Fictionwise logo I was super stoked by the news Fictionwise was licensing it’s eReader format to Stanza so that iPhone readers could FINALLY buy DRM’ed content from the iPhone directly. (and none of this individual app thing that Pan Macmillan is thinking about). The problem is that while the marriage of the Fictionwise Store and the Stanza browsing experience is great, the actual execution of purchase is not. I’ll detail the buying steps below, but ultimately, there are integration issues that I think need to be addressed.

I think that the Fictionwise accounts need to be integrated so that users do not have to have two separate Fictionwise accounts. I would like to be able to access my entire Fictionwise library via Stanza but right now I can only access the books purchased at stanza.fictionwise.com. Further, I have alot of Fictionwise Dollars (called Micropay) that I cannot use at the Stanza + Fictionwise bookstore. Finally, the only way to purchase a Stanza + Fictionwise book currently is through credit card. There is no paypal option.

This is how it works:

  1. Open Stanza on your iPhone.
  2. Choose Online Catalog from the Library screen then Fictionwise Book Store.
  3. Choose the Fictionwise library
  4. Add to Cart
  5. Its bookstore content is formatted for the iPhone (unlike every other retailer Stanza has partnered with thus far).
  6. You have to create an account with stanza.fictionwise.com. (I did NOT like this because I want to use my fictionwise account. Please get these integrated).
  7. Enter your email address associated with the Stanza.fictionwise account and password. Click the auto-fill login so you don’t have to enter this information again.
  8. Got to Checkout or Continue shopping.
  9. You can either enter your credit card information here (no option to pay with paypal so booooo!!!) or at the website. I choose to both sign up and add my cc via the website using a full sized keyboard. If you add the card and set it as primary, you do not need to re enter the information but you must add the three digit security code from the back of your card. Press Continue.
  10. Another page loads and some graphic button (I think “authorize”) is supposed to show up but did not. After clicking the Authorize area, My purchase was complete but the book did not download. Instead, I backed out of the purchase area all the way to the beginning to re-read the instructions on how to use this thing.
  11. Now you have to go the “My Bookshelf” link at the bottom. (Wow, could Fictionwise and Stanza make this harder and less intuitive? I think not).
  12. New page opens up to download book. I get a download popup request. I press “Download.” I am now at the 13 minute mark.
  13. I now have to enter my unlock information (Name and CC). The book downloads and I am now ready to read it.

You can access the purchases made at the Stanza + Fictionwise store via the eReader iPhone application. To download from eReader the books you purchased via Stanza, hit the “+” tap and then the “Another site” and enter “stanza.fictionwise.com”. You’ll need to expand the screen and click on the “Bookshelf” link. Fill in the email/password combo. Click the “Download” button next to the book you want to dl. I had to re-enter my unlock information (Urgh!) but it is a way to use the Stanza bookstore and still use ereader, all from the iPhone.

Verdict? Great idea, but lousy execution. I’ll be sticking with buying online via the Fictionwise store where I can use my micropay dollars.