LizardTech DjVu Products and Prices from GSA
A report by PlanetDjVu, January 24, 2003
Updated February 17, 2003
We have discovered that there is one website reseller that is listing some Document Express DjVu products from LizardTech. This is CaptureStore, in the UK. The published prices are comparable to the GSA prices listed below, after you convert from Euros to Dollars. The prices are about 20% below the unpublished list prices. They do not include the VAT (U.K. tax) that you will have to pay for software coming from the U.K. Sorry, we cannot find any web-based resellers in the USA. We were one here at PlanetDjVu, but then our reseller agreement was cancelled by LizardTech.
The DjVu product listings at CaptureStore offer a clue about what became of the DjVu Workgroup application. There is a listing for "Document Express Enterprise Edition (Workgroup Encoder). We think that this might be the new name for the DjVu Workgroup Application. It is not listed on the GSA schedule below or at the LizardTech website, but it does have a part number, so perhaps it is a real product. It shares the same price as Document Express Enterprise Edition (the new name for the Command Line Encoder).
Since June, 2002, LizardTech has maintained a de-facto policy of not publishing product prices for their DjVu products, but recently we discovered the updated GSA schedule for LizardTech products, where prices are published as a requirement for doing business with the government in this fashion. If you are not familiar with GSA, it is a multi-vendor source for government acquisitions. You can view the GSA schedule for LizardTech products at:
Now, the GSA prices for the government are about 24% below list pricing, so with this in mind, we can actually get a good idea about what the retail pricing is for DjVu products from LizardTech. To be honest, PlanetDjVu has known what the retail pricing is from six months ago,when we were still LizardTech resellers, but we have not been confortable discussing it until now. We asked LizardTech last year if they planned to publish prices, but they would not say. We waited for price to appear on the LizardTech website, but they never did. Published prices on the GSA schedule are now the sole basis for our discussion of DjVu applications published by LizardTech, and the cost of these applications.
With the exception of our Estimated List Price column on the right, this is copied directly from the GSA schedule:
Document Express Desktop Edition:
The first thing to point out about this product and pricing schedule is that Document Express Desktop Edition, the successor to the DjVu Solo 3.1 product, has a list price of $249, which is the same price as Adobe Acrobat 5. This appears to be positioned as the basic desktop editing application for DjVu files. Adobe sells Acrobat 5 both directly and through mass-distribution channels, and millions of copies have been sold. LizardTech appears to sell only directly, and we are still waiting for 1 user to come along and say that they have purchased or obtained a copy of Document Express Deskstop Edition.
Note that the DjVu Editor product does not appear on this schedule, and it is not listed as a product on the LizardTech website either, although DjVu Editor is discussed as a product in the LizardTech FAQ section for DjVu. DjVu Editor 3.0 permitted desktop editing of DjVu files, without the ability to create them. As such, it was a perfect complement to batch DjVu encoding applications, and was in fact bundled with batch DjVu encoding applications produced by LizardTech in the past. The LizardTech Website FAQ says that DjVu Editor is no a component of Document Express Desktop Edition. Perhaps what they mean is that there is no longer a DjVu Editor product, so you need to use Document Express Desktop Edition?
Document Express Professional Edition:
Our best guess about this application is that it is a mutipage-encoding version of Document Express Desktop Edition. As such, it should still have all the file editing features of the Desktop Edition, yet the product matrix at the LizardTech website does not identify it as having file editing capabilities. This application uses the Document Express Page Cartridge Manager and it allows 10,000 DjVu pages to be created.
We were told that DjVu Workgroup 3.0 would become Document Express Workgroup Edition, but it is not on the GSA Schedule and neither is it mentioned as a product at the LizardTech website. So our guess is that this application was abandoned by LizardTech.
We understood that Gold Support was a required purchase for Document Expres products, but it is not specifically listed in the GSA schedule as required, and it is not discussed at the LizardTech website. Question: If you purchase Document Express Desktop Edition for $285, are you required to buy Gold Support for $700 a year (20 seats)?
