I love to read. I always have. I imagine I always will. When I was a child, there were summers that I read a book a day. When I graduated from college and got my first job (but was still somewhat directionless) I was reading a book a week.
Then came grad school, writing, and becoming very involved in my profession. Reading for fun wasn’t as much of an option, and most of the reading I was doing was on the computer screen.
And oh, how I missed books.
I’m entering into another phase where I can do more reading, but I’m still finding myself really busy. At the end of the day, if I pick up a book, I fall asleep reading it. What’s a reader to do?
Enter Stanza for the iPhone.
You can browse your titles by the basics, create your own shelves (mine are “read,” “to read,” and “reading;” all below the fold). That “Online Catalog” option you see? It links to all kinds of catalog for works in the public domain. You can add PDFs as well, but that’s a bit wonkier.
Beautiful! Coverflow, just like the iPod offers for music.
But so far all we’ve talked about is geeky goodness. What about the reading part of the ebooks? That’s what has really gotten me excited about this application. I don’t have big chunks of time to read like I have in the past. What I do have is the 60 second walk to the water fountain or the 3 minutes in line at the bank. Any time I’m in a situation where I’d normally get a little bored (brushing teeth, anyone?) I can fire up stanza and read a few pages. It’s fabulous. I just finished Little Brother, which I’d been meaning to read for ages, and now I’m re-reading Siddhartha. And I’m reading way more book content than I was before Stanza.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have piles of books all over my house and office that I want to read, it’s just I’ll read through the stuff on the iPhone faster. The biggest drawback for now? The library. Public domain has a lot of good content, but sometimes (especially in my area of work) you can’t get anything relevant to your area of interest. And for now you can’t purchase materials for the Stanza reader. But when you can, watch out. For readers like me, it might become a preferred method of reading.
I’m still fascinated by the Kindle. But for now, this is cheaper (free) and it is with me all the time. There’s no way the Kindle would win on either of those counts. It’ll be interesting to watch both Stanza and the Kindle in the future.
Have you tried any ebook readers that you actually like? Any that might make you consider reading some content in the e-version alone?