School libraries can circulate books in electronic format without raising administrative costs using Content Server 3.0 from Adobe Systems Inc. According to Adobe, Content Server is ideal for managing, distributing, and protecting eBooks and other digital content based in Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF).
On the back end, Content Server links to relational databases using the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) standard, so it can access eBook content stored within itself or on other servers. On the front end, the software connects to a library’s online catalog to enable lending. When library patrons check out a digital title, the software automatically downloads it onto their PC for reading. Once the lending period for a title expires, the borrower no longer has access to the eBook and it instantly becomes available to others.
Content Server 3.0 costs $5,000 and is capable of hosting 250 titles. Expansion packages are available for $1,000 per 500 additional titles. To kick-start a library’s eBook collection, Adobe will throw in the Adobe PDF eBook Library Starter Pack—100 free titles from popular publishers—with the purchase of a hosted eBook service from either Baker & Taylor or OverDrive, two leading library solution providers.