Denver Professional Hears Books, Recipes and More with TextAloud and Bookshare.org

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High-Quality Voices and Superb Text to Speech Enrich Reading and Listening

Julie M. of Denver, Colorado is an accomplished musician, performer and social worker who loves to read, cook, podcast and surf the Internet -- and whose blindness doesn't slow her down for even a moment. Thanks to tools like NextUp's Text to Speech software program TextAloud, and in conjunction with resources like Bookshare.org, Julie can quickly and easily listen to everything from the latest bestsellers to online recipes.

TextAloud is an easy and affordable software program from NextUp Technologies (http://www.NextUp.com) that converts text into spoken audio files for listening on a PC or portable device. The program has become increasingly popular with users like Julie M., as well as blind and visually disabled users worldwide, thanks to its natural and human-sounding voices, a welcome alternative to the more traditional or robotic-sounding readers.

For individuals like Julie, Bookshare.org is the perfect complement to TextAloud. Bookshare is an online community that dramatically increases access to books for individuals who are visually impaired and otherwise print-disabled, enabling the legitimate and legal sharing of book scans contributed by Bookshare members as well as directly from publishers. TextAloud Text to Speech software works seamlessly with this resource, as it enables Bookshare members to then export those books to audio files that can be played on anything from computers to iPods (R) and other portables. The text read aloud via TextAloud offers high-quality, realistic and human-sounding voices which are a far cry from the less naturalistic, more 'robotic-sounding' voices of decades past.

"I love to read, and with Bookshare.org, for only $50 a year, I can download all the books I want," Julie comments. "And by using TextAloud to read them aloud to me, I get voices that are better and much more interesting than those for other screen readers." Julie's favorite voices with TextAloud include such premium voice choices as 'Heather' from Acapela (R), 'Ray' from AT&T Natural Voices (TM), and 'Paul' from NeoSpeech (R).

"TextAloud also captures the Clipboard," says Julie, "which is handy when doing internet research." TextAloud also easily saves files to MP3 and WMA formats, which is especially useful for Julie's busy schedule not only as a social worker, but as a musician and performer as well. "It's perfect for commuters and others on the go," she adds. Julie is also an avid podcaster, so when she does research for her show, she listens to web and e-mail content via TextAloud, and also uses the program to save the content for later use and review as well.

But TextAloud isn't just for books. As an avid cook, Julie also cleverly uses TextAloud to read her recipes aloud from the Internet or her other favorite resources. She then easily plays back the files while cooking in the kitchen on her MP3 player or via a dub she has made to cassette tape, to remind herself of the ingredients and directions.

Lisa Friendly, Manager of Bookshare.org for Benetech, is delighted to see that Bookshare subscribers like Julie are pioneering the ways in which TextAloud can be used to optimize their reading experience by tailoring it to their individual preferences. "What a great idea to have the recipe read to you while you're cooking, or to be able to continue reading your book while you're folding the laundry. With a naturalistic sounding voice, the experience doesn't diminish from one reading method to the next."

About Bookshare.org

Sponsored by Benetech, Bookshare.org is an initiative that dramatically increases access to books for the community of visually impaired and print disabled individuals. Bookshare takes advantage of a special exemption in the U.S. copyright law that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for the disabled. Bookshare.org also serves organizations such as the state, local and federal educational system, the rehabilitation system, specialized nonprofit agencies and various governmental units that provide accessible materials to people with disabilities. For more information, please visit http://www.Bookshare.org.

About TextAloud

Highly useful for students wanting to maximize study time or listen on the go -- and perfect for Back to School season -- TextAloud has been featured in The New York Times, PC Magazine, Writer's Digest, on CNN, and more. Hailed by critics and users alike, TextAloud is priced at just $29.95, and is compatible with systems using Windows (R) 98, NT, 2000, XP and Vista. The program is available for fast, safe and secure purchase via http://www.NextUp.com.

About NextUp.com

NextUp.com, a division of NextUp Technologies, LLC, provides award-winning Text to Speech software for consumers, professionals, businesses, educators, and those with visual or vocal impairment, or learning disabilities.

In addition to TextAloud, NextUp.com markets other innovative Windows software designed to save time and deliver vital information. NewsAloud (TM) is a talking personal "news agent" that finds the stories users want, and then reads them aloud or to portable audio files. WeatherAloud (TM) is a weather application that lets users select and listen to personalized weather forecasts, while StocksAloud (TM) reads stock updates and related news headlines aloud for specific companies of interest. NextUp Talker is an easy and affordable program that allows people who have lost their voices to use the latest in high-quality computer voices to communicate with others. Most recently, NextUp introduced a new text reader, AbleReader, available with the AT&T Natural Voices (TM) for use on Mac computers. Information on AbleReader is available at http://www.AbleReader.com.

NextUp.com also offers TextAloud with optional premium voices from AT&T Natural Voices (TM), NeoSpeech (R), Nuance (R), Acapela (R) and Cepstral (R) for the most natural-sounding computer speech anywhere. Available languages include U.S. English, U.K. English, Indian Accent English, Scottish Accent English, French, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Castilian (European) Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, and Arabic.

Evaluation copies of TextAloud are available upon request. For more information on NextUp.com or TextAloud, or for other case studies involving users ranging from firefighters, doctors and lawyers, to truck drivers, musicians, and more, please contact publicist Angela Mitchell at (904) 982-8043 or via Admitchell @ Nextup.com.

All companies and products referenced in this press release are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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Media Contacts:

Angela Mitchell
Paranoid PR (for NextUp.com)
(904) 982-8043
Admitchell @ Nextup.com

Ann Harrison
Communications Director
The Benetech Initiative
Ann.h @ benetech.org

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