in Technology

iPhone app: Stanza

The time has come for an e-book reader to find its way to my iPhone. It’s called Stanza and has a built-in online library which contains lots of free books and magazines.

The main library can be sorted by titles, authors and subjects. It also remembers the latest opened books. When viewing a book list, they are shown in a list with the book cover.

The coolest feature with Stanza is the ability to directly download thousands of books from free online libraries. The libraries can be sorted in different ways and of course searched as well. The easiest way to find something interesting to read is perhaps the Most popular section which shows lots of well-known titles.

There is also an online section for news papers. It contains popular magazines such as Wired, the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine. Using Stanza for reading news seems somewhat strange, since all articles are formatted like a traditional news paper, which makes it difficult to navigate around the contents properly.

So how about the most important view — to actually read the downloaded books? I found that the default view of black text on white background was too bright and uncomfortable for the eyes. After some tweaking, I found that black text on light gray was just the thing.

I read the book When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow, and it was surprisingly easy to read on the small iPhone screen, as long as it is tilted to the side. Now there is no excuse at all to not be reading at least one book a month!

Oh, and Stanza a free download from the App Store.