App Feature: Blio for Books, for a natural reading experience

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been quiet here for a while, not because we are no more interested in this site, but we’ve all been held hostage by life as we know it. My apologies for Naz and myself for this extended AWOL. It got really busy at work, then I fell sick. And Nazmus has been busy with his final papers at School. So you see, we are just people like you, subject to machinations of nature and life itself.

But we are back, and I want to start with this darling app of mine that I have been wanting to feature for quite sometime now. Believe you me, this App totally escaped my attention with Windows 8 launch as I was to discover. It came to my radar just past month with the release of the version above. But actually the app was released into the store the same date Windows 8 went gold on 24th of November last year, only it was released as “Blio Recommended by Dell”, but something went wrong and it was pulled. You can’t find that version anymore in the Store.

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In its place comes this simple version “Blio Book” released on April 25th, and today coincidentally, K-NFB Reading Tech just released another version for Lenovo users!

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Usage

Well, enough about App release. What can you do with the app? A lot I’ll say. It is one of the Book Reading app with a gorgeous Store and a nice reading experience. For me, Blio was not a newcomer as I have been using their .Net implemented app in the days of yore. The developers’ goal was to create an truly natural reading experience on your digital device. The .Net version of their app then featured the Skeuomorphic page turning like on competing platform, and a smooth-rendered font choice. We see this inheritance back in this MX App, but they did away with the page-turning animation and just slide the pages. Compared to the Kindle App for Windows 8 which also uses slide-to-page method, this is a better implementation.

Following is the Developers description of the App from the Store:

Description

Don’t just read books. Experience them.
Blio is a free eReading application that offers an unparalleled reading experience. Books are more than just words: there’s style, presentation, and a world of color, eBooks should be no different. The presentation enhances your reading experience, it’s part of what you love about books, so books in Blio have the same layout, fonts, and full-color images that you enjoy in the print version of your favorite titles.
Blio also has a built in store featuring everything from Free Classics to today’s Bestsellers.
Finally there’s an eBook reader that brings not only novels to life, but cookbooks, travel guides, how-to manuals, textbooks, and children’s books to life in vibrant color.
In Blio a textbook becomes a classroom… a cookbook becomes a kitchen… and a fairytale, a place where dreams really do come true.
Try a whole new eBook experience with Blio, where books are more than words.

(Expect to see lots of empty spaces between these descriptive sentences. I don’t if that was a bug or a gimmick from the Devs.)

Features

  • Blio features a vast bookstore, including the best Children’s books, popular new releases and New York Times Best Sellers
  • Displays books in full color, with fonts, pictures, and layout as the publisher intended.
  • Sync up to five devices so your books can go wherever you go.
  • Access all of your content, and download it to your device from anywhere you have an internet connection.

The following are the Screenshots also from the Store:

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Too bad the Dev’s didn’t include a screenshot for the reading experience, but you can trust us to inform you at McAkins Online. Like informed above, the app reading experience is likened to that of Kindle App’s slide-to-page, but with a bit of Skeuomophics page devide for a 2-page view. It seems Kindle’s paging is Text based, but this app is graphic based. Further, is the app featured with standard buttons and chevrons on App-bars that you’ll expect in any nice book-reader App as follows:

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I am still torn in declaring the Winner between this App and the “Book Bazar Reader” in terms of features and UX. But this app is definitely Store-centric, while Book Bazar is more open. I guess you’ll have to download both and decide for yourself. Right now I tend toward the later, but I may change my mind later.

You can download this app now in the Store via the link below. And if you’re a Lenovo user, search for the one with Lenovo recommended. Peace out!

Source: Windows Store

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The Kindle App for Windows 8 Updates with 2-Column View

Kindle for Windows 8

The popular ebook reader by Amazon, Kindle, has a major update for Windows 8 users. One of the biggest feature is the now 2-column view. Here’s the full details:

Release Notes:

- Improved page turn performance
– Increased book storage
– Added 2-column reading on ARM devices
– Disabled device dimming in reading mode
– Performance improvements and other enhancements throughout

Please note: After upgrading, an Internet connection is needed to complete the app update when opening the app for the first time.

Description

Read Kindle books on a beautiful, easy-to-use Windows 8 application. You’ll have access to over 1 million* books in the Kindle Store, including best sellers and new releases. Amazon’s Whispersync technology automatically syncs your furthest page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all your devices that have the Kindle app installed and across any Kindle device. That means you can start reading on one device and pick up where you left off on another device.
 

Features

Buy once, read everywhere. Sign in with an Amazon account, and sync Kindle books across all your devices that have the Kindle app installed across any Kindle device.
Pin Kindle books from your Kindle library to the Windows Start screen for instant access to your favorites.
Start reading in seconds. Your Kindle book downloads while you read.
Shop the Kindle Store for over 1 million* Kindle books, including new releases and best sellers. Over 600,000 Kindle books are $4.99 or less, and over 1 million books are $9.99 or less.*
Customize your reading experience by choosing the background color, font size, and number of reading columns.
Highlight, take notes, and add bookmarks in any book. Look up word definitions and listen to how they are pronounced.
* Selection and price of Kindle books in the Kindle Store vary by country.
 
Source: Kindle

Audiobooks 8 – Listen to Thousands of Free Audio Books on Windows 8

Audiobooks 8 is an application for Windows 8 that allows you to download and listen to thousands of free audio books that are in the public domain. There are books in a variety of categories and languages. The readers have done a fantastic job in reading them well. Best of all, any and all books are for you to listen to for free. You can even distribute and share them with anyone.

