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New eBook Software Releases

This past week saw the release of the BN App for the iPad, an upgraded Stanza which is compatible with the iPad and a major upgrade to Calibre.

BN App for iPad

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The BN App for the iPad is a nice reading app that allows you to customize the font, font size, line spacing, margins, and coloring of the text and background.   Other features include in app annotations, word search, and an integrated dictionary.   It has a night scheme which is essentially black background and white text.   Strangely, though, it does not have an in app brightness control which Kindle, Kobo, Stanza and iBooks all have.   I find the absence of this feature a strong negative for night readers.

Bookmarking is not at the top right, but rather at the bottom right hand corner.   It’s an odd placement and I almost missed it.   Page numbers are consistently the same no matter how large or small the font size which I think is very nice.

Unfortunately, the syncing of last place read only works between the iPad and the computer Apps but not the nook.

Buying a book isn’t as easy as either the iBookstore or Amazon with the one click buy (BN would have to license that feature like Apple does in order to implement a simpler system).   Buying books is done through the Safari browser and it’s not at all intuitive that once you are done with the purchase you return to the App.   At the end of each Kindle purchase on Safari, you are asked if you want to return to the Kindle App and one click closes Safari and opens the Kindle app.   BN should implement something like that.

Other drawbacks for BN is the lack of content – Amazon currently carries far more content and generally the prices are cheaper.   Plus, Amazon allows pre orders of Kindle books and it doesn’t appear BN allows the pre order of nook books.

If you are a nook user, the BN app is a no brainer but if you are still wavering on which device to buy, you might stick with either iBooks or Kindle.

Stanza for iPad

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Stanza for iPad was a surprising release.   I had heard one unconfirmed rumor that it might be updated but most of the pre release noise was that Amazon was abandoning the Stanza platform.   Stanza for iPad is essentially the same as Stanza for iPhone.   With Stanza for iPad, you can access your Fictionwise books, eReader books and any BN nook books that download as PDBs.   Unlock those books with your name and credit card used to purchase the books.

Stanza for iPad also has a PDF engine so you don’t need GoodReader or other similar programs to read, bookmark and organize your PDFs.

There are bugs in the current release.   Every time I save an annotation, the book closes.   It is reported that the comic book reading engine isn’t working either.   Despite those bugs, I am giddy with the iPad release of my favorite reading app.


Calibre is out with a major release, 0.7.   First off, it is much faster in opening the program and completing tasks. One of the best new features is custom columns.   As Kovid suggests in his demo video (which I highly recommend watching), you can create a Read/Unread column or anything else that would help you organize and sort your book collection.


It should be noted that you can use Calibre to organize your library even if you don’t have digital books.   Simply click on the add books feature, select “empty book” and   type in the name of the book.   You can use the “Fetch Metadata” command to get the author, ISBN, publisher, and publication date along with the book summary.   Add columns like “date purchased”, “date read”, “reader notes”, and other categories and you have a great inventory system for your paper books.   You can even create a catalog to take with you when you are shopping in the store.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Ridley
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 12:20:45

    We live in amazing times.

    How amazing is it that there’s something like Calibre and that it’s completely free? I couldn’t enjoy ereading half as much as I do without it.

    Thanks Kovid!

  2. TheOctopusGallery
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 12:50:48

    Oooooh, I like the Empty Book feature for Calibre. I’ve been meaning to make a record of my physical library just in case but doing it manually would just be a PITA. That makes things *much* easier. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Mireya
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 12:51:24

    Yeah, Calibre has proven to be invaluable to me as well. Suffice it to say, I pretty much dumped my Sony reader’s software. Their latest update, for some reason, does not work for me, so I can’t even buy books from their store any longer. However, thanks to Calibre, I can continue uploading my purchases, irrespectiveo f where I get the books from, and on top of that, can manage my collection efficiently. Calibre’s developer is BRILLIANT.

  4. Joy
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 14:16:36

    I’ve pre-ordered books for the nook.

  5. Ridley
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 14:22:51

    BTW, what are the sales figures on the iPad? Is it the juggernaut people thought it would be for ereading? Any thoughts on AT&T’s new limits on their 3G service and how that might influence future iPad sales?

    I see iPad getting tons of press here and in other media, and wonder if it deserves it. I still don’t know anyone who owns one, but at least a dozen of my friends own Kindles.

  6. Melissa
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 14:36:12

    Nice update to Calibre, though I was using tags to note ‘read’ and ‘review needed’ types of things. Soooo glad to know it’ll be faster. Will go give it a shot now.

  7. Shelley
    Jun 06, 2010 @ 17:47:51

    Do you realize how technically advanced you are to discuss all these things so easily? Although my work is on the Internet, I don’t even know what half these terms mean. Good for you!

  8. Mina Kelly
    Jun 07, 2010 @ 02:25:55

    I’m hooked to LibraryThing for organising my books, especially since the socialnetworking aspects gives me reviews and recommendations. It’s not great at picking up eBooks, so I’ve had to add several manually, which is a pain – something to do with the library’s it bases it’s data on. Would love an Android app for it, but no luck so far.

  9. Jean K
    Jun 07, 2010 @ 07:03:24

    The “Start reading on the BN Reader for iPad” link on the 3rd screenshot of your BN review opens the book directly in the app. I’m fairly certain there’s something similar for the Kindle app – I have spent far less time there than in iBooks or Kobo, however.

    I only buy Kindle if that’s the only released format of a booki either really want to read. I am still leery after what AMZN did to Mobipocket, even if they did throw us a bone buy surprising us with a Stanza app after direct inquiries yielded “ain’t gonna happen” responses.

    At this point I’m pleased that I have the means to read most of my library on my various readers. Didn’t think that was gonna happen.

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