This is a post for readers of this blog who are currently using (or are planning on using) Adobe Content Server for the distribution of eBooks. Below you’ll find a few “best practices” for you to consider based on our experiences working with ACS technologies over the last several years. These suggestions mostly apply to retailers, but often require the agreement and cooperation of rights-holders and distributors to make these practices a reality.
- Enable customers to re-download purchased items multiple times. Do not restrict a purchase to a single download. Avid readers often have multiple devices and acquire new devices over time.
- Enable customers to transfer content between devices. The Adobe solution provides the option to restrict a downloaded file to a “single device,” but it is rarely advisable to do that. While buyers can often re-download files directly to another device, there are many different reasons why customers may need to transfer files (a tethered reading device is a good example), and it is important that customers can back up their purchased files to future-proof against unforeseen events.
- Craft distribution agreements as a long-term commitment whenever possible—at least for previously sold content even after sell rights expire. Consumers fully expect to be able to re-download purchased content well into the future so it is important that retailers do not find themselves in a position where they are unable to provide that service. This fact is true with or without the use of DRM.
- Offer your customers free branded reading applications for mobile devices and desktop machines and tightly integrate your content acquisition workflows into these apps. This greatly reduces customer friction and builds your brand identity and customer relationships.
- Utilize the Adobe Vendor ID service that enables your customers to authorize their ereading applications with their retail store account credentials rather than having to go get an Adobe ID account. This enables you to offer the “single sign-in” user experience that consumers expect.
- Make sure that your reading applications support multiple user account authorizations for your customers that share devices with their spouse or child, or have multiple accounts for several other valid reasons.
- Enable customers to re-download purchased titles to devices that are authorized with a different user account. An example of this is enabling a customer to re-download a file that was initially downloaded to a device authorized with their Adobe ID account—to a different device owned by the same customer—but that is authorized with their spouse’s account credentials. While many modern apps enable users to add multiple account authorizations to a single device, many older apps and devices do not support that. It is reasonable to limit this to two or three accounts as that covers the vast majority of valid use cases while limiting the potential for abuse.
- Offer customers an alternate download link option that is not “tied” to your own reading apps that enable customers to more easily read purchased items on their favorite third-party reading app or device that leverage the Adobe platform.
- Offer good help and support content and services. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug or ignore it just because it is not an easy topic.