Description

Listen to audiobooks on a fast, easy-to-use Windows 8 application. You’ll have access to an expanding multilingual collection that contains over 6000 free audiobooks categorized by genre and language.

Audiobooks 8 allows the user to download and play audiobooks or to stream them without download.

Features

    • Search audiobooks
    • Download and play audiobooks
    • Stream audiobooks without download
    • Share audiobooks with other applications
    • Pin audiobooks to the start screen
    • Listen to audiobooks while the application is in the background
    • Use system media controls to control the audio playback
    • Get information about the currently played audiobook via Live tile

Download it here: Audiobooks 8

Windows 8 Audible App Released Plus a Free Life of Pi Audio Book!

Audible is a fantastic, Amazon, service that lets you purchase and listen to audio books, with their vast audio book library. They have apps for Android, iOS, Windows Desktop, and, now, for Windows 8! As an added perk, Amazon is giving away a free Audio Book, Life of Pi, if you use the Windows 8 app and sign up for the free trial through the Windows 8 app. We thank Newoin.net for the information. The free trial also gives you a credit that you can use to get any book from their vast library for free. So, in essence, by using the Windows 8 app, you get two free books! Continue reading

Book Bazaar Reader–Yet Another Good eReader App in the Store

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Those of you that follow me know I rave to no end about my favorite eBook reader Freda in the Store. Well I am glad to announce a good competition to the App in Book Bazaar Reader. The is solid from what I can see thus far, and as you can see from the number Stars it garnered in the ratings, it is a good app indeed. For some of you that are crazy on skeuomorphism, you’ve got a winner in this app as it turns pages with 3D animation like you have on iPad and the rest. Here is the full description of the app from the Store:

Description
Book reading application.
Provides access to thousands of free books from multiple sources of open publications, such as Guttenberg, Flibusta, FeedBooks, FreeBooks, ManyBooks, etc. Uses built-in OPDS catalog browser to download books. Can import books stored in local files.
Provides great reading experience with animated page turning, quick page formatting for different orientations, font size and font family selection. Night reading mode. Convenient page navigation using table of contents, reading progress bar, page turning history.
Maintains book library with different ways of sorting and grouping (by authors, genres, titles, sizes, publishing time, download time). Provides a convenient active books list (“I am reading” list).
Uses Windows8 contracts for sharing book links between apps such as Mail or Quick Note – into or out of your library.

Features
Recognizes books in EPUB format
Recognizes books in FB2 format
Download books from OPDS catalogs (has a big list of built-in catalogs and allows using your own links to catalogs)
Download books from internet links (URLs)
Import books stored on a local machine
Integrated with Mail, IE and note taking apps via “share charm”
Nice page turning experiences (sliding, or 3d)
High performance with big book formatting, rotating and resizing
Allows to choose font family and font size
Supports Table Of Contents
Quick page preview using Reading Progress bar, with ability to jump to any page.
Color themes for daylight and night reading
Page history storing jumps within a book via table of contents or hyperlinks
Rich book content format using all features of HTML5 (tables, images, SVG, CSS)

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It is a good thing to see Devs continue to innovate with MX Apps. This is another example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to it with Windows Modern Apps. Way to go I say. The App is free for now in the Store, you can give it a spin yourselves and for your own opinion. Download via the Source link here below.

Source: Windows Store

Nook – We’ve Got an App for That

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At the launch of Windows today in New York, Microsoft confirmed what most of us watchers have been suspecting. The Nook App is coming to the Windows Store! It has been a long rumor coming, but the writing was all over the wall given the No-Shoot Joint Agreement Microsoft had with Barnes and Noble earlier this year. We were all asking if MS was going to do a Nook Surface or better still if B&N will follow Amazon footsteps and create an App for Surface a ’la Kindle. Well the answer is there for whole world to see, there is definitely no doubt anymore. “We can has Nook App”. Smile

Now watching the Store like a hawk when the App is going to drop. Trust us to be all over it when it happens. In the meantime go enjoy “Our Precious” your Surface if you’ve ordered one, or got one from Microsoft today.

Freda – The Quality E-Book Reader is now in the Store

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Another personal favorite App of mine has just dropped in the Store. Freda – The eBook Reader. If you’ve used the Old Windows Mobile devices and latter Windows Phone devices, you would at least heave heard of Freda. Now we are glad they have released the Windows 8 version before GA as promised by the Author when I contacted him a few weeks ago.

Here is Freda’s Description from the Author:

Description
Freda, the free ebook reader
The popular ebook reader for the Windows Phone platform (and Windows Mobile before that) has arrived on Windows 8.
Freda can read EPUB (DRM-free), FB2, HTML and TXT format books.  The app understands EPUB formatting information (bold/italic/large text, margins and alignment) and can display images and diagrams in books.

Features
Many options for cutomising text appearance and layout
Access to on-line book catalogs (Feedbooks, Smashwords, Gutenberg, Manybooks, Ebooksgratuits, Fibusta … )
Can work with the Calibre ebook library manager
Includes dyslexic-friendly settings (and the the OpenDyslexic font), to assist reading for dyslexia sufferers

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Well for those complaining of quality apps, here you go then! Download this app via the Source.

Source: Windows Store
Tip Credit: @England_Fanboy