blio.jpgCNET’s Ina Fried takes a look at Blio.

In short, Blio has reached the market, but I’m not sure that the market opportunity it outlined still exists. On the positive side, the company has managed to land a new partner in the intervening months–PC maker Toshiba, which plans to use Blio as the basis to turn its PCs into e-reading devices.

I’ve been playing around with the Windows version of Blio for the past few days. And while it does a nice job with color books that wouldn’t look great on my Kindle, I’m not sure it has a clear advantage over the PC or iPad versions of the Kindle or Nook software.

Plus, Blio’s store is launching with only 6,000 paid titles …


  1. As a totally blind reader who’s painstakingly scanned each page of a book with a flatbed scanner for years, Blio’s promised “revolution” was exciting to me. For the last year or two I’d sworn off e-books, because one never knew if the format native to any particular seller would prove usable with screen reading software. An e-book may only have been a few pounds, but when job opportunities are so thin on the ground i’m afraid my rent comes before my literation.

    Blio’s been delayed and set back so much that other things have taken it over. For many blind people it’s Apple and iBooks. I can’t afford an apple device and wouldn’t want to tie myself to their speech synthesizer for reading fiction anyway. I had hoped that Blio would fill a hole, but I’m lucky that my hole has been well and truly plugged before even needing to waste my time with Blio…

    Now that EPub is becoming widespread, I am able to use most any mainstream book shop that sells online. With a firefox addon which keeps my library and an amendment to the copyright, designs and Patents Act giving me the legal right to make accessible versions of books for my own use, I can proudly throw away the need for blind institutions to supply the majority of my reading material. Of course not all books are produced electronically, that’s where the organisations that fight for our rights to read come into play. Commercial audio books are far too expensive for the average citizen to buy with any regularity, especially if they aren’t tied to a specific platform or device with DRm. still: being able to log on to the website of W. H. smith’s, or Waterstones, or kobo, or any of the other places from where my sighted peers can buy books. To be able to click and pay and download and read, the same as any of those? that’s brilliance. that’s the void I had looked to Blio to fill. Sorry, Ray. you missed the boat.

  2. I was afraid of what was expressed in the former comment. I featured Blio in a column when I first heard of it over eight months ago; my husband and I tried to get our ePubs books into Blio through Baker and Taylor but they would not hear of self-published work being included. We turned to Smashwords and they proved to be on the ball with a large helping of Swiftness, while Blio still struggled to emerge into the public arena. It was a great idea, and the website looked unique but until the announcing email this morning, I had forgotten all about Blio.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail