image Stanza 1.4 is now downloadable from the iPhone App Store.

As noted here earlier, it offers colorful displays of book covers and helps pave the way for public domain books to have a much more polished feel.

It’s almost as if you’re in an online bookstore.

Just how long until commercial publishers start using Stanza to sell and distribute their wares as nonDRMed ePub? And how will the terms compare to those of Amazon and others?

At any rate, keep in mind the math. Tens of millions of iPhones are out there, and if just a fraction of the users try e-books, this could be a nice-sized niche at the very least.

Anther good iPhone/Touch contender: eReader, also free, from Fictionwise. I’m just hoping that FW can begin offering ePub, which has more capabilities than mere HTML.

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  1. Stanza 1.4 is awesome and I can’t wait to see it getting plugged in to major online bookstores as long as they work out a way of paying for content easily (ie not having to put in your credit card details each time) from right inside the app.

    A slight annoyance was that to get the nice cover images for books already in my library before upgrading, I had to delete and re-download them.

    Also, I do wish the online catalogues provided back-cover summaries.

    Otherwise, between Stanza and eReader things are looking really good for ebooks on the iPhone and Mac.

  2. I’ve added the support for a description on Feedbooks’ API. All the new books should have a description in a few days. For the back catalog we’ll see, I’ll probably add a feature to allow visitors on Feedbooks to suggest a description.

    All the original books submitted by their authors already have such a description on Feedbooks.

  3. Yep, Mike, it’s pretty evident that publishers are unnecessarily making life MUCH tougher for them and their customers. A no-hassle format, no DRM, and a free or low-cost reader–what an unbeatable combination that would be, compared to the present mess. Please note that Lexycle plans to charge for Stanza, but I doubt we’re talking a big amount here. More importantly, with a standard format, it’s easier for all kinds of free rivals to pop up. DRM inherently increases costs at all ends, alas. – David

  4. It infuriates me that ebooks are often sold at hardback price points. I fully understand the process by which authors must be compensated but there is no way the bandwidth and storage for an ebook comes close to the production cost of a hardback book from publisher to point of sale.

    It’s sheer greed on behalf of publishing houses.

    If Stanza ceases to be free, but still offers a better experience than free rivals-to-be, then people will still pay. The Mac version is a little clunky, but the iPhone version is slick and actively improving.

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