Adobe Acrobat Reader is now shipping with Web Buy - a feature for buying and reading encrypted PDF documents called eBooks.

Adobe has also created a virtual library of 20 classics, including A Christmas Carol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. All can be downloaded free from Adobe’s Web site and viewed with the Web Buy software.

Encrypted PDF is designed to protect publishers from unauthorized access to popular works on the Web. Web Buy allows for details of desired documents to be sent to the publisher’s commerce server. Payment is made electronically, after which the purchaser receives a "key" enabling the eBook to be read.

Web Buy was unveiled in August, along with PDF Merchant - the server-based technology for encrypting files and distributing access "keys".

PDF Merchant will be available in the first quarter of 2000.