iPhone Readers: Stanza

Stanza is probably the most popular reader on the iPhone now (I don’t have any data to back this claim up–just an informal observation, disagree if you must), and this is likely because, within the limitations of the iPhone as a reader, it does most everything right–there a few things it doesn’t do at all, but that’s better than doing them wrong . The library works intuitively.  Choose to add a book and the app instantly connects you to just about any web accessible book depository you want (with many more pre-populated options than eReader) from freebies like manybooks.net and Munseys to paid sites like fictionwise. Once you download a book directly to your device, it presorts by a few categories and the books are easy to select with a scroll menu.  Even better (and more attractive) is if you turn the iPhone to landscape, the scroll menu automatically changes to a coverflow view a la iTunes.


The bookmarking also works as it should, allowing you to use the preset content tables (when available) as well as creating your own bookmarks as you please.  Stanza does a good job of remembering your place in multiple books at the same time, so if you forget to set a bookmark you won’t lose your spot.  Text searching works well, no complaints there either.  The one thing Stanza doesn’t have that I really liked in eReader is the ability to highlight text and attach notations.  Although you can use custom-named bookmarks to the same effect it’s not as cool. However, until ebooks standardize a bit and I can carry my metadata with me when I move files, I’m still going to be taking notes by hand.

You can’t use a finger swipe gesture either, you just tap the right side to move forward a page; left, back; hitting the center brings up the menu bar.  I prefer gestures, but not having them is better than the annoying accidental highlighting that kept happening in eReader. You also cant gesture to alter the text size, though you can adjust it (as well as color, background, font, and even formatting–and embedded demo window is a real timersaver) through the options.  Stanza auto formats much better than other programs like Google Book Search (yes, I know it’s web-based and not an app, but it’s also really only readable in landscape mode), so there’s not much need for an instant text resizing: once you get it the way you want, leaving it is fine.

When I first downloaded Stanza back in November, I stopped using it after a few book downloads, because it crashed my phone whenever I tried to download more than one book at a time.  When trying to fill a reader app with even part of the enormous backlog of available public domain titles one at a time is as frustrating as you would expect.  However, this time around I really put it to work, downloading books as quickly as I could, memorizing my thumb taps and not really worrying about what books I was downloading.  The program (and the iPhone) held up fine. So bygones are bygones on this front.

Stanza really shines where eReader failed miserably: Stanza syncs wirelessly, easily, and freely with the free Stanza Desktop for Mac and PC. The program works similarly to the app, though with fewer bells and whistles. I haven’t come across any major snags using it.  It also handles (or will soon) most file types, unlike eReader.  Stanza is the real winner thus far for iPhone winners, and it’s free.  The creator, Lexcycle, has stated that they plan on selling their base engine to other companies, notably Google for Book Search, for custom book apps. This worries me a bit. Here’s hoping when they franchise out their engine it supports assimilation with the base program, rather than forcing us to clutter our iPhone whith what amounts to 12 of the same app, each with a different companies color scheme.  The market is fragmented enough as it is.  Either way, Stanza is a win for the here and now and my new primary iPhone reader.

UPDATE: If you don’t want to deal with the Stanza Desktop program, you can use Calibre to sync with your Stanza iPhone/iPod app.

Here’s a demo video (sorry, no embedding for this one). -sc

9 comments to iPhone Readers: Stanza

  • Horst Herz

    ich habe folgendes Problem:
    1. Die Umwandlung in “eped” funktioniert: weiß ich nicht(das convertierte Buch hat die Endung “.pxd
    2. Der Content Server ist aktiviert. ok
    3. In Stanza ist unter “Online Katalog” ein neuer Katalog “Carina” erstellt.
    4. Beim Anklicken von “Carina” erscheinen die Angaben:
    By Author – By Title – By Newest
    5. Durch Anklicken von By Author (bzw. die anderen) erscheint
    6. Die Bezeichnung “Administrator” (= Ordner der konvertierten Datei auf Desktop)
    7. Durch Anklicken von “Administrator” erscheint die konvertierte Datei mit der Endung *.qxd (hier: z.B. Mittagshore_neu.qxd).
    8. Durch Anklicken dieser Datei sollte der Download starten.
    9. Anstelle des Downloads wird die Seite eines bereits installierten Buches eingeblendet. Download wird also nicht aktiviert.
    Wer hat mir einen Ratschlag, wer möchte mir helfen.
    Im voraus recht herzlichen Dank.
    Horst Herz

    N.B.: Stanza auf iPhone 3G installiert
    Calibri: aktualisiert
    Betriebssystem: XP home

  • Hallo Horst, vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch.

    Unfortuntately I dont sprechen Deutsch, so dass ich über Google tasten zu übersetzen. Ich hoffe, ich verstehe Ihr Problem korrekt und Sie Probleme bei der Installation einen Text mit ein. Pdx entension wenn eine benutzerdefinierte Katalog ein.

    Erstens sollten Sie der Stanza Foren versuchen, um zu sehen, wenn Sie Hilfe kann von jemandem, der ein ähnliches Problem gestoßen ist, zu finden.

    Mein Vorschlag wäre, um die Dateien auf etwas, das von der Stanza Desktop-Anwendung (die meisten Nicht-DRM-Dateitypen Arbeit), dann synchronisieren Sie Ihre Bücher über “Shared Bücher” alle Dateien auf dem Desktop öffnen Stanza wird in diesem Inserat erscheinen gelesen werden kann, konvertieren, an dem Sie sie auf Ihrem iPhone download Punkt.

    I hope this helps.

    Hello Horst, thanks for visiting us.

    Unfortuntately I dont speak German, so I’ll fumble through Google translate. I hope I understand your problem correctly and you are having trouble installing a text with a .pdx entension though a custom catalogue.

    First, You should try the Stanza forums to see if you can find assistance from someone who has encountered a similar problem.

    My suggestion would be to convert your files to something that can be read by the Stanza desktop application (most non-DRM file types work)then sync your books through “Shared Books” any files open on your desktop Stanza will appear in this listing, at which point you can download them onto your iPhone.

    I hope this helps.

  • captain

    You misrepresent Stanza on at least a few points I noted just from a quick scan.

    You most certainly CAN swipe the screen to turn the page (swipe slow and watch the “page turn”! Both forward and backward turning. ;-)

    You CAN annotate, both copying small sections of the book, and adding your own typing to the annotation. I have no idea how annotations are stored.

    My biggest gripe is that stuff doesn’t seem to sync back to Calibre, nor between iPwns, so you have to find you place manually if you move from iPwn to iPud.

  • Gibt es zu diesem Thema noch andere Ideen?

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