App Review – Stanza

There are many different apps that you can use to read ebooks on smartphones, iPods or similar hand-held devices.

So, which app should you choose? That depends on what you’re looking for in an ebook reading experience. And that’s the beauty of digital books: you can have some control over the reading experience by adjusting the size of the font, the background colour, or by marking up personally significant parts of the text by highlighting it, for example.

Each app enables you to alter your e-reading experience in different ways. Today, I’d like to point out some of the features in the Stanza app, a free app created by Lexcycle that’s available for download in the iTunes store.

  • adjustable font size and type
  • adjustable font and background colour
  • adjustable line spacing
  • adjustable brightness (just drag your finger from top to bottom to adjust brightness)
  • adjustable layout (columns are an option)
  • annotation – you can make notes as you read
  • pinch and spread capability to zoom in and out
  • key-word search feature
  • in-line dictionary to look up words
  • highlighter
  • earmark feature that turns the corner of a page for later reference
  • separate menu for table of contents for easier navigation
  • night theme – so you can read an ebook in the dark without irritating your roommate with your glowing screen
  • compatible with text-speech apps*
  • available for iPhones, iPods and iPads but not for Android phones
Of all the apps I’ll discuss over the next several weeks, Stanza offers the most customizable features. I’ll talk a bit more about the benefits of text-speech* compatibility when I discuss text-speech apps for students with learning disabilities, but for now it’s important to know that e-books can be read aloud to you while you follow along, and that not all e-reading apps are designed to allow for this special feature.

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