These disadvantages are the reason why eBooks have enjoyed a relatively quick rise to popularity. One of the most recent eBook readers to come about is the Blio eReader, an underdog rising to challenge the Kindle Store, iBooks and others. Does Blio have anything interesting to offer?
Kind Of Like iBooks – For Your PC?
If you’ve used iBooks before, or even glanced at it, you’ll probably find some interface elements of Blio familiar. Opening the program dumps you into the My Library section, which arranges all of the books you own on shelves with their covers out.
If you’d like, however, you can arrange the books as a simple list. Books can be arranged alphabetically by title, by author or by the date they were last read. A search function is also included, and this is by far the easiest way to find a book in a large library.
Free Books! – Oh & A Few Books for Sale
Blio includes a store from which Blio will gladly sell you a wide variety of titles for prices that are often not particularly attractive compared to what you’ll pay for the real, physical book. The Blio store is also noticeably thin on titles.
That’s fine however, because the paid store isn’t the cool part of Blio. What is cool is the Free Books section, which is tied to Google Books. Using Blio you can search through the huge number of publicly available works listed on Google. This includes many classic titles in various genres of literature, science and philosophy.
Do you need to read Shakespeare for a class? You can download any number of his plays from Google Books via Blio. You could do this independently by doing a Google Books search, but you’d be giving up this eBook reader’s slick interface.
The Reading Experience
As nice as the ability to download free eBooks from Google is, it’d be pointless if the reading experience of Blio was no good. Fortunately, Blio has executed this critical element well.
Double-clicking on a book in your library will open it, revealing the front cover or, in the case of most free eBooks, a title page. If you’d like to turn the page the old fashioned way you can click on, and then drag the bottom right hand corner of the eBook. This results in a very slick page-turning animation. You also have the option of clicking the arrow buttons, which will send you to the next page as well.
The books rendered by Blio are large and clear, and the experience seems to move along at lightspeed compared to a PDF file. The default Blio view shows you two pages at a time, side-by-side. There are other options that display single pages, thumbnails, etc.
The eBook reader also includes an expandable note section on the left side of the interface that lets you add comments about the book. You can even highlight specific parts of the text and make notes referring to them directly. This is handy if you’re reading a book for research or critical analysis.
There isn’t much to dislike about the Blio eBook reader. Is this a replacement for the Kindle Store? Uh, no. There aren’t enough books and there isn’t much reason to buy books through Blio, since there is no specific reader device associated with this store.
The ability to download free books from Google is the main reason to download and use this software. It’s a super cool feature that, when combined with Blio’s smooth operation, is hard to resist. Why buy older books when you can download them for free and read them on your laptop using Blio?