Stanza bought by Amazon

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by kas23, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. kas23 macrumors 603

    kas23

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #1
    This is kind of iPhone App related and I know there's a bunch of eBook fans on here.

    Today Amazon bought Lexcycle, the makers of probably the best eBook reader on the iPhone, Stanza.

    http://www.lexcycle.com/lexcycle_acquired_by_amazon

    This is interesting because the Stanza App was considered one of
    Amazons Kindle's biggest competitors. Well, not any more.

    http://www.macnn.com/articles/08/10/02/stanza.vs.amazon.kindle/

    I wonder what this is going to mean for Stanza on the iPhone? Perhaps we should soon be able to add Kindle books to Stanza and read them from there, because right now Stanza is a much better eBook reader than the Kindle App. It's also interesting, because Stanza lets you currently read purchased content from Fictionwise.com, which just was recently bought by Barnes & Noble.

    http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/05/e-book-seller-fictionwise-bought-buy-barnes-noble/

    We'll see how long this lasts. As long as they don't pull the free content from the Stanza online catalogues, I guess it's fine.
     
  2. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    #2
    Seems buying iPhone apps is the thing right now, also grocery IQ was bought by coupons.com I think.
     
  3. mikeinternet macrumors 6502a

    mikeinternet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oaklnad, CA
    #3
    I just spotted this and almost made a new thread.

    Think Amazon will wait til 3.0 to drop stanza and their own app to release a new kindle app?
    Remember, with 3.0 they'll be able to sell books within the app.

    ALSO: This means Amazon now owns the Lexcycle desktop version of Stanza which has this feature among others...

    "Stanza Desktop on Macintosh has an experimental new feature that allows you to export your books to MP3 audiobooks. Your entire audiobook can then be added to iTunes and synchronized with your iPod or other digital music player."
     
  4. kas23 thread starter macrumors 603

    kas23

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #4
    That will be interesting also because Apple stated if the App could not be free if you are going to have in-App purchasing. This will likely mean Amazon will have to charge at least $0.99 for these Apps that are currently free. I also hope that the people who grabbed these Apps when they were free are "grandfathered" in and we don't need to purchase an App we already own for in-App purchasing. I would LOVE to be able to read Kindle Apps off of Stanza. This is a good purchase all around (except that online eBook merchants are becoming too consolidated - not good for competition).
     
  5. mikeinternet macrumors 6502a

    mikeinternet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oaklnad, CA
    #5
    I believe those with free apps that become paid apps to utilize in app purchasing should be fine. The fact that apps with in-app purchasing will be need to be paid apps is intended to protect the user from being tricked into getting a free app that later chargers, not penalize early users.
     
  6. kas23 thread starter macrumors 603

    kas23

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #6
    I never knew this. Pretty cool. Is this a patented tool? Maybe this is the real reason behind this acquisition? I hope Amazon doesn't eliminate this nice little tool, as it's likely going to seriously threaten their audiobook sales. I can see eBooks and audiobooks becoming a single file/product in the future. I just hope Amazon doesn't impede this technological progress.
     
  7. mikeinternet macrumors 6502a

    mikeinternet

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oaklnad, CA
    #7
    I think audiobooks will still hold there own against this. People like 'feel' of a real person that knows what they are reading.

    I like your idea of having audiobooks and ebooks becoming bundled. I personally would prefer my physical book purchase to include ebook versions. Great for students who don't want to haul around tons of paper. For myself I wish I could pickup on a book I'm reading when the time becomes available.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    Unlikely... you know that the Kindle can read books to you also, don't you? The technology to take an eBook and read it for you is pretty old hat. I would think it would take a coder, what... 15 minutes to adapt the Kindle's function to make an MP3 instead of streaming to the speaker? Also, this synthesized speech has come a ways but its still deeply unsatisfying. I don't think it'll draw away a lot of audiobook lovers (I personally don't care for audiobooks, though, so I couldn't be sure).

    I think there are two reasons Amazon is doing this... (1) to squelch competition and (2) to adopt some of the niceties of Stanza's reader tech (since people do seem to like it).

    Honestly, on point (1), if you look at the books that sell on the Kindle, the top sellers pretty much mirror the topsellers in print -- Twilight, Steve Harvey's book, etc. Amazon isn't really in competition with Stanza -- they both make readers, but Stanza gives one minimal access to the books people with Kindles actually read.

    I would personally like to see some numbers not on how many copies of Stanza have been installed, but how many books have actually been read with them.

