Stanza is easily the most popular book app available for the iPhone and iPod touch. Recently, it expanded its library even further, adding 40,000 new titles to its library, thanks to the acquisition of a license for eReader’s eBook format. Lexcycle’s Stanza now boasts over 100,000 book and magazine titles, and that number grows daily. Some are crediting the app with helping to turn the iPhone and iPod touch into formidable eBook readers, despite the relatively small screen. Lexcycle claims 500,000 Stanza users, downloading tens of thousands of books a day.
Which would explain why Random House has decided to offer a selection of its catalogue free to Stanza users. The U.S. publishing giant announced yesterday that it will begin offering free, full-length books from a selection of authors through Lexcycle’s catalogue. Authors participating in the program include Alan Furst, Julie Garwood, Charlie Huston, David Liss, Laurie Notaro, Arthur Phillips and Simon Rich. The books selected are from back catalogs of the authors’ works, and will also contain promotional excerpts from their new, hardcover releases, as well as links to online bookseller sites like Amazon and Borders.com to encourage readers who like the free content to make purchases.
The giveaway represents a long-term marketing strategy, not a one-off promotion. According to Neelan Choksi, Lexcycle CEO:
“We are thrilled to bring Stanza readers a sampling of the wealth of titles published by the Random House Publishing Group imprints. But this is just the tip of the iceberg: we look forward to extending this promotion to make even more free titles available.”
Presumably, Choksi and Lexcycle are hoping that the move by Random House will result in other major publishing houses following suit. Penguin Books currently offers an iPhone application, featuring book excerpts, podcast and blog postings, and critical essays. They eventually wish to offer full titles for sale through the app as well, but Stanza has far greater appeal and market penetration, so they may change their strategy based on the success of Random House’s campaign.
The free Random House title are currently available in a special category in Stanza’s iPhone/iPod touch Online Catalog.