Baker & Taylor senior v-p Linda Gagnon showed off Blio, e-reading software developed by visionary technologist Ray Kurzweil’s KNFB Reading Technology, at a session during the final day of Digital Book World. Blio has gone through several presentations beginning at the Frankfurt Book Fair and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, generating enthusiastic responses from those who have seen it demoed and the product did not disappoint the digital crowd at the Sheraton New York.

Developed in coordination with Baker & Taylor, Blio is a downloadable e-reader that will run on any device—PC or mobile phone—and will display books in their original layout and design. The software will run on Windows and the iPhone initially. The software offers full color, interactivity and the ablity to customize texts with embeded full video and audio. The software appeals to the disabled community by offering an enhanced text-2-speech function that highlights each word of the text as it is spoken.

Kurzweil and B&T plan to offer the software for free beginning in February and add the Mac OS and Android and Symbian mobile platforms in April and May. The venture will also launch a Blio storefront,, at the same time offering 1 million public domain titles and 200,000 commercial titles from a variety of well-known trade book publishers. Gagnon did not discuss pricing of titles in the Blio format.

Gagnon’s presentation showed the software’s functionality and ease of use. Indeed, Blio is linked to the web and offers the ability to customize textbooks in particular—users can bring in photos from online and add them to the text in addition to adding social network platforms and creating on-going communities of commentators around specific sections of a book. And Gagnon said that Blio offers the advantages of cloud computing—book titles are stored online and downloaded to multple devices and will synchronize bookmarks and notations across multiple devices.