A really common discussion we have with our clients after we complete the build of an App is “Who’s iTunes account do we distribute the App through?”. There is really no straight forward answer, and at b2cloud there are no hard fast rules. We have a company developer account, but only some of our Apps are published to it.
So during our pre-blog pizza session today, we discussed the topic. A really interesting discussion we had was comparing the distribution of an App to the publishing of a book.
The first step in writing a book is for the Author spending countless hours putting pen to paper, structuring the book, proof reading it and finalising a pre-published copy. Not too dissimilar to building an App, ideas on a board, design, code and structure, testing and finally a pre-release version.
Next step is to publish the book – negotiate commercial terms, intellectual property, editorial updates, sales and marketing, printing and distribution. Somewhat similar to Apps where commercial agreements are defined and the distribution is digital and attracts a 30% royalty to the seller (Apple) for paid Apps. But there is more than this, which ill touch on in a moment.
Finally once the book is put on shelves around the world, and the inventory, ordering etc is managed by the Publisher and their retailers. The parallel to App distribution is that the relationship between the publisher and Apple is the reporting of sales, and distribution of updates.
So what does all this actually mean? Well there is actually a very big difference to trdiaitional and App publishing – the publisher in the App arena is actually the Author as well, and the Author can self publish their work to a global App distribution network. This happens with books now too (see LuLu.com).
To get back to my original point at the start of the post. Should a client that pays us to develop an App publish it through their own developer account. As a group we said no. Every time we have released a new app under the b2cloud developer account, every other app in the account gets a boost in downloads. Another reason is that we spend each and every day monitoring the statistics, status, comments and every bread crumb related to apps on our account. Its our business, our passion!
People who want to release an application developed by a 3rd party to their own new developer account, ask yourself “Why doesnt J.K.Rowling self publish her books in her empire?”. Its because publishing is Bloomsbury’s expertise, they spend each and every day monitoring the Harry Potter books and over the years have contributed to its success.