Ustwo’s Nursery Rhymes iPad app by most measures is a success. An innovative interactive ebook, by mid-June after less than four months it had shifted over 37,000 copies, was subject to rave reviews and benefited from being promoted several times by Apple itself. Most developers would be extremely pleased. The only downside: £60,000 spent, £24,000 in income; it is still a long way off from breaking even.
There’s little doubt that their app will eventually make a decent profit. Ustwo was remaining fairly philosophical about the situation: “Innovate now, don’t think this is about making money now. It’s about pushing the medium forward. Have a lot of fun and you’ll benefit in the future.” A view I highly applaud, but a view which many publishers will understandably be weary of. There’s no shortage of avenues where money can be spent with no return! But mobile apps need not be one of them.
I’ve worked on a successful series of apps for an educational publisher. Below are my views about how publishers can get into the right frame of mind to approach the app market and avoid common pitfalls.