[tabi] New E Reader

  • From: "Lynn Evans" <evans-lynn@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 10:18:04 -0500

Frankfurt Book Fair: Ray Kurzweil Teams with Baker & Taylor on New eReader 
By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 10/15/2009 2:37:00 PM
Baker & Taylor announced a partnership with acclaimed scientist, inventor and 
futurist Ray Kurzweil, CEO of Kurzweil Technologies, to supply digital content 
for K-NFB Reading Technology, a newly developed e-book reading software created 
by Kurzweil in collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind. The 
software will be offered to consumers for free. B&T unveiled the software at 
the Frankfurt Book Fair with plans to launch the new reader in the U.S. at the 
end of November.

Although Kurzweil is a pioneer in creating technologies to assist the blind 
with reading, his new and as yet unnamed software product is aimed at both the 
general e-book reading market as well as the blind.  In a phone interview with 
Kurzweil from his company's headquarters in Massachusetts, he said not only can 
consumers use the software to read e-books, but the technology will allow the 
device its installed on to read the text aloud, in synch with a display of the 
text that highlights each word as it is spoken. On top of all that, he intends 
to offer the software for free via both downloads and CDs and told PW he 
expects to make money through the sale of books using the K-NFB e-reader. The 
software also offers high quality graphics and fonts and will even read plays 
aloud using different voices for different roles.

The Text to Speech function has been controversial and Kurzweil acknowledged 
that, "there are a small number of publishers who feel that TTS will compete 
with their audio books. For blind and dyslexic users they have a right to use 
TTS to gain equal access to print information. We believe this issue will be 
resolved soon in favor of universal TTS."

"Our partnership with K-NFB Reading Technology is an exciting development in 
our strategy to work with best-in-breed digital media innovators to deliver the 
content that our customers and their end-users want," said Tom Morgan, chairman 
and CEO of Baker & Taylor. "K-NFB's new e-reader will certainly make waves in 
the industry."

Kurzweil said consumers can buy e-books directly through the application and he 
said that there will be "a full featured online store including metadata, 
advanced search features, inference engine and more." He also said the 
coventure will work with major retailers and allow the software to be branded 
with their coporate identity. Kurzweil said the venture will offer access to a 
"million" public domain titles and a "million" for-pay books. "A number of 
first tier publishers signed up today on the first day of the Frankfurt Book 
Fair," he said. "We take in books from different publishers in a variety of 
formats and convert it to our own format," said Kurzweil.

Kurzweil explained that the K-NFB e-reader software will run on laptops and 
desktop computers (PCs and Macs) as well as netbooks and mobile phones-Windows 
mobile and the iPhone right away with other mobile phone operating sytems added 
as quickly as possible. The software can read any format from straight text to 
PDF and ePub.

He also described the new e-reader as, "the ultimate expression of my work over 
the years. It will have wide distribution and will be available not only to the 
general reader and to the blind, but to the millions of people who suffer from 

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