K-NFB launches free e-reader software to ‘revolutionize e-book reading experience’

September 28, 2010

Blio brings interactive rich-media, video, slide-show, and audio enhanced content to e-books (K-NFB Reading Technology Inc.)

K-NFB Reading Technology Inc., creator and developer of the Blio[TM] e-reading software, today announced the launch of Blio, the most advanced, flexible, interactive and engaging e-reading application available to consumers, according to a company statement.

The free application can be downloaded immediately to all Windows-based devices at the newly designed blio.com, with applications for iOS, Android and Silverlight platforms available soon.

“Beginning today, readers of all ages will be able to enjoy a digital reading experience that truly harnesses the power of an e-reader,” said Ray Kurzweil, inventor of the flatbed scanner and character- and speech-recognition technologies, and founder of K-NFB Reading Technology. “By providing a full-color, flexible, and interactive experience, Blio redefines the boundaries of the e-book, opening up entirely new categories of multimedia content and, as a result, engaging new groups of readers of e-books.”

Through its partnership with Baker & Taylor, the world’s largest distributor of print and digital books, Blio will offer today’s bestsellers as well as interactive rich-media, video, slide-show, and audio enhanced content from more than 100 top publishers, including Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.

“We are so excited to see Blio go live, bringing an immersive e-reading experience to consumers. Blio offers the most engaging way to enjoy e-books,” said Tom Morgan, Chairman and CEO of Baker & Taylor.

Blio offers a library of more than 1 million paid and free titles, and is currently adding new publishers and thousands of new titles weekly. Currently, Blio supports English, French and Spanish, with Italian, German and Asian-language options to follow.

With its ability to reproduce the color, layout and original fonts as in the print version of a book, Blio brings to life a large selection of books that are not available with E Ink devices. Categories such as children’s books and lifestyle books, encompassing travel guides, cookbooks, and textbooks, now have an e-reader that can deliver the experience to the reader that was intended by the author.

What sets Blio apart from other e-reader software

  • Blio mimics a book’s printed format like no other e-reader, with files presented in XPS format, which allows digital books to stay true to their original print version. Blio also supports the more limited ePub-formatted books.
  • Blio is powered by the most advanced text-to-speech technology, using the Nuance Vocalizer, which allows readers to download two lifelike voices (“Samantha” and “Tom”) for hands-free use. To facilitate reading and learning, Blio provides unique synchronized highlighting of the words being spoken.
  • Blio’s full-media functionality allows users to insert notes into digital pages, highlight sections, and even look up references on websites, without leaving their e-book.
  • Downloaded Blio titles are stored in a personal virtual library, enabling flexible access to content. This library can be accessed easily from numerous devices, allowing users to begin reading their book on a home PC, then pick up where they left off on a netbook or laptop. Future Blio versions will also support tablets and mobile devices and iOS, Android and Silverlight platforms.

K-NFB Reading Technology Inc. is a joint venture between Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind. The principals of K-NFB Reading Technology Inc. have propelled reading technology forward for the last 35 years through the invention of omnifont OCR, the flatbed scanner, text-to-speech synthesis, and the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind.

Baker & Taylor Inc. is a global media distribution company and leading provider of digital media services. The company maintains one of the largest in-stock book inventory in the United States, and services the broadest customer base in the industry.

Follow Blio and Baker & Taylor on Twitter at @Blioreader and @BakerandTaylor.

Full disclosure: KurzweilAI is affiliated with K-NFB Reading Technology Inc.