A small but potentially mighty acquisition by Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), which has picked up e-reader start-up Lexcycle and its popular iPhone application Stanza. No financial details were disclosed but Lexcycle founder Marc Prud'hommeaux tried to dispel the inevitable Kindle combo chatter by telling users in a forum that Stanza, one of the most downloaded iPhone apps, will continue to operate as a standalone.
Stanza is more than an iPhone app; it's a desktop e-reader app for Mac and PC and a store for books. But it's the iPhone app that grabbed people's attention, allowing them to move beyond a browser experience into reader-friendly digital books via Apple's iPhone or iTouch and prompting more than a half-million downloads in the first few months. Roughly 10 months after its July 2008 launch for iPhone, Stanza claims more than 1.5 million users.
Lexcycle, with offices in Austin, Tex., and Portland, Ore., announced the deal on a company blog, promising no changes because of the sale: '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."
NYT blog Bits, which reported the news first, has a statement from Amazon spokeswoman Cinthia Portugal: "It's very early days for e-books, and we believe there is a lot of innovation ahead of us. Lexcycle is a smart, innovative company, and we look forward to working with them to innovate on behalf of readers."
By Staci D. Kramer