Like many Adobe Digital Publishing Suite users, I’ve been following Adobe’s latest moves with regard to both DPS and Digital Publishing Solution (DPS2015) with interest. Recently, and I admit, sadly, I’ve concluded that this service is no longer a long-term option for small publishers. While I don’t take that statement lightly, it is fairly obvious that Adobe is now focused solely on the enterprise market.
I’ll back up here for moment just in case you haven’t been paying attention. In the fall of 2014 Adobe announced that DPS Single Edition would no longer be offered to Creative Cloud subscribers nor would it be sold on its own. They also stopped offering the bare bones professional accounts to new subscribers. This past July, DPS 2015 was formally introduced. At that time, Adobe promised to support DPS Classic for “at least one year” though it became apparent rather quickly that beyond fixing serious bugs, the folio workflow would receive no further development (when InDesign CC2015 was released there was no support for folio based workflows), all but reaching end of life status. In the mean time DPS2015 has been receiving very impressive updates every three weeks or so. Fast forwarding to last week we have the announcement that DPS 2015 would be moved under the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) umbrella with the Digital Publishing Solution name being dropped.
The combined service is more conducive to producing high-end, enterprise-level mobile apps as opposed to “traditional” publishing. With DPS subscribers on a year to year contract, renewals for DPS Pro accounts at $400/month are highly unlikely and while I strongly support any company’s right to do business as they see fit, I also know that many of you will be looking for alternatives for affordable publishing, from InDesign, to app stores. I stress the word affordable here.
I’ve written in the past about Fixed Layout Epub and I remain very excited about that format for many projects but that doesn’t make it appropriate for all. I’ve experimented with several third party DPS alternatives for InDesign-based publishing, such as Mag+, Aquafadas, and App Studio and while all have pros and cons, I’ve concluded that Twixl Publisher is likely to be the best choice for DPS users. Here are a few reasons why:
- Pricing is reasonable. Starting at $850/year for unlimited single issue apps compatible with iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.
- Multi issue apps are available at costs starting at about $2,000/year.
- While HTML based publishing is on the roadmap, it is still at its heart an InDesign based solution.
- The support, from what I’ve seen is very good. They’re quick to address issues and bugs.
While not quite as robust as DPS, the interactive features from InDesign,and the process to produce them, are nearly identical. There’s even a conversion utility that will convert DPS overlays to Twixl interactivity. While it’s not perfect it does a nice job. This makes it relatively easy to produce back issues or to create a new version of a single edition app.
Given my history with DPS, I realize this post may raise a few eyebrows so let me be as clear as possible. The new DPS 2015/AEM combination is an enterprise solution and carries a very high price tag. It’s a terrific solution for publishing mobile content but it is a viable choice only for enterprise customers with a very large budget.
I’ve intentionally avoided the word competitor when referring to DPS alternatives in this post because the small to medium segment is wide open for third parties such as Twixl. Adobe has clearly elected not to serve this market. While they may compete with each other and in the past certainly did compete with Adobe, I now consider them to be third-party solution providers.
If you’re interested in exploring options, I can help with the transition. Just fill out the form on the contact page and I’ll get back to you.