Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

Summary: A great eReader has its swan song on iOS 5


As someone who loves to read, and who has been reading eBooks on handheld devices for a decade, I tend to be very opinionated about what I want in an e-reader, even as the number of options has increased dramatically in the last few years. When I switched to an iPhone 3G a few years back, that became my mobile reading platform of choice, and after a fair amount of experimentation I settled on the Stanza reader from Lexcycle as the best of the bunch when it came to e-readers.

The configuration options the app offers, the ability to add to the online catalog, excellent performance (even back in the days of the 3G), and the simple integration with many of the sites that I used for eBooks made Stanza a winner.  And I'll admit, just the 600 or so eBooks I had purchased from Baen, and the availability of that entire purchased catalog directly from my phone, was a major influence on my choice.  But even without that, Stanza was really the best of the bunch.

Apparently Amazon thought so too, and in 2009, they bought the company that produced Stanza, Lexcycle (this is despite the fact that the Stanza reader doesn't support the Kindle format). From that point on, I figured that I was using an orphaned product, but was surprised when an update was release at the beginning of 2011. Unfortunately, the release of iOS 5 completely killed the Stanza app, a fact lamented by many online.

However, yesterday Amazon resurrected the Stanza reader with an update that restored the application to full functionality on iOS 5 devices. But what Amazon gave with one hand, it appears that they took away with the other, as Macworld reported that the company was telling Stanza users that this was it. In the future they would be no longer supporting or updating Stanza.

Given that Amazon has a vested interest in driving customers to their own eBook store, I'm sure that the decision not to support an excellent app that gives the user a wide variety of choices for sources of reading material makes excellent business sense.  But I also hope that other readers will choose to call Amazon on this and let them know that they aren't happy about the whole "buy up the competition to prevent competition" appearance of this decision.

Stanza from iTunes App Store

Topics: Mobile OS, Amazon, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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  • RE: Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

    Up to two weeks ago, I would have applauded this wildly - I LOVED Stanza. Since the demise of Stanza on iPad, I've been looking at all kinds of alternatives and after a raft of updates to make it more Stanza-ish, MegaReader is, to me, a nicer reader. It has everything that Stanza had and then more - I love the fantastic integration with Caliber for transferring over my books, and the degree of customization on presentation and interface is outstanding. I won't be going back, so I don't really mind what Amazon do with their bought-out product.
  • Lesson learned

    I should have learned after the Delicious issues that when an app has no financial hook and the parent company is getting wishy-washy about supporting it then it's time to shop elsewhere. Like so many free-bies continued support and compatibility is not guaranteed. I like MegaReader quite a bit, as mentioned above, and moved my library to OverDrive (not as good as an ereader but has the public library tie-in which will hopefully keep it supported in the short to medium term). I really liked Stanza, but it's deleted.
    • RE: Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day


      I would be happy to pay a buck or two for Stanza, but the nature of the eReader market, at least at the moment, is that they have to be free of charge.
      David Chernicoff
      • I agree

        @David Chernicoff

        They should be free to the end user. But the company behind them should have a viable business solution to justify supporting the app. Like OverDrive which has the public library money and MegaReader which costs $2. Stanza had no such financial justification for its continued support. In fact, Amazon had much more financial incentive to kill it, which it seems it is doing.

        Now ordinarily I wouldn't care if a free app loses support, it was free. However, with my digital library (and bookmark library, and photo library, etc.) the viability of the company behind it and its financial incentive for making sure my library doesn't suddenly become inoperable one day (like Stanza did) should be a consideration. It will be from now on, for me at least.
  • RE: Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

    I've got Calibre and an old Sony PRS-505, just today I found one of my favorite Authors latest books on Amazon DRMed, looked around and found it cheaper and noDRM at another place on the net! As long as Baen and webscriptions and others sell eBooks DRM free, I am never going to a kindle, or buy from Amazon! When my Sony reader dies, it will probably be a Nook simple touch for me! I don't use a Smart phone!
  • RE: Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

    I have both an iPad and a Galaxy Tab 10.1. They each have apps for Kindle, Aldiko, Google Books, and Nook. Between them, they can source almost any book in print, and they allow for comparative shopping. I can also use Overdrive to get library books on both. The IOS also has iBooks. I would say the eBook arena is pretty well covered on these devices. I tried Stanza a while back. I really cannot remember the reason, but I disliked it and quit using it very shortly.
  • RE: Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

    The prices Amazon-(Kindle) started with are much higher today ,Hey,Amazon,remember if your prices are not fair someone else will take your place,like Netflix movies losing a whole hockey sock full of customers in one week.
    I hope a word to the wise is sufficent.
  • RE: Best iOS e-reader app updated and pronounced dead on the same day

    Seriously? This was the last update!? What a bunch of balls! ...This update ONLY works on iOS 5 and for me an iOS 4.2.1 just killed it, it opens and 5 seconds later it closes again.. I tried everything. I downloaded again and everything, but nothing happened, it's still dead.
    I guess I'll have to look for the previous version on the web or something