Trism has made $250,000 for its developer, Steve Demeter, in just two months. A simple game, it looks to be as addictive as Tetris*, and it hits the right spot for pricing: $5.
[. . .]
[I]f you can generate a modest hit, you're not going to care. Remember, Tris is the work of one man. If the game keeps selling at this rate for a year, he will have made $1.5 million.
Emphasis added by me.
I've said in Comments elsewhere that no matter what, devs will claw their way into the App Store for the simple reason it will make some of them millionaires. I wish I'd bothered to state that here in my own blog too!
And unwired view adds some more thoughts:
The combination of an easy way to pay (credit card/iTunes GC) and an easy way to install (app store) makes customers more comfortable at purchasing programs for their iPhones (and iPod Touch). At the same time, developers have it easy when it comes to iPhone app development. From getting started, actual development, and final deployment to the public through the app store, Apple provides the simplest of set-ups.
Let me add something else here that's a factor being ignored: the Apple brand name.
Sure, all these are the products of different companies (I'd say "individuals," but you need the correct business Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS to do this; your Social Security Number won't do; so in IRS terms, you're a business, which is why I say "companies"), but everyday people have the reassurance of Apple selling it.
I've called for Apple to get out of sales and turn iTunes into an eCommerce platform.
That is where things can get dicey for individuals; creators as well as buyers.
"Come buy my app at Mike's website" doesn't have the same appeal. In fact, I can foresee outright scams taking place that way. It's inevitable. Millions and millions of cellphones that are eCommerce-enabled just like the iPhone are a magnet for fraudsters. That kind of fraud would be more likely when iTunes is a platform instead of an entrance to a single marketplace overseen/refereed by Apple (or Google or Palm or Nokia).
But that's a risk that's run right now, with anyone who risks buying from an individual website. The safeguard against that are people alerting everyone else -- via blogs, via Twitter, via other means -- to steer clear of the fraud.
iTunes becoming an eCommerce platform is something that will happen. Because if Apple doesn't do it, Google will for Android. And if that happens, then Microsoft will jump in, as will Nokia. As will every cellphone carrier. But Apple has a chance to set an eCommerce platform standard that could richly reward its bottom line and lead to an explosion of eCommerce.
Now to tie this into eBooks and writers.
There are millions of iPhones out there now. All of them have the possibility of reading the standard the dying dinosaurs of print have rallied around: ePub. The Stanza eBook reader can do ePub. Publishers should have been flocking -- should be flocking -- to the App Store to sell ePub-formatted eBooks. How can they ignore millions of potential customers like this? It verges on the criminal!
Waterstone's in the U.K. makes it a point -- and so does every publisher offering DRMed ePub files -- to tell people they need to get Adobe Digital Editions to complete the sales process (ADE is required for DRM activation) for Sony Reader eBooks. But not every publisher is hampering their sales with DRM on ePub files. Pan Macmillan isn't; theirs are free of DRM. So, it'd be very easy for publishers selling DRM-free eBooks at the App Store to tell people to download Stanza (it's free!) in order to enjoy their purchases. It's trivial!
The other point here is the price of that Trism game: five dollars. Would it have sold if it had been priced at $12.95, $15.95, or $19.95? Would it have even made six figures of sales if it was priced at ten dollars?
I doubt that very much.
It was priced as an impulse buy.
The same way eBooks must be priced.
While the small snooty We Know It All clique of meganational print publishing cries over their martinis at the Four Seasons, the people who actually create what they are supposed to sell are being killed by their inaction, by their stupidity, by their desperation to ignore the future.