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Old 01-29-2010, 02:50 AM   #1
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Decent alternative to Stanza

I've got a collection of epub books on my mac. I've got calibre and have been using Stanza but for some books I'm suffering like other people with the "all but the first couple of pages is blank" bug. I've verified the book format with epubcheck and also checked them on a PRS-505 so I'm happy that the books aren't the problem. Gone through the Stanza support and forum loop and am giving up on it.

In iTunes I've done a quick search for epub but most of the other readers that come up don't appear to support epub files (e.g. kindle). Or are badly rated and not free so I can't just try them (i2reader)

Do you use a good ereader on your iphone/touch that can read epub files that you would recommend? It just needs to accept files from my local computer - either through it's own http server or by connecting to calibre on a lan.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:09 AM   #2
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You can fix most Stanza rendering problems on the iPhone by turning of the "Display Styles" option in the Layout section of the settings. But that can cause problems if italics and other features are encoded in styles, which are then ignored.

There is a txtr app that displays ePub, but that (I think) streams the files from their server, so you have to upload to them first - I could be wrong.

eReader from Fictionwise was supposed to be gaining ePub support but that appears to have stalled. They all seem to use the ADE Mobile libraries to display them so until someone writes their own ePub engine (iBooks?), they are all going to be a bit flaky.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:00 AM   #3
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They all seem to use the ADE Mobile libraries to display them so until someone writes their own ePub engine (iBooks?), they are all going to be a bit flaky.
Of the three you mentioned, only txtr is using Mobile Adobe Digital Editions and so far it is the only iPhone app using ADE. This means that it is likely to handle all commercial ePubs.

I'm not sure the eReader iPhone app supports ePub, but the related B&N Reader app does. If the iPhone app works like the B&N Desktop Reader, it won't support all ePub styles but it will allow you to change font.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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Txtr has a very nice ePub implementation; it is the getting the files into Txtr that is tedious for me.
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Old 01-31-2010, 03:19 AM   #5
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Every ePub issue I've encountered with Stanza has been caused by calibre's conversion of the ePub. Maybe it's Stanza's bug, that much I don't really care about. The more important thing is that when I took the same files and converted them through stanza deskop, the problems disappeared.

Another alternative is to convert your ePubs to another format and use another reader like BookShelf which is fairly decent.

It's too bad you can't put your own books in the Kobo reader.

Also it's too bad stanza is the only decent reader app on iPhone because after iBooks is public, Amazon will probably become more aggressive vs. Apple, and there could be a decent chance of Stanza development being stopped permanently :-/ (Just speculation of course.)

It would be nice if Bookshelf would implement ePub support, because, otherwise it's one of the better alternatives to Stanza.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:45 AM   #6
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Txtr has a very nice ePub implementation; it is the getting the files into Txtr that is tedious for me.
How is it tedious? You upload to txtr and then download using the txtr app. Very simple really.
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Old 01-31-2010, 04:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacheryjensen View Post
Every ePub issue I've encountered with Stanza has been caused by calibre's conversion of the ePub. Maybe it's Stanza's bug, that much I don't really care about. The more important thing is that when I took the same files and converted them through stanza deskop, the problems disappeared.

Another alternative is to convert your ePubs to another format and use another reader like BookShelf which is fairly decent.

It's too bad you can't put your own books in the Kobo reader.

Also it's too bad stanza is the only decent reader app on iPhone because after iBooks is public, Amazon will probably become more aggressive vs. Apple, and there could be a decent chance of Stanza development being stopped permanently :-/ (Just speculation of course.)

It would be nice if Bookshelf would implement ePub support, because, otherwise it's one of the better alternatives to Stanza.
The bugs are the fault of Stanza and not Calibre. Get the txtr app and use that instead. It's a much fuller ePub reading experience without all the bugs. Plus the txtr app even supports embedded fonts.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:43 AM   #8
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Every ePub issue I've encountered with Stanza has been caused by calibre's conversion of the ePub. Maybe it's Stanza's bug, that much I don't really care about.
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The bugs are the fault of Stanza and not Calibre
Isn't it a bit complicated issue to have so radical opinions about it?
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:18 AM   #9
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Isn't it a bit complicated issue to have so radical opinions about it?
You seem confused. What you quoted of me, that was a statement of observed fact, not opinion. I found calibre's ePub conversion results to conflict with Stanza's renderer. I mean really, the whole point of my phrasing was to disregard the opinions about which app is broken.

Sure you can go on blaming this or that for standards compliance failures or whatever, but, at the end of the day all that's really important is a useful combination of software and eBooks. So if the OP is having issues because of using stanza with calibre produced eBooks, maybe they should just do what I did and try a different conversion tool...

In regards to those mentioning txtr, the issues it has regarding idiotically huge margins on a 3.5" screen, no font selection options, and basically no configuration whatsoever are more of an issue in my opinion. I had no issues with their web interface, I even loaded up a DRM'ed eBook that I got through BooksOnBoard, that I had downloaded via Digital Editions, and it all worked fine. But if all that mattered in an eBook reader was the ability to load up a file, this would be a far less active website When I set the font to a comfortably readable size, I would estimate that about 15 words were displayed at once on screen. Bizarre. It's software like that that I wonder... "Did they ever even use this, even one single time, themselves?"
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:31 AM   #10
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The Stanza reader on the iPhone has some problems with many CSS constructs, but does at least allow you to select margins, fonts and such to suit. These are vital on a small screen. Stanza on the Desktop (when I tried it) had too many limitations to be useful, it discarded italic/bold and other attributes.

It doesn't sound as if txtr has enough flexibility to warrant uploading stuff to their site.

There is still room for someone to produce the definitive ePub reader on OS/X, iPhone, Windows!
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:51 PM   #11
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How is it tedious? You upload to txtr and then download using the txtr app. Very simple really.
Compared to Stanza. Which I open up in my iPhone, and access every book on my computer in my Calibre library, by clicking.
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Old 01-31-2010, 11:23 PM   #12
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The bugs are the fault of Stanza and not Calibre. Get the txtr app and use that instead. It's a much fuller ePub reading experience without all the bugs. Plus the txtr app even supports embedded fonts.
I've also had the problem of the original poster. Turning off "Display Styles" worked for me. A couple of other rendering problems (Why is everything bold?!!) were resolved by switching to a font with less full support (heiji).

txtr was not at all usable for me because I couldn't change the default colors from black on white to white (or grey) on black. It is too bright in this mode and causes eye strain. Also, I agree with the other poster who mentioned the font sizes and margins were not appropriate for reading on a device with a screen this size.

Also, txtr's website only works properly in IE. This irritates me an awful lot.
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