Stanza is an eBook application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that lets you find, purchase, download, and read eBooks. It’s sort of like the Amazon Kindle app for the iPhone, except it’s not linked to Amazon’s web store. Instead, you can find and download books from a number of online book stores including Fictionwise, SmashWords, and O’Reilly Ebooks.

But what really makes Stanza stand out is the extensive Free Books section. You can download more than 25,000 free books from Project Gutenberg alone. But Stanza also lets you find and download free eBooks from Feedbooks, Random House, Munseys, and other sites.

You can see a list of downloaded books in the Library area, where you can sort books by author, title, or group. You can also remove books from your device by clicking the edit button. The library shows a thumbnail image for each book cover, and a tiny pie chart showing how much of the book you’ve read.

Oh yeah, and you can also use Stanza to read eBooks. You can customize the background color, font size, and text color. You can even set a photograph as the background, although I don’t know why you’d want to do that.

Stanza also lets you adjust the text alignment, line spacing, margins, and other settings. Don’t like the page turn effect that simulates the flipping of a book page? You can set Stanza to slide from one page to the next or just disable the page turn effects altogether.

You can create a separate night theme for reading in the dark. And you can brighten or dim the screen simply by swiping your finger up or down on any page of an eBook.

Overall, I’m very impressed with Stanza as an eBook application. I wish the Amazon Kindle app for the iPhone had half as many customization features. But I also kind of wish that Stanza had access to Amazon’s extensive content library.

Stanza is available as a free download for the iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s not available for other mobile platforms, but there are Mac and PC desktop apps available for download. If you’re looking for a similar app for Google Android, I recommend checking out Aldiko, which I’ll probably cover in another mini-review soon.

You can find more photos of the Stanza app after the break.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing.He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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