Scrivener on Mac App Store

From the last update email:

whilst the idea of the App Store and implementation seems ok… it’s coming to light that theres issues… mainly it seems (it’s believed) that applications not purchased through the app store WONT get updates through the app store… So if your shows as being ‘installed’ in the appstore, but you didn’t purchase it via the appstore, dont count on getting updates…

other developers have gone 100% appstore only, and hence, to get new updates… you need to rebuy the application (Coversutra for instance), Pixelmator is another developer to go 100% appstore, meaning if you want updates… go buy again…

I’m now a bit concerned over scrivener… I’ve not purchased by 2.x licence yet, and I LOVE scrivener to death, its one of my all time favourite applications, but I dont want to get burnt by possibly having to repurchase through the appstore to get future updates…

whilst I know some of this is just the way the appstore works… does KB have any ideas on when scrivener might be in the appstore (in its current form) or if we await a major update before swapping ?

That one word will get you further than any amount of logic with KB. It has taken some years to learn that. Others never have.

Good job.

I’m also curious about this. I was all set to upgrade to 2.0, but I decided to wait and see what the status on the App Store version is. I know I can get the upgrade for $25, but if I’ll have to buy again just to get point releases…you see where I’m going :wink:

Is there any proof yet that you won’t be able to update conventionally-installed apps through the Store?

Heh heh, Jaysen’s right. :slight_smile:

Getting into the App Store is a priority for us, because I think it’s going to be big. The fact that it is getting added to the Dock of everyone who downloads 10.6.6 means that thousands upon thousands of people are going to be perusing it and we could lose out massively if we aren’t on there.

However. Before going after a whole tonne of new customers (in the ideal world), I think it’s more important to make sure existing customers are happy (y’know, because I want them all to go on there and rate it five stars :slight_smile: ). So although I had wanted to get Scrivener into the App Store for the launch, it was more important to ensure that 2.0 was stable, and to that end I won’t be starting the serious work of getting it into the App Store until 2.0.3 is ready, which is the current priority. I’m hoping to start putting together the App Store version in the next month or two - I really want us to get into the App Store as soon as we can.

What I can say, though, is that at the time of writing this - er, now - I have no intention for us to go 100% App Store. And I only add the “at the time of writing” caveat because things change and who knows what Apple’s plans are in the long-term. For a start, Apple take 30% of each sale whereas eSellerate take less than 9%, so I’d much rather get a sale through eSellerate. :slight_smile: Also, who knows how the developer agreement terms will affect Scrivener getting into the App Store - it may be that the App Store version has to have some features stripped out just to get in, and if so App Store buyers will be getting a slightly lesser version (that’s a bridge we have to cross if we come to it). The big thing for me, though, is that currently App Store developers have no way of knowing who their customers are - they get no access to a database of customers, they don’t have full control over everything as we do now. I like that control. And I like that users can happen by this forum as they are learning about and buying Scrivener.

As for updates, that is certainly another bug-bear with the App Store as it is - the only way to charge for updates there is by buying a program again - there is no option for discounted updates if you bought again. My guess is that Apple will add that over the next year or so, though, given that it’s something that is more important for Mac programs than iOS apps, seeing as the former are more expensive. But you are right that you would not be able to buy Scrivener 2.0 from the App Store at the upgrade price - because Apple give no customer information to developers, and because they would have no idea of who has Scrivener 1.x, and more importantly because they don’t even offer a discounted route for updates, you would have to buy Scrivener 2.0 at full price no matter what if you bought it from the App Store - when it becomes available.

But that’s fine - we’ll be continuing to sell Scrivener just as we always have via eSellerate unless Apple force everyone to go the App Store route and close off other avenues (I hope they never do - I’m very much against that). We’ll be selling the Windows version through eSellerate soon, too, and that has no such option as the Mac App Store, so we’re going to have to keep selling through our site no matter what.

