Reading Apps for iPhone

Amazon’s Kindle app has received a lot of press, but other iPhone reading apps exist. I wanted to share my thoughts about my favorite reading apps and a few images of the apps in action. Links in this post connect to the iTunes Store, where you can learn more about and download the apps in this article.

Stanza

Stanza will enable you to download free books or purchase books from a cadre of providers, including Fictionwise and O’Reilly.

Stanza 1

You should be able to locate just about any book that is in the public domain through various providers, including Project Gutenberg.  The interface is easy to read, but users can change fonts and colors.

Stanza 2

A new update allows users manipulate text (zoom in, select, and define words).

Stanza 3

The dictionary feature is really nice, and I could see it being very useful.

Stanza 4

Stanza is free, but as I mentioned, some of the books are not; however, as most of the books and the app itself are free, Stanza is probably the best reading deal for the iPhone.

Shakespeare

The Shakespeare app from Readdle allows users to own the complete works of William Shakespeare–all the plays, sonnets, and other poems–on the iPhone.

Shakespeare 1

The interface is easy to read, just like Stanza’s.

Shakespeare 2

Bible

The Bible app allows users to choose from among many Bible translations, including the popular NIV, New American Standard, King James, New King James, and many more. The interface is very easy to read.

Bible 1

Users can bookmark their favorite verses for easy perusal. This app also comes with a daily reading feature for users who want a reading plan.

Bible 2

Classics

Classics is not a free app.  Currently priced at $0.99, this app is still a bargain for its beautiful interface.

Classics 1

Classics comes with twenty books, and more are promised by developers as the application is updated.  The current list includes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Dracula, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Of the apps I’ve discussed, Classics most closely replicates the experience of reading a book, but it also has the most limited library. Users are clearly paying for the interface rather than the books.

Classics 2

While some might argue that reading apps on the iPhone will never replace the feeling of reading a book, and one certainly shouldn’t read the iPhone in the tub, I have found the apps to be a pleasant way to read books. I take my phone with me everywhere, and it has been convenient for me to read at long stoplights, while waiting in the doctor’s office, and while in line. In addition, the backlighting allows me to read with the lights off.

I have downloaded the Kindle app, but I haven’t purchased any books. My husband swears by the Kindle app. I checked out the interface on his phone and discovered it is much like Stanza’s. Books for the iPhone Kindle are cheaper than regular books, and the array of new titles is quite possibly broader than with other apps (though I’m not certain this is true). Perhaps after I’ve had a chance to check it out, I’ll review Kindle for iPhone in a future post. Meanwhile, feel free to post any questions or comments.

7 thoughts on “Reading Apps for iPhone

  1. I just downloaded the Kindle app last week, after having serious envy for the pricey Kindle 2. Though it is not as fully featured as the actual Kindle, I find it very easy to use, easy to read and so far, I haven't encountered any bugs in the program. Kindle or otherwise, I'm glad to have the ability to read anywhere and anytime, something that I've found challenging since my daughter was born in July!

  2. You MAY have just sold me on the iPhone with this, Dana. I've been dithering between it and the new Blackberry Bold for a month now. How much do these apps cost? How much are the books? That will probably make my final decision.

    Thanks for all the wonderful posts!

    1. Ashly, all the apps are free except for Classics, which is currently $0.99, although I paid $2.99 for it. The books vary in price, and I can't really say how much they average, as the only books I've downloaded have been free classics.

  3. Nice! I was dazzled by the images and didn't read the "fine print" between:)… but now that I go back and look, I realize I could have answered my own question. Very cool.

    Are you on break right now, then, for Passover? Ours starts officially tomorrow and we get two full weeks off. I'm headed to San Francisco for a week… I need a break from this place!

    1. We have two more school days before Pesach break. I can't wait, even though I'll be using it to do grad school work and grade research papers.

  4. So far, all the books I've browsed (but not necessarily purchased) appear to be priced between 7 and 10 dollars. Revolutionary Road was 7.99 and I just purchased No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which cost 6.99.

    1. That's a little cheaper than a trade paperback, but some mass markets are cheaper than that. Still, not too bad. Are they new releases?

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