At a Glance
- Free; converts documents to epub format
- Raw; Limited file support
Read, convert, and share e-books with this limited but still handy desktop companion to Stanza’s ebook reading software.
Even people who use Lexcycle’s Stanza e-book reader on their
iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad may not be aware that there’s a
desktop version of the program; the company doesn’t advertise it.
Stanza Desktop not only allows you to read books on your PC (or
Mac), it converts many different document types to the popular epub
format. It can convert PDF, RTF, Kindle, and eReader, just to name
Unfortunately, only .doc Word files are supported, not the newer
.docx files. For this reason, along with its Spartan design and
some quirks, I initially abandoned it in favor of the far more
versatile Calibre. Calibre
is a fine program–and like Stanza Desktop, it’s free–but for some
reason, it wasn’t doing a good job removing headers from several
books I’d converted from PDF. Just for kicks, I re-downloaded
Stanza Desktop, opened the documents, and darned if it didn’t strip
all those pesky headers. Basically, Stanza strips everything; then
you supply the title, author, and other information yourself using
the Book info function if the program doesn’t find that. Stanza
does a very good job of recognizing chapters and converting files
to .epub format, and does so automatically without all the fuss and
options that Calibre throws at you.
Stanza Desktop also allows you to transfer a book to you Apple
mobile device without using iTunes. Simply enable sharing on the
menu and it will appear under the shared heading in the mobile
version of Stanza–assuming both devices are on the same network.
You may then add it to your library.
Although Stanza Desktop is very basic, and there are no batch
operations, I actually prefer it to Calibre for whenever I need
just a few files converted tout de suite. It’s great for quick and
dirty conversions, as well as for getting a book onto my iPod Touch
when I’m in a hurry. If you’re looking for an e-book organizer and
more bells and whistles, grab Calibre as well.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software.
–Jon L. Jacobi