The way I see it is that the Mac App Store is just another sales agent - it’s a painful one because of the demands it makes, but it could be the one that sells the most in the long-run. But we also hope eventually to sell through stores, too, and all the while keep this website, forum and our own online store as the main hub, even if some sales outlets sell more for us than we do directly eventually (and that would be very nice…).

Hope that makes sense and alleviates your worries. You certainly won’t have to purchase again through the App Store unless Apple do something evil and take it out of our hands. There’s no sign of that happening, though. Steve Jobs explicitly stated that App Store won’t be the only way of buying apps even on Lion, and I think there would be an uproar if he took that route. The App Store was released today with only 1,000 or so apps on it, and there wasn’t really any fanfare - the announcement didn’t even replace the large MacBook Air ad on Apple’s main page, but just got squeezed into the corner. So I think it’s going to be a slow burn - I think it will be a major development for shareware developers like ourselves, but hopefully we won’t ever be prevented from selling direct.

That was a bit long-winded, sorry!

All the best,

Cinder6 - Apps that were developed prior to, or separate from, the App Store have to use different licence validation procedures. Apps on the App Store use code-signing - that is, they get linked to your App Store account (I believe) so you can’t just give them to other people. Apps outside the App Store have to use their own validation methods - for instance, Scrivener uses a serial number and online activation. The version of Scrivener that goes into the App Store will thus have no serial number requirements; but this also means that you wouldn’t just be able to replace your App Store version of Scrivener with the regular version, because you will have no serial number. When I release 2.0.4 (if it’s on the App Store by then) and 2.0.5, I’ll have to release one version on the site and as an automatic update to users who didn’t buy through the App Store, which will use serial number validation, and another version that has no serial number validation will have to be submitted to the App Store (so that App Store customers can download it - I believe you can re-download point updates but have yet to investigate properly).

I would really recommend existing customers buy through the regular channels - our site.

All the best,

thanks for the update… it was nice and clear and means I’m happy to update now to my 2.x licence from my 1.x one…

I just didnt want to get stung like I have multiple times today with apps in the app store…

Thanks for the reply. Looks like I’ll buy the upgrade later today.

Oh, and you’re going to be bummed…it looks like you can’t write a review for an app unless you buy it directly from the App Store–even if you already have it as installed and the Store recognizes it. Which is ridiculous; it would be a great way to seed reviews, considering most apps will already have installed bases.

(I just tried it myself with Pages.)

Argh, that’s really, really annoying! It will be like starting again, and I fear that App Store customers who haven’t researched Scrivener before buying it will be harsher or quicker to judge. The great thing about things as they stand is that our users have sought us out.

just to go slightly off topic…the other thing about the appstore is that you can ‘install’ the app on as many machine as you own personally or ‘have control over’, according the Apples T&C’s

whilst a few devs already allow this, some done (either by licence or by agreement), whats not clear is if you can authorise another iTunes account to use your apps (like you can with itunes purchased music)

the wording of the t&c’s (you can authorise up to 5 devices) seems to point to the fact you can… but…

…back on topic

They do the same thing on the iOS App Store, for a very good reason: lots of apps were getting tons of reviews, both 5-star and 1-star, from people who hadn’t even tried the apps – either they just wanted to trash an app, or they were extravagantly praising it (in some cases, for payment).

It’s unfortunate that the OSX app store can’t tell when someone already owns the application in question, but in general reviews from people who’ve actually paid money for the thing are a good idea.

It actually can tell when you own the app, though, which is what makes it annoying.

I doubt it would be hard to spoof the app store, especially this early in it’s life cycle, into thinking that you own an app purchase through another channel. If you can do that easily, then you can freely trash or extravagantly praise any application at zero cost to you. As it stands, they can currently verify that someone with your apple id & password did indeed purchase said apps, and are not as likely to be hacking the ratings and reviews.

On balance, I think this is better for most developers of stellar applications like Scrivener.

As an addendum, I look forward to having the extra cash to upgrade Pages in the future and then complain LOUDLY and often, at every point release, that it fails to robustly support the RTF specification.

