Stanza for iPhone and iPad review

Stanza is a universal ebook reader for the iPhone and iPad that differs notably from rivals Kindle and iBooks.

The most obvious difference is Stanza’s lack of a dedicated ebook store. The app connects to a variety of online sources for free and paid books, and can read books in non-DRM-protected formats. That means you can’t read iBookstore or Kindle store purchases in Stanza, but you can read free books from Project Gutenberg and the Random House Free Library, and buy books within the app from Fictionwise, BooksOnBoard, O’Reilly, and others.

Where Stanza bests its competitors is in its customisations. You can choose from over 40 fonts and adjust font size and background colours. Stanza offers reading themes that can be further customised and even lets you set a background image. In a clever touch, swiping up and down on the screen adjusts the brightness. You can control text justification, line spacing, paragraph spacing and margins too.

Stanza has a few frustrations. It’s impossible to leave the app’s controls visible while you read, since that view plonks an info box in the centre of the text. The ‘touch zones’ for pagination are large; so an unintentional tap can turn the page.

OUR VERDICT

Yet, Stanza offers a very pleasant reading experience. Regardless of the app we’re using, we much prefer reading on the iPad to the iPhone, but both versions of the app work well.

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