My favorite and most-used app, the Stanza Ereader, was broken by Apple’s latest update, the iOS 5 operating system. I can’t tell you how much this disappoints me. By reading online message boards, it’s clear that thousands of other people are just as upset as I am.
Amazon bought the Stanza application from its developer several years ago and stopped updating the app. I suppose Amazon might argue that they wanted the code or the technology or a patent or something, but it feels an awful lot like they just purchased a popular competitor (to their proprietary Kindle App) to put it out of business. To understand the significance of this, you need to understand that Amazon’s Kindle only allows you to read books that are in Amazon’s own, proprietary format. Most ebooks come in ePub format, but you can’t read an ePub book on Kindle. Stanza was the most elegant ereading app out there. It allowed for one-touch brightness adjustment while you were reading, by simply swiping your finger up or down the screen. It also offered easy font size adjustment and many other customization options.
The Kindle app is simply not an acceptable replacement for Stanza. I have tested dozens of free ereader apps over the last two days, and the only ones that come close to Stanza’s functionality are the Kobo e-reader and Bluefire Reader. Both of these apps offer landscape locking, night mode (white text on a black background so you can read in bed without producing a lot of ambient light, so you don’t disturb anybody else who is in bed with you), a progress bar, font and margin adjustments, and many other nice features. I slightly prefer the Bluefire Reader, although it has an odd and complicated way of managing bookmarks—I prefer the simple, one-touch tap in the upper right corner, but Bluefire Reader makes you go through several steps to create a bookmark, and even then, it does not provide a visual clue on the page to identify the page as having been bookmarked.
Really, what I hope happens is that enough people get upset with the death of Stanza that Amazon decides to respond, and update the app so that its legions of fans can continue using it. I used it every single day, and, although I am normally a big fan of Amazon, at the moment I’m holding a grudge against them. You can bet they made sure the Kindle App was ready for iOS 5! If you want to tweet to @Amazon and ask them to fix the @stanza_reader, please feel free to do so! In fact, here’s an easy way to do it: copy the following text, then hit the Tweet button at the top of this article, paste it in, and send!
Please @Amazon do the right thing and fix the @stanza_reader ! #Stanza #AmazonKilledStanza #RIP