Buy Speech, Get Books

IVO Software released Expressivo 1.4, the latest version of its text-to-speech technology powered by the IVONA speech-generation engine.

When U.S. customers buy the software with the English-speaking voice of Jennifer, they will also receive a free collection of 50 popular e-books in English.

The free collection of e-books includes 50 of the most popular literary works from around the world made available as part of Project Gutenberg, a volunteer online library that seeks to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works to the worldwide audience. Users of Expressivo will have free access to books like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Additionally at www.expressivo.com you can download, free of charge, other e-books and then play them on your computer or save them as MP3 files that can be loaded onto an iPod or MP3 player.

These downloads are available as part of Project Gutenberg’s online library of more than 28,000 titles. The organization’s own Portable Reading project allows readers to upload their own book and share them with friends. They can also communicate with each other and with authors by writing reviews and annotating individual pages with notes. The reading interface is customizable by font size, type, and background color. Portable Reading is currently available on the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and on Facebook.

The new Expressivo is reportedly 50 percent faster than the previous version of the application. Another enhancement is the ability to read texts written in any language of the world, including Russian, Japanese, or Chinese. Expressivo 1.4’s other new features include a clock-reminder compatible with the Google Calendar. Clock-reminder will also read out events stored in the calendar of email applications like Microsoft’s Outlook or Mozilla’s Sunbird.

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