Tiered Pricing for Desktop Document Creation

A report by PlanetDjVu, March 16, 2003

The San Jose Mecury News reports this week at SiliconValley.com that  Adobe Systems is expected to announce new tiered pricing for its next-generation of Acrobat products, related to how customers use them.

For example, customers who want to create Acrobat PDF documents, add comments and sign them would pay a higher price than customers who simply wanted to create a PDF document.

Three pricing levels for PDF products are expected. Adobe, based in San Jose, will make a more detailed announcement on pricing in early April (most likely at the AIIM show in NYC). The product now retails for $249.

Among the many features of the current Acrobat product are the ability to scan, create multipage PDF files, OCR them and perform OCR cleanup. There is no limit on the number of PDF files that can be created.

The original two-tier design from LizardTech was DjVu Solo Non-Commercial Edition, which let you create single-page DjVu files with no OCR for free, and DjVu Solo Commercial Edition, which let you create multi-page DjVu files with OCR. The Commercial Edition retailed for $299.

LizardTech announced a new two-tier product design, but not pricing, last June when it renamed DjVu Solo Commercial Edition to "Document Express Desktop Edition" and "Document Express Professional Edition".

LizardTech still does not publish retail prices, and seems to have all but abandoned retail distribution, but we have gleaned what the prices are from the GSA Schedule. See our earler News item on this subject.

Document Express Desktop Edition restricts you to single page file creation, as did the earlier DjVu Solo Non-Commercial Edition, but adds some new features including a DjVu Print Driver. It also reportedly includes OCR capability. We cannot confirm this, since our request to review this project at the Planet was turned down, and our reseller status was cancelled. The price for this product is about $249, the same as the current Acrobat 5 product.

Document Express Professional Edition adds support for multipage DjVu file creation, but restricts you to creating only 10,000 DjVu pages. The price for this product is about $995. After you have used up the 10,000 pages, you can purchase another 10,000 pages for an additional $995, or you can purchase "Page Cartridges" in larger quantities than this at a lower per-page cost. The cost of a "DjVu page" is the same regardless of whether it is bitonal or color (segmented), OCRed or not. We do not know if a page created with the DjVu Print Driver counts as a "DjVu Page". The specifications for these products are sketchy at best at the LizardTech website.

While Adobe has no per-page pricing in the Acrobat product, they DO have per-page pricing in the separate Acrobat Capture product. Acrobat Capture 3.0, which has a retail price of $399, includes 20,000 "OCR Pages" (plus an undocumented 2,000 fudge pages, so you can't get upset when you make a mistake, we might add). A page charge is not for creating a PDF page, only for OCRing it. There is no charge for non-OCRed pages, which are unlimited.  Acrobat Capture, unlike Document Express Provessional Edition, is a true batch processing application. Acrobat Capture is best compared to "Document Express Enterprise Edition - GUI Version", which sells for about $6,000 for 100,000 DjVu pages.

We applaud the tiered pricing model for retail desktop document creation products, as it lets customers just pay for the just the features and functions that they need.

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