1-Click: Amazon Buys Lexcycle, Creators of Stanza


stanza-libraryJust a short update on a bit of breaking news: Amazon has purchased Lexcycle. Even if you’re not familiar with Lexcycle, you might recognize their Stanza product. It’s the e-book reading platform we’ve previously reviewed for the iPhone, and it stacked up very well against our long-time favorite, eReader. Lexcycle says:

“We are not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition. Customers will still be able to browse, buy, and read ebooks from our many content partners. We look forward to offering future products and services that we hope will resonate with our passionate readers.”

At this point, I’m still mulling over the reasons for, and the potential impacts of, the purchase.

Amazon (s AMZN) already has a start on bringing e-book content to handsets thanks to their Kindle for iPhone application. That software reads Kindle content and synchronizes your last read location with a Kindle. Clearly, Amazon has a solution there. They do intend to expand their “WhisperSync” technology to other devices, but they don’t need Stanza for that.

Lexcycle also offers a desktop client for reading content both on PCs and Macs, so Amazon can leverage that. Interestingly, the Lexcycle mobile software works with protected eReader titles, so I wonder how that plays into all of this; with an Amazon application you can now buy content from someone other than Amazon. Stanza can also read EPUB files, which is a XML-based format that many in the digital publishing world are trying to adopt as a standard. Might this help Amazon make the move to EPUB?



Hmmmm… I’m begining to feel like Amazon has the midas’ touch of ebooks — if midas’ touch was the swine flu instead of gold.

Yes, I may be biased—but only because I enjoy my eBooks and every time I turn around amazon is doing something to undercut my reading experience.

Their product is shoddy at best, and instead of improving it they have a pattern of monopolizing the business and killing technology that does work. I only hope they don’t do this with Stanza….

The thing I like about Stanza as is is the availability to purchase from a large amount of retailers–if one iphone store doesn’t have my book, another does. Comparitive shopping–it’s that simple.

In addition, some retailers have really stepped up the reading experience. Take for example BooksOnBoard ( it’s listed on the top spot in Stanza catalog).

BooksOnBoard has developed a QikClik technology that takes 3 clicks from selection to download, so I don’t have to go through the huge hassle of most retailers (including Amazon) which made me hesitant on ereading in early on.

With Amazon taking over Lexcycle what will happen to technological advances like this? Will we be left with the same old Kindle problems ? will all the good advances be swept under the rug in order for Amazon to stay on top?

Personally, I just want my reading experience to keep improving. There are still alot of bugs that need to be worked out to make it simpler, but I’m afraid that if Amazon keeps aquiring rather than making advances –the readers will be the ones left with the short end of the stick

Rick Lobrecht

This acquisition probably comes with a technology agreement with eReader – Barnes & Noble now. Maybe Amazon wants to be able to one up any upcoming hardware reader that B&N would come out with, by allowing the Kindle to read the competing format.


I’m pretty sure Amazon figured it was easier to buy Stanza and make it their Kindle app than to put the programming effort into adding all of the features that are lacking from the current Kindle app. I suspect that either the current Kindle app will soon disappear in favor of Stanza, or Amazon will borrow a bunch of code from Stanza to upgrade the Kindle app’s features. There are probably some other benefits for Amazon, but that seems like the most obvious.


Agree with JK — it’s a move to eliminate a competitor and maybe gain some IP or excellent employees to join the Amazon team.

James Kendrick

This is a bizarre acquisition in my book. This gives Amazon the two biggest ebook programs on any handheld platform. My suspicion is that Amazon will eventually shut Stanza down completely and get rid of it. It removes a big competitor for selling content, Fictionwise/ eReader on the iPhone platform.

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