Thursday, January 22, 2009

Follett Announce a New Educational Reader

We have seen the recent emergence of more digital formats and readers some of which are mere pretenders and others confusing noise. Today we read news that is potentially important because of who has developed it and their position in their market. Follett, has revenues in excess of $2.3 billion and provides universities, libraries and schools and school districts in the US and increasingly globally with a wide range of educational tools and services, touching millions of students ranging from adults to grade school children. Follett is truly an educational force.

A new Follett Digital Reader has been developed specifically to meet the needs of K-12 eBook users and will be released on 9th February. During February the focus will be to get the reader installed on computers and at the beginning of March automatically they will migrate the entire existing digital download collections to the FDR format. The reader only effects downloaded ebooks with the existing online collections remain as current.

Follett downloaded eBooks currently are protected using Adobe’s ACS3 DRM and are opened with Adobe® Reader® or Adobe Digital Editions®. Adobe products are now migrating to ACS4 DRM and are planned to cut over in March. The new Follett Digital Reader replaces Adobe DRM and reader products, which Follett believe limits their dependence on Adobe, gives them the ability to develop and introduce additional functionality and importantly enables them to meet the specific needs of their significant K-12 and Public library customer base.

The new reader currently will only read Follett ebooks and works with Adobe Flash 9.0 and 10 and Microsoft.Net and runs on PC and Mac platforms. To read more visit

We believe that this move is significant and is real news. Together with others, Follet are now taking control of their digital business and channel. The move to Flash is both understandable and some would say a wise move as it offers much moving forwar. The battleground would now appear to be between those who believe ebooks should be downloaded and read on a portable dedicated devices and those who who still belive the online and download PC and laptop world works and potentially have their options open with mobile platforms. The concern is that we have yet another format and what this means further down the digital road.

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