If not undersold, then certainly underpriced

Is Scrivener underpriced?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

One of the joys of being a Mac user is the community of people developing cool software that does the job. (Where does the canard originate that Windows users have all the specialist software and Macs none?). After a few few weeks it looks like Scrivener might become as important to my work as Framework IV was in DOS days (a piece of software that has never been surpassed in elegance of design and power). And given that it is being produced by a part-time (self-taught?) programmer who just wants to be a writer is downright amazing.

Yes there are things I’d love it to do. But I am happy, very happy to accept it for what it is. But I do have a beef.

It’s too cheap. Under priced. Not a financial indication of its worth. A steal.

I buy and use software to work with - to make money. Maybe you thought that a low price was necessary to test the market. Or that all writers are poor and you want to be philanthropic. Maybe.

But: $99 (less than fifty quid here) would be a bargain for most professional users. Twice that would begin to reflect its value and be near the price of some of the other products people mention in the same breath as Scrivener. So here’s a poll:

Good idea, peterdcox. I’m in!


Ha, thank you. :slight_smile: The pricing of Scrivener is partly based against the biggest competitor - CopyWrite - but not just that. It is underpriced. $50 would probably be nearer the mark at this stage, and I will probably up the price when it comes to 2.0, depending on what development goes into it. Probably, that is too far into the future to say. The low price is based on these principles:

  1. I’m a part-time developer. At $35, no one can really complain if Scrivener doesn’t get the same development as, say, MS Word or a big name app. The price makes it clear that you-get-what-you-pay-for, and if I, as the developer, decide to take a month off to do some writing, no one should feel ripped off.

  2. I also wanted to make sure that out-of-work writers and students could afford Scrivener without a discount. As it happens, I still get daily e-mails asking for student discounts, so this was misjudged. I should have just priced it higher and found a way to offer a discount - I think that even if you charged 99p, you would get asked for discounts. :slight_smile:

  3. Making money wasn’t the primary objective of Scrivener, but at the same time I couldn’t afford to make it freeware or open source (“can’t afford” as in my better half would march off with the kids for having spent so much time on something that did not bring us in some money!).

Um, yeah, that’s it. But thank you.
All the best,

There was a long discussion of Scrivener’s pricing, long ago. Keith had good reasons for the price he set and I, for one, am grateful that it is so affordable.

If you really think the price is too low, then you should do something about it. Send Keith a check for the additional $60.00. That way everyone will feel better. : )


Jesus, Framework. Now that is something I never thought I would hear of again.

Yeah, mainly the graphic was already made. :wink:

I don’t think scrivener is underpriced – or, rather, I don’t feel I paid too little for it. Now that the reviews are in (and glowing), I think you may well be able to get $50 without impacting your volume. Early on, though, I don’t know. The psychological barrier imposed by that extra $15 or so might have been a deal breaker for a lot of people. Then again, you need to make money, and you want to appear to be serious software. It’s a tough balance to strike.

VoodooPad’s Gus Mueller has a good discussion of the whole issue here.

I am a sucker for the “Pro” designation. VoodoPad Pro, OmniOutliner Pro… they all got a little more money out of me with features I’m not sure I need.** It’s a good way to charge more for your work and add a few features without cutting out the “low end” of your market. Problem is, that’s pretty much antithetical to the Scrivener vibe – that whole “it is exactly what it was meant to be, and if you want it to be something else, go buy the thing you want it to be” thing.

Anyway, it’s tough. I say charge $39.95 for it, continue to resist the urge to add a ton of features, and focus on keeping Scrivener fast and compatible. (And add page breaks. And a hard right margin. :slight_smile: )

** VoodooPad has pro features that I paid for, but have no idea how to even use. Or even what they’d be used for. I’m not even sure I know some of the words in the description of it. It’s possible I’m dumb.

When I said it is underpriced, I just meant that I could reasonably charge more for it. Like I say, it’s not going to change, though it may well go up with 2.0, but that is sooooo far into the future that I can’t say anything about it for sure. Right now I’m working on 1.02 - a very early 1.x update - and I’m not thinking beyond that too much. :slight_smile: The price as it stands has, I think, helped volume sales, which is nice at this early stage.

Ha! I love the way we all plug our favorite desired features while also lauding Scr.'s lack of bloat. I do exactly the same thing! (can we say “smaller ScratchPad borders!”)

I was one of those who BOTH advocated Scr.'s price being higher AND having student discounts–not for myself. Thankfully my hubbie makes decent money and I can generally not worry too much about that stuff any longer.

Anyway, Keith’s explanation makes sense. I agree that the price could easily be $50. But I’ve learned to trust Keith on such matters.

Let’s just say, however, I think we are all getting quite a bargain! :slight_smile:


Like so many other aspects of Scrivener, I think Keith has put the price at a splendid pitch. It’s just right for all the reasons he’s mentioned here and elsewhere.

Now, if I can just get a second and third house so I’d be exceeding my license and have to get another . . .



Some of us have long memories - but it still lives here http://www.framework.com/!!!

