Stanza was just purchased by Amazon, so it will be interesting to see what new directions, the product takes in the near future, but currently it is the best way to read text on the iPhone. Not only can you buy books from online book stores like Amazon.com, but more importantly for academics, you can easily convert Word and PDF documents to eBook format, and transfer them to your iPhone in two easy steps.
Reading Documents or Books on the Road: You know that you’re going to be away from your office for a while and would like to catch up on some reading without having to schlep a folder of documents or heavy books around with you (think about a trip to a conference, or even a trip to your doctor’s office where you’re not sure if you’ll be waiting for 30 seconds or 30 minutes)? Quickly convert your PDF and Word documents by opening them in Stanza’s desktop client, and the launch Stanza on your iPhone and import the documents. Quick, easy and a much lighter backpack!
As you read documents or books in the Stanza reader, you “turn” pages much like you would do with a physical book. By touching the right side of the screen you page forward, and when you touch the left side you page backwards. A touch in the middle of the screen brings up the menu navigation menu where you can quickly see how far in to the book you are as well as allow you to navigate back to the table of contents for the book. You may also navigate back to your “Library” page to read other documents, or change settings such as font size and orientation of the screen.
One drawback to Stanza is its current inability to highlight and annotate text. It sounds like those features are being worked on, and with Amazon’s resources behind them I guess that it should not take them too long implement. For just reading, Stanza is an excellent product, and the price is right.