blio available for download today – mixed reviews

Below is the press release from K-NFB announcing the official availability of the blio reader for Windows.  There’s been a lot of chatter on twitter today about reviews, download issues, complaints from MAC users, etc.  The CNET coverage of blio is worth a look.  For a more colorful review, try The Digital ReaderKNFB responded the next day – first day jitters.

I had some download issues of my own, the attempted download froze up Firefox two times, so I had to revert to IE, which worked just fine.  I also noticed in the small print on the blio site than an accessible version will be out in October.  So, MAC users and those requiring the accessible version will have to wait for the blio experience.

Press Release:

Available today at, through partnership with Baker & Taylor, Blio features a library of full-color, interactive media content and today’s bestsellers
WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (Sept. 28, 2010) – K-NFB Reading Technology, 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. The free application can be downloaded immediately to all Windows-based devices at the newly designed, 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, finally have an e-reader that can deliver the experience to the reader that was intended by the author.
Blio has a host of functions that make it smart, fun and easy to use. Highlights include:

  • 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.

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