Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 27, 2009
LexCycle, the maker of the popular Stanza application for the desktop, iPhone and iPod touch, announced it’s been acquired by Amazon.com today. The move is an interesting one.
Only recently, Amazon released an iTunes application that allows iPhone and iPod touch users to download and read e-books from the Kindle store, which offers more than 270,000 titles (Stanza only offers a library of about 100,000 books). So, at first glance, Amazon’s acquisition of LexCycle seems to duplicate that in-house effort. What’s more, on the iTunes App Store today, the Kindle app ranks higher than the Stanza application. So, what was the rationale for the acquisition?
The only explanation I can find is this: Amazon didn't want Stanza to fall into the hands of a competitor. An outfit like Borders or Barnes & Noble could have, potentially, used Stanza -- and its 1 million-plus loyal users -- to get entrenched in the e-books market. Now, they won't have that chance.
It could also be that Amazon would like to add some of Stanza's features to its Kindle app for the iPhone. In March, LexCycle introduced Book Trailers, allowing users to watch videos previewing books before buying them. LexCycle also allows independent authors to easily sample their works.
The addition of Amazon's own book store to the Stanza application should be a boon to existing Stanza users. Fortunately, it doesn't appear that Amazon will get rid of any other stores already residing on the Stanza app. LexCycle's site states, "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."