Hah! Fantastic plan, Robert.

It is very good to hear that Scrivener will continue being sold through the website and not only on the App Store (I’ve been using Scrivener since the “Gold” version and don’t plan on using the App-thing)… That piece of software sounds quite disappointing to me, there isn’t even an advanced search panel to help you pick the right app (that is, when the said app will be available). Doesn’t look like you can alternatively download a demo or purchase the app on the same page (they do it with renting movies… it is better than having useless “Lite” versions of everything). Doesn’t look either like you can say “Hey, I want a free app”, for it will only give you the bestselling ones (as if they could always and inevitably fit your very needs).

It is a good thing for neophytes I suppose, people who don’t look for their own apps anywhere but in stores I mean (as if everything were to be bought), and it will surely bring new customers to Scrivener, but I am also afraid it will increase the divide between these customers and the ones who do look for apps on their own, try the whole lot of them, and pick the one they really want to buy. Apple does not seem to have found out that there isn’t just one app to do one thing, and that not all apps fit all of us (and that some apps are utterly bad and buggy). On the security side, centralising sales and using a uniform way of protecting them is, it seems to me, the very best thing that could happen to pirates… Merry Christmas to them!

Sorry that I use Pages so very seldom I won’t waste money on it, and won’t be able to complain at every single update. But the thought is there… Pages won’t ever beat Scrivener and the MMD export to LaTeX. Ever.

Huh? Have you actually looked at the iPhone/iPad app store? It’s overflowing with dozens of similar products in pretty much every category, without an Official Apple Solution in sight. Every bit as chaotic as what you would find if you went looking at MacUpdate or similar.

I’m not a neophyte by any stretch of the imagination, and I find the one stop shopping the (iDevice) app store provides vastly preferable to wandering the highways and byways of the internet.


I think Ienissel’s main point was that it is very difficult to find things on the App Store, which I would agree with (there is still just an all-embracing “Productivity” category that covers pretty much anything you might use for work from writing apps to spreadsheets to mind-maps and so on…), and I also agree that the lack of support for free demos or reduced-price upgrades are major drawbacks - things I hope Apple will sort out in the future.

On this I also see both sides. I agree that it’s a nice way of finding new software (if the search and categorisation features are improved - I know Ioa will have more to say about that if he stops by again!), but I’m not entirely sure it’s always preferable to the highways and byways of the internet. I do rather like the fact that users have had to seek us out because they have felt the need for something other than Word and Scrivener fitted their workflow after trying different programs. With the App Store, without a proper free demo system, although I’ll be pleased to get more customers (of course!), it does concern me that programs that have a learning curve such as Scrivener may not fit the “instant gratification” expectations" that have been raised by the iOS App Store, and that we may get more users who don’t really get Scrivener or what it’s about… But hey, there’s only one way to find out!

All the best,

That is a legitimate concern. Look at the comments, even after only one day, that complain about “expensive” applications. I’m sure that’s a product of the expectations set by the iOS store.


There’s nothing really stopping people from checking out the existing trial, though. The app listing has a link to the developer web site, so users can always click on that to find a demo. You could even encourage users to try the demo in the description (if Apple allows that).

It’s not as nice as having a “download demo!” button right there in the app, but it’s still better than nothing.

I don’t test or buy new software unless folks on this forum recommend it.
Then I go to the developer web site, download, and try it out.
I trust that I will still be able to proceed that way, App Store or not.

I set up the new OS update today, which adds App Store to the black-Apple menu.
Checked out App Store and groaned: just as cluttered & poorly labeled as iTunes app store.
Productivity…what a dumb category. Enter “writing” and you get only 8 apps.
Enter “notes” and you get 20. Notes are not writing?
Tip: enter “free” and then sort by Customer Rating. Need any of that stuff?

New behavior from Safari: it’s now telling me if my installed apps need updates.
I used to do that with CNET TechTracker, until it got so annoying I turned it off.
My scanner software updates about twice a week, adding models I am not using.