OverDrive, Microsoft Announce Comprehensive Authoring Tools And Services for Microsoft Reader

REDMOND, Wash., and CLEVELAND, May 22, 2000 — OverDrive Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced a comprehensive set of authoring tools and services to enable publishers to easily create eBook titles based on Microsoft® Reader with ClearType™
display technology. A beta version of the initial product, ReaderWorks Standard — which enables individuals to convert content from Microsoft Word, HTML, ASCII, OEB or image files into Microsoft Reader format — is available via free download from the ReaderWorks Web site (connect-time fees may apply).

Through its ReaderWorks family of products, OverDrive — a leading developer of ePublishing technologies — offers publishers powerful and flexible tools and services to join the eBook revolution. Individual authors, as well as large-scale production houses and datacenters, are able to easily and economically build eBook titles and repositories for Microsoft Reader.

The ReaderWorks family of products includes the following:

  • ReaderWorks Standard is a free Microsoft Windows®
    operating system-based application that enables users to easily build and customize Microsoft Reader-enabled eBooks from Word documents and HTML, ASCII, images or Open eBook Specification files.

  • ReaderWorks Publisher is an upgrade to Standard that prepares Microsoft Reader-compatible titles for sale and distribution by eBookstores. With ReaderWorks Publisher, eBook authors can answer a few questions about their title and create XML files that contain marketing and copyright protection data in ONIX, XrML and Microsoft Digital Rights Management architecture.

  • ReaderWorks Software Developers Kit includes developers tools for integrating the automated production of eBooks in Microsoft Reader format. ReaderWorks SDK also permits software applications to add
    “save as Reader”

  • ReaderWorks Professional is a suite of proven eBook conversion and quality control tools for volume producers of LIT files (Reader format) in a batch environment.

In addition, OverDrive and its network of value-added resellers (VARs) offer publishers a range of education, training and conversion services, including turnkey systems if desired. The net result is that publishers and content developers, regardless of size, will have powerful tools to accelerate their development of content for Microsoft Reader.

“With ReaderWorks, there is now a complete solution for the whole world of content to quickly and easily take advantage of Microsoft Reader,”
said Steve Potash, president of OverDrive.
“We are extending the file formats that ReaderWorks will automatically import to include Microsoft Word documents, desktop publishing formats and other popular content formats.”

First-to-Market Solutions for ePublishers

“We know that a revolution is underway with eBooks and that consumers are now ready to embrace reading on a wide range of electronic devices from Pocket PCs to laptops and desktop PCs,”
Potash said.
“Microsoft Reader, with its breakthrough ClearType display technology and DRM architecture, is clearly the pre-eminent platform for eBook publishing and for providing the consumer with a truly engaging reading experience.”

Building on its popular BookWorks family of large-scale document conversion products, OverDrive brings its heritage of commercial ePublishing success and its expertise in developing for the Microsoft environment to the Microsoft Reader platform.

“We are proud to provide publishers of all types with the first mature, complete, well-tested suite of tools and solutions for building great eBook titles,”
Potash said.

A Full-Service Partner for Microsoft Reader Solutions

OverDrive’s network of VARs will augment ReaderWorks offerings with training and conversion services. In addition, OverDrive is enabling and supporting all DRM schemes designed for Microsoft Reader.
“Beyond deploying the Microsoft DRM solution, we will also support any new copyright protection that a publisher, merchant or e-commerce vendor wants to employ,”
Potash said.

“We are a full-service partner ready to help bring any business — not just publishers, but companies and institutions across the spectrum of the marketplace — the benefits of eBooks publishing with Microsoft Reader,”
Potash said.
“We can do it all for eBook producers, from strategic component development to turnkey services where they give us print books and we convert them into eBooks.”

Potash predicted that the benefits of eBooks would only become more compelling once customers see them in action.

“As with desktop publishing, eBook authoring and production will quickly become a familiar and powerful way to communicate information that was traditionally done with ink on paper,”
Potash said.
“ReaderWorks will help make that evolution fast, easy and cost-efficient.”

Dick Brass, vice president of Technology Development at Microsoft, said OverDrive’s depth and experience will provide publishers and others interested in the Microsoft Reader platform with powerful solutions.

“OverDrive is one of the true pioneers in eBook publishing, and we are delighted to have them as our partners in helping bring eBooks to the public,”
Brass said.
“They have years of proven success in building world-class publishing tools and a great vision for the future of eBooks. Plus, they work fast.”

Supporting eBook Standards Including XrML, ONIX and Open eBook

The commercial ReaderWorks products provide eBook authors and publishers with a user-friendly solution to preparing the industry standard files that promote commercial channels for their eBook. ReaderWorks Publisher automatically generates XML data files for use with reseller and distribution systems that rely on ONIX, XrML and Microsoft Digital Rights Management architecture. These files specify rights and conditions associated with the use and protection of content.

“With ReaderWorks Publisher, eBooks publishers of any size can quickly prepare their titles to be added to our eBookstore,”
said Tom Turvey, director of eBooks for Barnesandnoble.com.
“The software automatically generates the ONIX XML data file we require for titles that go into to our eBook inventory.”

The ReaderWorks Standard beta version is available free of charge at http://www.readerworks.com/ (connect-time charges may apply). The other products in the ReaderWorks suite are expected to be commercially available within the next 90 days; pricing has not yet been announced.

About OverDrive

OverDrive Inc., headquartered in Cleveland, is a leading developer of electronic publishing solutions and a founding member of the Open eBook Forum. ReaderWorks and BookWorks products and services are sold through a national network of dealers and authorized service bureaus. OverDrive has licensed technology and developed over 1,000 commercial titles for leading trade, reference, educational and business publishers. OverDrive can be reached at http://www.overdrive.com/ or by calling (216) 573-6886.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, ClearType and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. OverDrive and ReaderWorks are either registered trademarks or trademarks of OverDrive Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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