Adobe Digital Editions Now Comes With Free Bonus Bloatware

Adobe Digital Editions Now Comes With Free Bonus Bloatware Adobe Adobe isn't making much money off of its Epub-reading apps, but they've found a new way to cash in. A reader has tipped me to the news that Adobe is now bundling Norton Security Scan with the Adobe Digital Editions 4 installer file.

Unsuspecting users who only want to read an ebook are now prompted to install an unnecessary piece of bloatware. And to make matters worse, the checkbox to approve the installation comes pre-checked:

Adobe Digital Editions Now Comes With Free Bonus Bloatware Adobe

I've tested this myself, and I can report that the bloatware is bundled into the same version of Adobe DE 4.0.3 that was released in February. According to user reports, Adobe only added the spam install file some time in early July.

How disappointing.

This kind of nonsense is usually the hallmark of a slimy company desperate to make a buck any way it can. Sourceforge, for example,  has lately been on the receiving end of a lot of grief lately for the way that has been seizing control of software projects hosted on the site and bundling said software into Sourceforge's own spam-encrusted installers.

What Adobe is now doing with Adobe DE isn't quite as bad, but it is in the same ballpark.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Frank31 July, 2015

    The Java Plug-in for browser does this too. It is annoying, but at least the app is free.

    1. Mike31 July, 2015

      Two big difference between this and Java.

      1) Ebook publishers are already paying Adobe to get the product to the public

      2) Norton isn’t just the Ask toolbar, this is low-level, system-resource-taxing, and hard-to-remove software that will (I assume) try to get people to pay for it when the free period ends.

  2. Michael31 July, 2015

    They’ve done the same for a long time now with the Flash Player for PC download.

    Considering Flash and Adobe’s PDF readers have been major 0-day attack vectors for years, it makes sense for a company so bad at security to encourage anyone using their products to have antivirus installed. But it’s still scummy the option is auto-checked, as well as extremely unfortunate that they’d partner with Norton and McAfee, both of whom produce products that are often worse than what they’re supposed to prevent.

    1. Nate Hoffelder1 August, 2015

      I didn’t know, thanks. I’ve never seen the bloatware when I’ve updated Flash. But then again it was so long ago that I might not have noticed.

  3. […] ohne besondere Negativschlagzeilen war es wohl wieder an der Zeit in den Blickpunkt zu rücken: Wie The Digital Reader berichtet, wird Adobe Digital Editions 4 ab sofort mit Norton Security Scan […]

  4. Sharon Reamer1 August, 2015

    I seem to remember it’s been this way for long enough that I know now to look extra to make sure I’ve unchecked all the boxes – on all of these updates.

    1. Nate Hoffelder1 August, 2015

      Not with Adobe DE. Thanks to Adobe’s spying last year, I watch that app closely. The version I installed in February did not have this bloatware.

  5. Sharon Reamer1 August, 2015

    Maybe it’s Acrobat, which seems to update constantly – I rarely have updates from the Reader. But I know I’ve also been saddled with that stupid Ask engine (Flash? Java?) a couple of times when I forgot to look closely.

  6. Bloatware alert: Adobe Digital Editions 4 | TeleRead1 August, 2015

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  7. MBantz18 August, 2015

    And running the installer silently with /s is no longer silent as the bundle install still pops up,

    will look hard at another way to read e-books

  8. AM27 August, 2015

    Adobe really makes enterprise users angry on this.
    We have our own AV.
    And we want simply deploy ADE silently without the pop up windows asking end users if they want Norton.


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