K-NFB Launches Free E-Reader

K-NFB Reading Technology today announced the launch of Blio, a new e-reading application available to consumers. The free application can be downloaded immediately to all Windows-based devices at www.blio,com, with applications for iOS, Android and Silverlight platforms available soon.

Blio is powered by Vocalizer text-to-speech technologies from Nuance Communications. Readers can 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.

Some of Blio's other capabilities include:

  • Blio mimics a book’s printed format 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’s full-media functionality allows users to insert notes into digital pages, highlight sections and even look up references on Web sites, 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.

“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, 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, a 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.

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