(1) starter imageLexcycle’s Stanza is a freeware eReader for computers and mobile devices that made a splash in the winter of 2011 but soon fell off the radar. While Lexcycle’s web site no longer exists, the stable release of Stanza is still available through a variety of download web sites. Stanza was originally developed by Amazon who owns Lexcycle but with the success of the Kindle and its take off, it seems Amazon has left this simple program to bite the dust.

Stanza is available for the following operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X  and iOS (iPod, iPhone and iPad).

It can also support the following formats:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • ePUB
  • eReader
  • Mobipocket
  • MS LIT
  • PalmDoc
  • General documents (such as HTML, PDF and MS Word)

How to Use Stanza

In order to get Stanza, you want to download it from a reliable source since its original home on the Lexcycle web site no longer exists.

Once downloaded and installed, you can open Stanza up to get started.

Main screen

Stanza has a very simple, efficient user interface.

Click “Edit,” then “Show Options.”

Edit - Show Options

Stanza’s Preferences only allows you to remove Bookmarks once you add them. Click the “X” at the top right of the box to head back to the main screen.

Preferences - Bookmarks

Now, click “View.”

View

View will give you all the viewing options for an open document, such as making Stanza full screen, enlarging the text, changing the background colors and even applying themes or layouts. You can also choose some font formatting options you might prefer while reading.

Then, click “Tools.”

Tools

Before Amazon pulled the plug on Lexcycle and its development of Stanza, you were able to share with others what you were reading. This no longer works unfortunately.

Next, click “Help.”

Help

Again, this is another obsolete area of Stanza for the time being. If Amazon or Lexcycle is ever able to pick up the Stanza project, these areas will begin to be available again to users. If you need help with Stanza, you are truly on your own.

Now, let’s open a web site page in Stanza.

Click “File,” then “Open Location.”

Open Location

Copy and paste the URL of what you want to read into the text box, then click “Open.”

It will take a few seconds for Stanza to convert and load the page into its main window.

Loading...

Once finished, you can begin to read what you imported.

Loaded

Click “Bookmarks,” then “Add Bookmark.”

Bookmarks - Add Bookmark

This will allow you to name a bookmark for this particular web site you imported into Stanza. Click “Add” when ready to bookmark it.

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Type a name for the bookmark:

When you click the “Bookmarks” menu again, you will see what you bookmarked there. At any time you can click on that bookmark to load that web site into Stanza for further reading.

Edit Bookmarks...

If you wish to delete a bookmark, click “Edit Bookmarks…”

Remove

Click on the bookmark you wish to delete, then click “Remove” to eliminate it from Stanza.

Click on “Go” in the Stanza toolbar.

Go

This area will allow you to interact with what you are reading, such as going to the next page, back one or even to scroll quicker through what you are reading.

Now, click on “File” again.

File

Click on “Export Book As” and another menu will drop down.

Export Book As

You can export what you have opened in Stanza into another eReader or general document format, such as for your Kindle, for a web site or even just a plain document for Word.

Save As

Click on the format you want to convert to, save the name of the file to a location on your computer and Stanza will quickly covert it for you to read on another device or in another program.

You can also print what you have imported into Stanza from the File menu by clicking “Print Book….”

Print

Stanza is a very basic and rough eReader for the computer and some mobile devices. For some users, this may be enough but for others, it may not be worth the time to investigate.

Pros of Stanza:

  • Very simple and clean interface
  • Can export and print documents
  • Works with a variety of eReader and document formats

Cons of Stanza:

  • Most likely abandoned
  • Not many formatting options
  • Conversion is sloppy

Is Stanza even worth the effort?

For most computer users, they will read this guide and laugh at Stanza. Since Stanza will most likely never see another update or the light of day with Amazon’s interest in other projects surrounding the Kindle, most will wonder why exert the effort of downloading and giving Stanza a try? Truth be told, for some computers users, Stanza may be simple enough that they are able to take advantage of what it will do for them. For those users, Stanza will be a lifesaver where other programs and software may be overwhelming, overcomplicated and too much for them to work with. While Stanza was meant to be better than this initial version, Stanza will find a bit of a following amongst those computer users that do not want to give more complicated desktop eReader programs a try.

Download Stanza.