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

A great eReader has its swan song on iOS 5
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

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

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