“In a word, huge.” That’s what publishing professional Bob Levine thinks of the newly announced Single Edition of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS).
Bob (@idguy on Twitter) has been producing iPad apps with DPS for more than a year, but much of that time was as a participant in the free beta program. Once Adobe phased out the program, Bob found the price of DPS — even the Professional Edition, which costs less than the Enterprise Edition — too high for most of his clients.
The Professional Edition has two pricing models. Model 1 is a month-to-month subscription that costs $495 per month, plus an upfront download fee that ranges from $2,995 to $5,495, depending on how many people download your app. Model 2 is an annual subscription that costs $5,940, plus download fees from $2,995 to $60,00, again depending on numbers of app downloads.
By comparison, the DPS Single Edition will cost $395 per app. And that’s it, no matter how often it’s downloaded.
“With Professional Edition prices, clients were scared away by the app publishing cost,” Bob says. “But you can lose $395 in the cost of a bid. And it’s a fair price. You can’t print or mail a job for free.”
Single Edition will be available sometime before the end of this year. Click here for Adobe’s pricing page on all three editions.
The Baby of the Family
Designing publications with Single Edition is identical to working with its big brothers, Professional and Enterprise. The differences come when you get to the Viewer Builder. Here are the Single Edition’s limitations:
• Each app you publish with SE is a one-off, not a subscription app.
• You can’t access analytics reports on the DPS dashboard.
• SE will roll out first to the iOs; you won’t be able to publish to the Android Marketplace until sometime in 2012. Ricky Liversidge, a vice president in Adobe’s digital publishing group, was unable to provide details on when you might be able to use DPS to publish to the recently announced Kindle Fire, which is a different flavor of the Android OS.
In addition, the Single Edition is available only in North America, at least in the beginning.
David Blatner, co-founder of InDesign Secrets, is less enthusiastic than Bob Levine. “The Single Edition option does address problems I’ve been complaining about since DPS came out. It’s wonderful that Adobe’s making it easier and cheaper, but it’s still not ultimately where we all need to go. When you use DPS, you’re developing software. That’s different than publishing, and it’s not just that it’s a different workflow — it’s a really complex workflow. You have to sign up for the Apple Developer program, get your mobile provisioning… there are a lot of steps.”
I lean more toward Bob’s viewpoint. Suddenly, DPS is affordable for small design studios and even freelancers. And yes, it’s a complicated workflow, but it’s a lot easier than learning some arcane programming language.
One great delight when DPS was still in the alpha and beta stages was seeing how users pushed the program. Adobe’s digital publishing team was often surprised by the way users turned the tools on their head. In mid-November, when the Single Edition becomes available to a sudden influx of new DPS users, I hope we’re surprised and delighted all over again.
“I can see catalogs being done this way,” says Bob. “Or you could test an idea for a publication first on the iPad. You could find out what kind of demand there is for the publication before committing to the costs of print.”
The images below are of the earliest apps produced using Single Edition:
What Else Is Out There?
Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite isn’t your only option. There’s Quark’s App Studio (see our review here), but even if you want to start the creative process in InDesign, there are many paths you can take.
For the August/September 2011 issue of InDesign Magazine, James Fritz researched the topic in-depth and presented his findings in the article “Six Ways to Convert InDesign Files to the iPad.” He compared the following six options:
• Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
• Twixl Publisher
James has just updated his table with details on the Single Edition of DPS. You can download the updated table by clicking the screenshot below:
You may notice that there are only five ways listed in the updated table. That’s because since James wrote his article, Woodwing announced that it will abandon its tablet publishing format and adopt Adobe’s. In the next 13 months, both Woodwing and Adobe will help Woodwing’s current customers transition to DPS.Tags