Blio, new eBook reader, is here. It even smells fresh and clean.

Blio eReader launched yesterday on the Windows platform. I nearly missed this one but an author I follow on Twitter Jim Hanas, a New York writer, has already launched his two ebooks through the Blio free book section.

The Store.

The first test of an eBook store is when you go to search for a title in the actual store. There is, after all, only a certain number of times you can download free copies of out of copyright books like Crime and Punishment (currently reading this on the bus via the DailyLit service). On searching for Glenn Taylor’s The Ballard of Trenchmouth Taggart I was rather surprised to see it pop up straight away. That’s a good sign as this is a fairly new book out.

North America only at the moment.

The second test is when you go to buy it and this is when I realised this the store is only North America at the moment. It’s probably down to some sodding copyright problem in the UK. So if you are looking for something to read and have had enough of Walden or David Copperfield do try out Jim Hanas’s two free eBooks Single and Cassingle.

The Blio Andriod, iPhone, iPad etc. apps are coming shortly but if they are as good as the Windows version is already then we could see some interesting developments over the next few months. Blio have already said that “textbooks are part of our strategy–while we won’t have them at launch, they will be coming.” So perhaps my call for some sanity in the eBook world of academia has been heard already.

Read out loud.

The third test is the reading experience and syncing over devices and the Kindle does this very nicely so I’m hoping Blio can match this. An obvious addition to the PC version of Blio is that it comes with the ability to read out loud immediately on the PC and I’m really hoping this is going to be the same for the mobile versions too. I’m not sure about the fancy page turning and the book view yet. I need to read a book and try it out but keeping the structure of the book with all the graphics and full colour images is a nice idea and could give a bit more of the feeling of being able to flick through a textbook or magazine. And being able to strip out the images and resize and reflow the text makes the idea workable and readable. I’m very interested to see what sort of impact this has on the market and if it converts anyone, especially students, to eReading.

Read what other people are saying about Blio and the whole Feedbooks controversy!

The Digital Reader – Feedbooks responds to yesterday’s Blio launch

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About assistivetechno

Bruce Darby - Assistive Technology Advisor at the University of Edinburgh
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