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Blio: Digital Books as the Author Intended

October 6th, 2010

Current types of ebook reader apps only include the copy wrapped in their own format. They basically separate the text from everything else that makes a book a book. Blio attempts to never remove those missing pieces.

Ebooks from Blio look exactly how you would expect. It’s like a publisher exported their Adobe InDesign file to PDF and saved it to your desktop.

With Blio, you can do things otherwise not available in other text readers. For example, you can highlight or jot notes in the margins just like you would on the printed counterparts. It can also read your book aloud.

We could go either way with this concept. On one hand, you’re viewing the material the way the publisher/author/designer intended. Each graphic element is present, each line break is maintained. Think about the difference between reading an article in a magazine, and then viewing the same article on the magazine’s website. In the web format, presentation components are sacrificed for quicker load times and a coherent user design. In Blio, pages are not forced into a text reader’s template; you are browsing the pages in a format unique and appropriate to the book.

On the other hand, these books forget they’re not on printed paper. Designers lay out books with consideration of left-hand and right-hand margins. On a computer, you don’t have margins. Additionally, the app is not exactly embracing the differences/benefits the way people read on their computers (that’s the point, after all). For an extreme example, it’s like when radio producers were introduced to the video camera for the first time. Some of the earliest films involved people sitting around reading scripts because they had not yet learned to embrace film’s advantages.

Blio Reader is a free app to download. Feel free to try it without any cost.

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