Monday, February 1, 2010

Amazon Relents, Blio Invents

As a follow up to the previous post, Amazon announced Sunday night that it would agree to Macmillan's terms allowing Macmillan to set prices for its e-books. Amazon did so grudgingly, stating that this would only hurt customers. The new pricing would mirror prices that Macmillan is setting with Apple for the iPad.

In other news, another e-book format called Blio is set to be released in February. Blio is a free format that works on PCs and is being developed for the Mac and iPod (and presumably for the iPad as well). Blio differs from other e-book formats in that it keeps the original formatting, fonts and pictures as the original books in full color.

Blio can display books with a 3 dimensional perspective so page turns simulate flipping through an actual book. Setting the cursor on the last word read allows readers to easily return to the place they stopped reading. E-books could also be preloaded with read-aloud content and associated sounds.

Blio's audio and picture capabilities would be especially useful for education and for children's books. These capabilities could be a real boon for science fiction and fantasy cover art, illustrations and audio, leading to a rich multimedia experience. This could allow literature to compete more favorably with film and television content.

Blio's website is at

A very incisive and derisive take on Amazon's response to Macmillan from science fiction author John Scalzi entitled "All The Very Many Ways Amazon Failed the Weekend" can be viewed at Whatever.

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