to do is have your own website and the means to make some small integrations with our system either yourself or through a developer. It can be quite feasible for you if you're just starting out with your eBook selling business, whatever its current scale. You can take a look at our pricing page to see the difference in costs, and grab a free 30 day trial with no obligation or credit card. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or contact us anytime!

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