DjVu Encode SDK:
DjVu Encode SDK 3.5 has become Document Express SDK 3.6, and now is compiled with the Document Express Page Cartridge Manager.
Virtual Print Driver?:
The Virtual Print Driver lets you "print" a DjVu file from any digital source files except PDF and PostScript files. It is announced as a feature of Desktop Edition. We have not seen this feature though, or any DjVu output files produced from this feature. It is comparable to PDFWriter, which is a feature of the Adobe Acrobat product. Adobe Acrobat also features Distiller, which turns PDF or PostScript into PDF.
PDF to DjVu Converter:
This converts PDF or Postcript to DjVu, much like Acrobat Distiller in the Acrobat product. But whereas Acrobat Distiller is a bundled component of Acrobat, the PDF to DjVu Converter is available as an optional add-on to Document Express Enterprise Edition, for a total cost of $10,885 ($6,000 + $2,500 + $1,685 + $700). We saw a prototype of this when it was in a stand-alone Windows application. Question: Since Document Express Enterprise Edition does not have a GUI interface, was the GUI interface for PDF to DjVu converson dropped? We assume that the GUI was dropped. So the second question is: Who is willing to pay more than ten thousand dollars for a PDF to DjVu conversion utility with no interface?
Document Express Page Cartridges for DjVu:
In order to create DjVu files of any flavor (bitonal or color, OCR or no-OCR) in the Document Express products (except for the Desktop Edition), you need to have a Document Express Page Cartridge. In other words, you need to pay by the page.
Page pricing starts at $1,000 for 10,000 pages or .10 per page.
A cartridge at $1,500 for 25,000 pages is .06 per page
A cartridge at $5,000 for 100,000 pages is .05 per page
A cartridge at $10,000 for 500,000 pages is .025 per page
A cartridge at $15,000 for 1 million page is .015 per page
In comparison, Adobe, in the Acrobat Capture product line, only charges for the OCRing of pages, not for the creation of PDF format pages. Here are Adobe's "page-pack" prices for the OCRing of PDF pages:
A page-pack at $250 for 20,000 OCR pages is .0125 per page
A page-pack at $1,100 for 100,000 OCR pages is .011 per page
A purchase of Acrobat Capture for $4,000 will give you unlimited OCR pages
Adobe offers advanced JBIG2 compression, similar to DjVu's JB2 compression method, in an add-on "agent-pack" that costs $99.
There are no mandatory annual support fees as there are for LizardTech's products.
Adobe's prices are published on their website, at: http://www.adobe.com/store/products/master.jhtml?id=catAcrobatCapture
Where to Go for the Document Express for Djvu Products:
Contact LizardTech. PlanetDjVu is no longer an authorized reseller of DjVu products from LizardTech, and it seems that there are no longer any other resellers in the U.S. for DjVu products from LizardTech.
Where to find further information about Document Express DjVu Products:
Not at the LizardTech website - there are no full product specifications, no trial downloads, no published help files.
Not at DjVuZone - this portal site for DjVu has not been updated in 13 months.
Not in the press - PlanetDjVu is alone in attempting a review of these products.
Not in the PlanetDjVu forum - no users have reported that they have or use these products.
Where to go with further questions about DjVu:
Post your questions in the PlanetDjVu forum!
Price Comparison with LuraDocument format, from Algo-Luratech:
LuraDocument format is very similar to the DjVu format. It lacks the OCR text layer of DjVu, but it shares the same design of creating separate foreground and background layers to achive superior compression of color documents.
Algo-Luratech publishes their prices, which can be viewed at: http://www.algovisionluratech.com/shop/index.jsp?OnlineShopId=3211751045064792140&e1=2&e2=5&e3=-1
As you can see in the table below, DjVu costs about 10 times more than LuraDocument. There are three free applications offered for LuraDocument that have been abandoned by LizardTech, and two non-free applications that LizardTech has not produced.