There’s article on about the Akron Beacon-Journal’s new PDF edition, comparing it favorably to the BJ’s crappy Knight-Ridder-created website. The author’s take is that if you don’t have the resources to produce a great web site, maybe you should sell PDF’s to your readers.
PDF is great for electronically distributing documents created for print, but that’s about it. Because it was designed for translating print documents, it has none of the benefits of real HTML. Adobe denies Acrobat is still a roach motel, which data enters but cannot escape. They now prefer to think of it as a “big container for doing things.” Oh, I see.
Publishers like PDF because it gives them the illusion of control over the presentation and distribution of their content, coupled with the apparent cheapness of printing to file, instead of distributing off a content management system. But it does not compensate the reader for everything he loses. And what’s the point of a cheap, controllable production system that your readers don’t want?