Oct 16 2011
For those who are upgrading to iOS5 or getting the new iPhone 4S, you may have noticed that Stanza is dead. The app crashes and is completely unuseable. But do not worry, folks, because there are three fairly decent alternatives.
1. eBook Search. Free but ad supported. $.99 to remove ads.
This app is merely a catalog reader. It has catalogs from Feedbooks, Project Gutenberg, Baen Books, Smashwords, Muneys, and the Internet Archive preloaded. If Calibre is open and running on a computer on your wifi network and your Calibre Server is started, eBook Search will automatically scan and recognize the catalog.
You can also add catalogs that you generated via the Calibre OPDS program. Please see this post about creating your own catalog and library of ebooks in the cloud. Don’t forget that you MUST select OPDS when you are generating catalogs.
Once you have your personal catalogs installed, you can browse them and download. Once they are downloaded, eBook Search gives you the option of opening the file.
In the Calibre OPDS program, go to “Advanced customization options” and type in whatever formats you would like to have supported in your catalog. You must have a corresponding format for the book. I like to keep both an ePub and a Mobi for each book in my catalog.
If you have set your catalog to generate download links for various formats, Kindle should be one of the options.
If you click on “EPUB”, it will give you the option to open in iBooks or you can also choose any other ePub app that allows sideloading such as Kobo, Bluefire, or iBooks.
2. MegaReader. $1.99
MegaReader is simply eBook Search with an integrated eReader for ePubs built in. It’s fairly nice and has a lot of customization features. You can change the following: font, font size, color scheme, text color, page color, margin width, line spacing, justification, page transition (slide, push, fade, cut), lock rotation, let sleep, restore on startup. One of the background settings is “Heads Up” which actually uses the rear camera view as the background thus allowing you to kind of see through the words. You can click for a better look.
More screenshots here. One thing I liked about MegaReader is that it shows dual columns in landscape mode on the iPad.
This app did not have any annotation features such as highlighting or note taking. You could share passages on Facebook. There was no way to make collections like you could in Stanza.
3. ShuBook. Free
This is a Chinese App but it has English language as an option. Like MegaReader, there are preinstalled catalogs, but pressing the “Custom” tab on the Download page allows you to add a catalog (as in eBook Search) or will scan for the Calibre OPDS server. Tap “Edit” and then “+” sign. You will get the options to “Find Catalog” which will search for the Calibre server or “Add Catalog” if you have the link to your Dropbox catalogs.
ShuBook has a lot of customization features as well. You can also edit the metadata directly from the App such as changing the book title and the author name. You can also change the following: Font name and size, text alignment, paragraph indent, paragraph spacing, line spacing, letter spacing, color, show page number, control over brightness by a vertical swipe, page turn effect (none, slide, curl).
This app did not have any annotation features such as highlighting or note taking. There was no way to make collections like you could in Stanza.