Jess Grosjean, developer of Mori and WriteRoom has said - over at his own forums -

However, I personally was appreciate of the $35 price tag :smiley: - that’s pretty much $50 in Aussie dollars anyway, plus I’d already paid $30 US for (the now superseded) CopyWrite.

Interesting comments by Jesse. He’s a really good developer and a very nice guy. Hog Bay Notebook was my first ever notebook program when I finally switched to OS X.

i think the student discount would be the way to go, but it brings up additional problems of verification. I am a student - I get maybe 200 euros a month in casual proofing work if I am lucky, Scrivener was already at the top end of ‘software I can justify buying’. At present the price is perfect for getting the software out there, and appealing to the poorer end of the spectrum, as well as those who write as a hobby.

Mebbe you could cheat >> pretend to charge 99 for one day, then have it as permenantly ‘cut priced’ after that :smiling_imp: Offer money back to those who accidentally purchased it on the expensive day.

Or make like those ‘mac sale drives’, and sell it for cut price one day of the month, or something.

I don’t see a problem with the software not being taken seriously because of the low price. Some of my favorite software is freeware, after all. It’s not going to hurt my feelings if someone decides to not take as much of my money as they could!

Pretty much any prospective buyer preconception about Scrivener value based on price could be addressed via marketing. One of the things I like best about Scrivener is it’s amazing utility vs cost dynamic. There’s a lot to be said for being the best product and the most value for the money in a product segment. :slight_smile:

I think you have to look at pricing from several points of view. Clearly, the market is the driver. If you price something higher than the market is wiling to pay (despite your best market messaging efforts), you’re not going to move the product. So finding the right price point in terms of receptivity is key.

But so is the economic reality for the producer. If the producer isn’t getting an appropriate level of benefit from the product, he or she will eventually stop making it, selling it, or supporting it. So the market may also have an interest in keeping the product going, and might be willing to pay a premium for that.

For me, comparing Scriv to Omni, to Mellel, to Word, to Nissus, to Mori, to WriteRoom, to NovaMind, Scriv is a steal. That doesn’t mean 35 bucks isn’t hard to come up with for students or others. But in terms of the comparative value and utility it provides, Scriv is a steal. Think of how much it costs to go to a movie these days. For 2 hours worth of (questionable) entertainment, by the time you’ve gotten back home again (what with parking, snacks and whatever other crap we buy), you’ve paid half the price of the app! (I know I’m going to get into trouble with the popcorn man here :unamused: )

I want Keith to keep working on and supporting this app. So I’m willing to pay. I agree, student and discount pricing is appropriate (though tough for a one-man shop like Keith’s to manage). I’m a firm believer in paying for software (even paying a premium). I often buy software that I later decide not to use (I do that with music I don’t listen to anymore as well!), but I figure if I (and others like me) don’t pay for it (and by this I am not suggesting that the people here haven’t paid for it — I know most of us have… I’m talking about paying what it’s worth for Keith to keep making it), the well will run dry (or at least drier than I’d like.)

I guess the question I’d ask is, “What would you pay if Big Brother were to come and say to you, ‘I’m gonna to take your Scriv away, unless you pay me what you think it’s worth.’ Now that you’ve used it, what would you pay?”

Best to all (especially the popcorn man 8) )


I tend to pay for a lot of shareware I may never use, too, if I think it looks like a good piece of software. And then there is the great shareware that I just buy without thinking twice - I didn’t have to try iShowU or Fetch, for instance, for very long before realising that I would happily pay the small price they wanted. I hope that Scrivener falls into that sort of area, too - and judging by reactions so far, I think it does.

As for Jesse Grosjean - he really is a very nice guy. He said exactly the same to me about the price via e-mail, and he is certainly a more experienced shareware seller than I am. It is upsetting to see that the price of Scrivener has been used to suggest that WriteRoom is too expensive, though - WriteRoom does something very different and can be used for writing mails and just about every other text task necessary, is a big step up from TextEdit, and I think it’s a great app. Jesse has also programmed one of the nicest-looking page layout views on the Mac, along with Mellel (yes, I know he based the colours on Mellel’s, but he did it so well) - Storyist uses WriteRoom’s implementation. And of course, the look of Scrivener owes a lot to Mori, which I always thought was a great example of a “Mac-like” app. Anyway, kudos to Jesse, as always.

All the best,

PopcornFlix, baby, PopcornFlixIT’S A GENRE![i] :wink:


I feel your pain, Tim.
One of the perqs of being a Hollywood pro is that you get to see almost everything for free – they even give you parking and snacks. 8)


So here’s what I wanna know: The two Hollywood scribes, Genre man and the Coffee guy,
both use avatars that are cardboard containers. What’s up with that? :wink:
(Gotta be more to it than the free parking and snacks. 8) )

Seriously, I’m just kidding. I love the posts both of you offer. You’ve both taught me a ton.

So… how much would you pay — not to purchase Scrivener — but to keep it,
if someone with the power to do so threatened to take it away?


Two pennies – one for each of their eyes. :smiling_imp: