A new e-book platform called Blio will be released in 2010 through a partnership with Baker & Taylor (B&T), the world's largest distributor of books, and could be the latest big thing in e-reader technology.
B&T, a US company for 180 years, distributes 1 million books a year and has committed 180,000 titles to Blio. There will be 50,000 available when the product is launched on January 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Blio was developed by voice-recognition inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, author of several books including The Age of Intelligent Machines. It handles text-to-speech as well as ePublishing and can convert PDF formats.
Blio software works on 'any device with an operating system,' according to Technorati.com blogger, Mike Shatzkin, which includes computers and iPhones (but not Kindles). It features full multiple-media functionality (video, graphics, and links to the web), and allows several pages to fan out on the screen together.
A variety of e-reading projects are emerging, such as Vook, which combines a book, video and the internet. It is available in two formats, web-based and also readable on computers and a mobile app. It was launched in October by a division of Simon & Schuster Books with four titles to start, a thriller, a romance, a beauty book, and 90 Second Fitness Solution, by Pete Cerqua with Alisa Bowman.