imageStanza and eReader are already drawing hundreds of thousands of downloads by people wanting to read e-books on the iPhone or iPod Touch. But how much upside is left??

Lots, apparently. Among the All Time Top iPhone Apps on 148App‘, Stanza is the only e-reader to show up. Some would undoubtedly see the low ranking of e-reader apps as a negative, which a sense it is. But consider the potential, with all the zillions of iPhones out there, and also remember that about 10,000 App Store offerings exist. So even now it isn’t as if e-books have been a bust on the iPhone—far from it. Also, I suspect that eReader is probably among the top several hundred apps. Anyone care to check this out?

How e-books could hit it truly big on the iPhone

image Improvement of program interfaces—with completely seamless Kindle-style shopping and downloading—could make a dramatic difference. So could the availability of more titles, which we know will be coming from major publishers such as Random House and Simon & Schuster.

Tip: Use 148Apps’ search engine to search for new iPhone apps, although it’s far from perfect. When I typed ereader and e-reader, I couldn’t see Stanza or eReader. Could eReader be missing because the search is just limited to the top 148 apps? Remember, meanwhile, that the App Store has its own search engine, both on the iPhone and within iTunes.

Keeping up with new apps: You can use RSS and Twitter to monitor newly released apps.

Detail: FlipBook Lite is also on the list, but isn’t for book reading, as best I can determine.

Related: TechCrunch post and Techmeme roundup.

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  1. One thing I’d suggest is to make a few small improvements to ePub exporting on the Desktop version of the reader (edit meta-data before exporting, turn off hyphenating words during export, etc).

    This would make it VERY easy to get good content into Stanza for the iPhone, as well as a great way to get more ePub content.

    (Don’t get me wrong, Stanza already does a great job converting to ePub, it just needs some minor improvements.)

  2. The biggest issue I have with reading on the iPhone is getting your own content onto it.

    While Stanza and others offer desktop clients to get stuff on them, the major pitfall is that they require you to be on a network, and that to a private network to do so.

    While Someone reasonably tech savy can do it, it is not easy, and can at times be very frustrating, not to mention slow, depending on your network speeds.

    And what are you supposed to do when you are out on the road and need to add a book or document to your iPhone / Touch?

    Whats needed is the ability to add and manage information in apps over the USB cable, perhaps through a sub menu in itunes, or a third part program which could act as an intermediary.

  3. @BBusyBookworm: The applications are not responsible for these limits. You can’t access the content of an iPhone through USB and you can’t link specific MIME types (such as ePub for example) to an application on Safari (you need to use something such as epub:// or stanza://).
    Without these 2 limits, it would be much easier to transfer and backup content on an iPhone.

  4. @Hadrien

    While I understand and agree that the problem is outside the control of the App developers, and due to limitations place by apple, they are still important and relevant.
    (I miss the Mount as HD option from the older iPods)

    For most people, it would not really matter what is the App developers fault and what is Apples fault. They are more likely to blame it on the App developer.

    As I said, its something that need to be fixed, and hopefully will be by Apple sometime in the future.

  5. @BBusyBookworm: We’ll see but there’s clearly a reason why the iPhone works this way: Apple want complete control over the device.

    It’s not a bug or a missing feature: they deliberately made this choice and if they don’t get a lot of negative press about it, I doubt that it’ll change.

  6. @Hadrien

    I agree, it was Apple’s decision, and it is one decision I get really irritated about.

    I got an iPhone mainly to try it out, after years of using WM and Palm devices and while I love some parts of it, others really leave me frustrated.

    What I hope is that as the platform Matures a bit, Apple will relax their control mania at least a bit.

    A lot of potential Applications (besides reading) could work much better if Apple allowed Apps to communicate and access a common dataset.

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