Tablet of Contents: A Guide to Apps

In Frankfurt 2011 by Amanda DeMarco

By Amanda DeMarco

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In the past year, the app market has become rapidly more competitive. Prices have plummeted, while consumer expectations have grown. “The users you want to address are very demanding . . . You get feedback from those that are not satisfied,” said Dr. Jennifer Elfert of German app-developer Zuuka! At the seminar “Tablet of Contents: a Look at Tablet Publishing,” she gave attendees advice on the best ways to publish apps and e-books. Here are a few tidbits:

  • If you’re publishing your app in a local language, you should also consider publishing it in English, simply because English-speaking users have more devices. Eventually this will change, but for now, it’s the way things are. Elfert has also seen good results with apps translated into Mandarin (simplified Chinese).
  • One possible complication is that app stores may flag book apps published in multiple languages as spam. This is because the code for each version is the same, only the content is different. While the rule doesn’t make much sense when applied to books (of course different languages are different products), the app store wasn’t made for books and the same rules apply to all apps. Having good contacts at Apple is probably your best bet if you run into that problem.
  • It’s tempting to want to get into doing apps gradually to minimize risks, but Elfert says that that may actually raise costs in the long run. Developers can plan modifications for various languages or multiple apps into source code. Telling them upfront that you’re planning to publish five apps in three languages may save you money, versus “trying out” one then deciding to expand.
  • Apple’s strict regulations keep it free of spam, and also things “that are spam in the sense that they’re just not good,” but direct contact there is difficult to establish in the case that anything goes wrong.
  • Amazon’s rules are less strict, and publishers get a personal contact to talk to, but maintenance can be bothersome. This is because Amazon operates on Android but is not necessarily compatible with other Android operating systems.
  • Nook is “a very lucrative store in the US,” and it provides a direct contact. Whatever their differences, all of the stores take a 30%, so there’s not much you can do in terms of price.
About the Author

Amanda DeMarco

Amanda DeMarco is a freelance writer and translator living in Berlin. Originally from Chicago, her work for Publishing Perspectives focuses on German-language publishing news.