Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 9 — October 2001
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RosettaBooks Publishes First Self-Destructing E-Book

RosettaBooks, LLC has announced that it's offering Agatha Christie's classic mystery And Then There Were None in a special time-based permit edition. Released in conjunction with network publishing software provider Adobe Systems, Inc. and digital distribution services provider Reciprocal, Inc., the e-book is available for download at in a promotional "$1 for 10 hours of reading" campaign. Once downloaded, the e-book can be read for 10 hours, after which the book's time-based permit will expire and the content will no longer be available. According to the announcement, the publication of the self-destructing e-book demonstrates technology that could revolutionize the publishing industry and help jump-start the nascent e-book market.

Reciprocal will process the financial transaction and issue a digital permit enabling the reader to access the title via the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader. A reader can access the e-book as often as desired for a cumulative total of 10 hours—more than enough time to read the 275-page mystery, according to the announcement. After 10 hours, the reader has the option of renewing it or purchasing a "permanent" electronic edition for $4.99. The permit prohibits the printing of an e-book. According to the announcement, this technology offers retailers and consumers flexible pricing and purchasing options that could transform commercial transactions in the publishing industry.

Susan Altman Prescott, Adobe's vice president of marketing for cross-media publishing, said: "Timed e-books offered in Adobe PDF open a number of innovative ways for publishers to market and sell books. For example, they offer a cost-effective way to distribute review copies and bound galleys with the layout, fonts, and graphics intact."

"Reciprocal has implemented successful timed-out licenses for our music customers, and we're excited with the opportunity of this model to deliver real value for the publishing community and other industries," said John Schwarz, Reciprocal's president and CEO. "We're pleased to be working with RosettaBooks and Adobe on this innovative campaign, as it demonstrates our commitment to build the digital distribution market for our customers as well as consumers."

Source: RosettaBooks, LLC, New York, 212/751-4545;

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