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RIP Stanza 2008-2011

August 8th, 2011 by · 12 Comments · software news

Apple released the first beta version of iOS5 a little over 2 months back, and it turns out there’s a problem. Stanza won’t work on iOS5.There are no reports from several different beta releases that Stanza will only just work – so long as you don’t try to download more than one ebook at a time.

Okay, we’re talking beta releases here, not the public release, but this isn’t good. The app is clearly not compatible with iOS5. And when the final version of iOS 5 is officially released, you’re not going to believe the screams of rage.

Update: And now that iOS5 is out, we can see that I was right. Stanza is dead.

Update: It took Amazon a month to release it, but there is an update for Stanza.

If you read this blog then you probably know that Stanza used to be a great reading app for iOS. Back when the app was released in late 2008, it was quickly haled as one of the first great successes of the platform, and the app was so good that Amazon bought Lexcycle just to make sure no else could. Unfortunately, Amazon never really supported the app, and it looks like the little ongoing development supported  by Amazon has now stopped.

You might think it’s too soon to start mourning the app, but I’m not so sure. There’s a two month old  complaint thread on the official Stanza support forums about this issue, and even though 8 people have confirmed this problem and 11 have responded in the thread, there’s no word from anyone with Lexcycle on whether the stability issue will be fixed.

It’s been 2 months and there’s not even a vague hint that it will be fixed. I’d say that’s pretty damn conclusive that no one’s awake at Lexcycle. Then again, Stanza was never more than an after thought for Aamazon, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s going to limp off to a slow death.

On the other hand, maybe this post will prod Amazon into making an announcement.

Stanza via MobileRead

image by tstadler

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • burger flipper

    Bummer.

    Are there any other active reading apps that let you choose custom colors for text and background like Stanza did? (already slipping into past tense)

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  • nerdgirl

    Not to sound overly dramatic, but I was appalled when I tried to run Stanza on my newly-upgraded iPhone 4. I use my iphone primarily for email and ebooks. The rest is so much dross. I keep all my books in my calibre server and have been relying on Stanza heavily for quite some time – it’s the way I *read* nowadays. I really hope Amazon puts some minimal effort into fixing this!

  • dangerd

    I have switched to i2Reader. Surprised that nobody has mentioned this one.
    I have used Stanza for years and it has always been my favorite. i2Reader
    is as good and in some cases better than Stanza.

    Included:
    You can customize almost everything, not just text color, but color of main
    text separately from headline text and italics, footnotes etc.

    You can choose from a lot of fonts, I did not count but would estimate
    maybe 60 or so.

    You can choose font size by slider or specify by point size.

    You can choose background color, overlay a picture with slider controlled
    opacity.

    You can save unlimited styles you make or use the pre-configured ones.
    Switch in Book while reading by double tapping the page.

    There is a custom status line setup which shows any combo of time,
    progress bar, page number or percentage of book read and all this can be
    separately color and size controlled. Or removed completely.

    Full Screen Reading option.
    Animate-able page turns or the ability to turn them off, also the ability for

    tap zones if you don’t like sliding the page and the ability to Define where
    the tap zones are on the page.

    Sleep mode or Not.

    Orientation Lock for both directions, you choose or let it rotate.

    The library can have indexes (the letters to quickly get down large library
    pages like Stanza).

    Large cover icons or small.

    Auto grooping of books, by metadata.

    Option to open book at startup or not.

    Choice of TXT encoding… the list is Sooooooo Long!

    You can Sort the library by Author, Title, Sequence, Sequence #, Publisher,
    Publishing Series, Generas. One at a time or all at once. Although you have
    to go into Prefrence tab to change. I just sort. “Author, Title,Sequence,
    Sequence #” so everything is in order.

    In the library there is no author folders like Stanza, but with the sorting
    turned on everything in the list shows up together if your metadata is correct.

    ALSO ON THE LIBRARY PAGE YOU CAN SEARCH!!! FIND STUFF FAST!

    NETWORK STUFF

    A built in web browser.

    OPDS Libraries. (they put in Feedbooks, you add whatever you want.)

    Shared Libraries to use with Calibre and i2Librian.
    A built in FTP server to upload books to your device.
    HTTP Server to upload books to your device.

    Dictionaries!!! You can add as many as you want (StarDict format), and use
    one at a time or all at once, you choose.

    Supports bookmarks with names, has a page with history of last 5 books
    opened and new books added and a button called “Bookmarks in Library” so
    you can get into whichever book you want to read where you left off.

    The one bug I have found is that when visiting hyperlinked footnotes I have
    trouble using the link back, but I always bookmark before following and
    then use the bookmark to get back, I just call the bookmark “q” every time
    and overwrite it.

    Also no Sharing function from in the app.

    All in all I will say this beats the hell out of Bluefire and all the rest

    of the readers out there, but I will miss Stanza.

    One more thing it’s $4.99 U.S.D from the app store.

    I have posted how to install libraries here:

    http://danger3d.blogspot.com

    dangerd

    • Tarique Sani

      Sorry to say but i2reader has been a nightmare – the UI is very counter intuitive, customization painful and no share on twitter or facebook. Even adding dictionaries is painful.

  • Parry

    I have switched to Kobo. I found it better than bluefire in terms on navigation, looks and customisability. Give it a try. Also, it supports vertical scrolling of text, something that I find more intuitive while reading eBooks.

    I have also written a post about this, which you can read here: http://parrymathur.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/books-on-a-phone-bye-bye-stanza-hello-kobo/

  • alreadydone

    Any other apps that support pdf and djvu both?

  • Tom

    A Facebook group has been started to “Revive Stanza For iOS5″. Perhaps this could serve to supplement discussions happening here and across multiple sites and forums and quantify our displeasure with Amazon.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/230548790339245/

  • Ari

    I find it funny how everyone wants to customize customize customize. I love Stanza for one primary reason: It did what it did OUT OF THE BOX. I didn’t have to spend weeks configuring and customizing it to do what I wanted. I could get books, I could read them, and reading them was easy. Couldn’t care less if it has multiple colors, integrated web browser, coffee maker and nail polisher.

    Give me a free option that has the necessary ones: orientation lock, easy flipping through pages (and the book), remembers where I left off, the full screen mode without any annoying bars and of course the brightness changing the same way Stanza had – can’t be arsed to go to the settings every time I feel I want to make a slight adjustment. Stanza understood that. I’ve yet to find another reader that does. :P

    Most ebook readers seem to think we want flashy graphics, lots of useless information filling the screen (instead of the book), millions of configuration options and user experience that’s as enjoyable as eating broken glass.

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