The New York Times: Stanza: “The iPhone or iPod Touch can act as an electronic book reader.”
Tip of the Week: Turn Your iPhone Into an e-Book

Frequently Asked Questions - Stanza Desktop

All features in the beta version will be available in the retail version.

Right now, Stanza Desktop and Stanza iPhone are both free. If we do decide to charge for Stanza Desktop when it is no longer in beta, Stanza Desktop will be offered completely free to people with visual or muscular disabilities. For further information, please send e-mail to

Yes, Stanza is available for both Macintosh and Windows! They can be downloaded from

Stanza can export to Amazon Kindle, Mobipocket, PalmDoc, Rich Text Format, HTML, plain text, and others. More details can be found on Stanza's Supported Formats page.

That is by design. Stanza Desktop removes nearly all of the formatting of the text that it reads. This is in order to maximize the flexibility of the user interface, as well as maximize the number of formats we can support. As mentioned above, this makes Stanza Desktop unsuitable for content where graphics or formatting is an intrinsic part of the reading experience. Stanza iPhone / iPod Touch, on the other hand, supports images as long as the ePub / eReader document includes inline images.

Some PDFs do not actually contain any text that is readably by a computer, but instead contain a series of pictures of text. You can test to see if this is the case by opening the PDF in a PDF viewer (like or Adobe Acrobat), and trying to select the text with the selection tool. If you are unable to highlight any individual letters in the text, then the document is simply a collection of images, and will be unreadable by Stanza.

Extracting text from PDF is more of an art than a science. This is because PDF doesn't structure its text internally as words and paragraphs, but instead it merely stores individual letters and their coordinates on the page, which makes reconstituting the text from the PDF a challenging task. Stanza does its best to figure out word and paragraph boundaries, but there are frequently problems with the identification. If Stanza badly garbles the rendering of a PDF, you can also try to open the PDF in a PDF viewer (such as Adobe Acrobat or Apple's, select all the text (using Edit->Select All), copying the text, and then going back to Stanza and selecting File->New From Clipboard to open the selected text from the clipboard contents.

Simply open the book in Stanza, plug in your Kindle to your computer using the USB cable that was supplied with the device, select File->Export Book As->Amazon Kindle, then browse to the Kindle on the save file dialog. The Kindle will appear in the dialog with the name you assigned to it when you first registered it.

Currently, no. The default Kindle format that Stanza exports to does not support non-Latin characters, so texts in non-Latin languages won't display properly on the Kindle. The Kindle does support an additional format (Topaz) that allows for embedding custom fonts. We do intend to support exporting to Topaz in the future, but there is currently no specific timeline for its implementation.

As of Stanza 1.0.0 beta 18, Stanza Desktop does run on 64-bit Macintosh systems, including Snow Leopard.

Recent versions of the Sony Reader support the "ePub" format natively, which Stanza exports to. For older versions of the Sony reader (e.g., the PRS500 and PRS505), you many need to download a firmware update from in order to be able to read ePub books. For more details, see

This is usually caused by an out-of-date version of Java. Try installing the latest OS 10.4 Java version from

Stanza iPhone/iPod allows you to edit the title, author, and subjects of your books by tapping the "Edit" button in the library list and making changes to the corresponding text fields.

You can change author and title information in Stanza Desktop by selecting Book Info from the View menu. When you Export to most formats or Save As to ePub format, the information you entered there will be saved.

If you can edit the underlying document (such as using a text editor for editing RTF or plain text files), you can also provide "hints" to Stanza about the title and author of the book. Specifically, if the first line of the document is of the form: "Title: My Title", then Stanza will usualy guess that the title of the book is "My Title". Similarly, if the second line is "Author: The Author", then Stanza will usually guess that the author is named "The Author".

Stanza doesn't currently display any initial opening text; it is a bit like or Notepad.exe in that regard. You can open books by selecting the "File"->"Open" menu item.

As Stanza moves along the beta process, we expect to include some initial help text in the screen to guide the user along commonly used tasks. If you have any specific questions on how to use Stanza to load books and transfer them to your iPhone/iPod (which is discussed at, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Not yet. We hope to address that limitation soon, but until then, you need to transfer any books in the eReader format to your iPhone or iPod by following the instructions at:

It is unknown at this time whether Stanza will support Linux. We are still considering the feasibility of supporting the platform. Note: it has been reported that Stanza has been run successfully on Linux in virtualization environments such as VirtualBox.

On Mac, you need to delete your preferences for Stanza Desktop.

1. Close Stanza.
2. Open the Finder, and then navigate to your Home folder, then to "Library" and then "Preferences".
3. Delete the files named "stanza.container.swt.plist" and "stanza.plist".
4. Launch Stanza, and try sharing.

On Windows, you have to edit your registry to delete your preferences. It's a lot safer and easier to just to uninstall and reinstall Stanza Desktop. (You don't need to uninstall Stanza iPhone!)

The Online Catalog that you can use to browse books in Stanza iPhone is not yet available for Stanza Desktop. Most books available in the Online Catalog are also available for download from the web. If you ever have a choice of format, pick ePub. If ePub is not available, pick plain text (.txt).

Feedbooks =>
Project Gutenberg =>
Munseys =>
Fictionwise =>
Books On Board =>
All Romance eBooks =>
Smashwords =>

An error mentioning "JVM_Bind" usually indicates that there is another instance of Stanza already running on the computer. There is a known bug with Stanza that sometimes prevents it from quitting completely when the Stanza window is closed with the "X" button in the upper-right corner of the window. The simplest solution to this problem is to reboot the computer, but another option is to open the "Task Manager" program by either hitting the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys simultaneously or else going to the Start->Run menu and typing in "taskmgr". Once it launches, you can look for instances of "Stanza" in the list and select them and click the end process button. To prevent the problem from happening in the future, quitting Stanza using the File->Quit menu item will ensure that Stanza exits completely.

Apple recently released a version of Bonjour that is not compatible with Stanza Desktop. Until we are able to track down and resolve the incompatibility, the solution we have found is to remove Bonjour completely using the Add/Remove Programs control panel, then reboot and re-install Stanza.