    I think it's great news -- I think the Kindle app is nice, but it could be nicer. The software on the Kindle itself could be nicer too. If Stanza paves the way for this, excellent. But I downloaded Stanza before I got my Kindle, and even though I do read classics, it still was of little value to me because it doesn't generally have the books I want.

    Now on the other front, I think the thing that is a real competitor to Amazon is Google's vast collection of digitized books. Amazon needs to seal a deal to get those on the Kindle.
     
  9. Gokunama macrumors 6502a

    Gokunama

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    #9
    We'll still be able to buy from the other ebook sellers through Stanza I hope...
     
  10. MaxPower49 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #10
    I don't think this is a good thing.... I like Stanza exactly the way it is.
     
  11. kas23 thread starter macrumors 603

    kas23

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #11
    Well, that's what they are saying. However, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's bad business to offer a program that allows you to purchase goods (in this case, eBooks) from a competitor (Fictionwise, etc.).
     
  12. Brien macrumors 68020

    Brien

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    #12
    Unfortunately, I think it's only a matter of time until Stanza is dropped/absorbed into the Kindle app.
     
  13. jparris1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    #13
    I just hope this enables amazon to improve the Kindle iPhone app. Because of book selection it's what I primarily use, but man it needs a lot of features. You can invert the screen colors, or read in landscape just to name two. Stanza is much more pleasant to use.
     
  14. DotComCTO macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    #14
    "I have a bad feeling about this..."

    I don't like where this is heading at all. Amazon have done a number of things to make it so that consumers get their books from Amazon and not from anywhere else. Consider that Amazon recently went after all sites that pointed to the scripts that would allow a DRMed book that you purchased or borrowed from a library to be viewable on the Kindle. Amazon invoked the DMCA to go after these sites...just to make sure that you couldn't look at DRMed books that you legitimately got from another source. Note that the scripts didn't remove the DRM (although those types of scripts do exist, too). The scripts kept the DRM intact, but basically bound your Kindle PID into the eBook file so it could be read properly on the Kindle.

    So...now Amazon buys Lexcycle. My first inclination is to think that Amazon will basically force Stanza to work only with the Amazon store, and to further limit choices. It may not work out that way, and all may be fine...but Amazon didn't buy Lexcycle for kicks. They're looking to make money here.

    Very concerned where this is heading.

    :(

    --DotComCTO
     
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #15
    NYT blogged on this today including some comments from both sides (bolded).

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/...anza-an-e-book-application-for-the-iphone/?em

     
  16. maknik macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    #16
    Terrible!

    I've been using Stanza since it first came out, and probably spend more time on that app than all my others put together. It's the best ebook reader I've ever used, and I can't see anything good coming out of this for all of us existing Stanza fans. Stanza's customer support has been wonderful, and they have constantly innovated, adding dozens of features that I never anticipated but which have made the reader much better than anything I could have imagined -- a rare accomplishment. Takeover by a larger company adds layers between the users and developers, and always adds cruft onto a sleek app. Amazon is bound to take it in directions I have no interest in -- I have no desire to rent their DRM-riddled products -- and it deeply diminishes the ebook market for the iPhone. My bet is that they'll only make it harder for us to read non-Kindle books on it, and certainly the damn thing will be constantly trying to sell me Amazon products if it remains free. I hate these corporate takeovers.
     
  17. boston04and07 macrumors 65816

    boston04and07

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    #17
    I really, really hope this means that we'll be able to read our Amazon ebooks on our Macs.
     
  18. kas23 thread starter macrumors 603

    kas23

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #18
    Just in case Amazon starts to ruin Stanza, I just found another very cool eBook reader. I tried the free version and it seems pretty capable:

    http://appshopper.com/books/bookz

    And here's the paid version:

    http://appshopper.com/books/bookz-text-reader

    The pros of these 2 apps: user-defined tap zones to turn pages or bring up controls or bookmark, no external application needed to import books (so no syncing needed!), download txt files from built-in browser to app library, direct downloads from Project Gutenberg, and all the other nice touches (landscape vs vertical lock, invert colors, change font size/color, progress bar to tell you how far you are in book, etc.). Pro version has built-in dictionary too. Looks like it is well-supported/updated by its developer.

    Cons: only supports txt files, GUI not fancy enough to support book covers (no frills), no quick access to online catalogues like Stanza has.

    My verdict: I'll definitely buy the Pro version if it goes on sale soon or if Stanza is castrated by Amazon. They need to support other files besides txt files too.
     

Share This Page