Lots has been written about Apps versus the Internet. Today I heard Ben Galbraith speak on this topic and he said something like this (quoting from his blog):
“What a fascinating time of change for our industry! The Web has been challenged as the dominant platform for mainstream consumer software experiences–though the contest with apps is far from over. The predicted mobile convergence (with the desktop) is happening now. Independent software developers are now re-empowered to earn a living at their craft in a new and interesting way–they join musicians, directors, writers, and other artists whose products command the attention of large swaths of the general public. The opportunity has always been there, but now the complexity of so much infrastructure required to distribute those experiences has been swept away…”
He went on to say that basically, apps are content. Meaning (in part) that it’s a new sphere to distribute content. For authors, I think this is a really interesting concept. There is a lot of information that is available online for free, that people are paying money for in apps (for example – Chuck Norris jokes).
A few years ago, when I was working on my dissertation, free e-books seemed to increase the print book sales. But what about free apps to point people to a paid book? And could taking the basic ideas behind a book and releasing it as an app instead of a book actually make more money for an author than a book would? And for those authors who really want people to read their work, would a book be more likely to be read than an app?
I don’t have many answers, but these are questions I’m thinking about. My initial thought is that if you have a piece of content (a book for example) the more formats and places can make it available the better. To make it free or to charge? That depends on how much you value exposure versus profit, and of course what kind of sales you could command.