Scrivener price increase on the horizon

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Khadrelt
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Thu May 31, 2007 3:20 pm Post

NO NO NO NO don't increase the price!!!

(just thought I'd play devil's advocate :wink: )
And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped.

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Maria
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Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:08 am Post

Khadrelt wrote:NO NO NO NO don't increase the price!!!

(just thought I'd play devil's advocate :wink: )


O I love that.
:twisted:
Maria

te
techwriter
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Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:14 pm Post

$40 is VERY inexpensive for such an amazing piece of software, especially as the majority of Scrivener users are probably people who write for a living.

As I pointed out to Keith, my top two writing tools (Scrivener and Mellel) cost a total of $85. Here in England, that'll only just buy you dinner for two - or a wireless Apple mouse.

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janra
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Fri Jun 01, 2007 1:53 pm Post

A couple of serious points against raising the price. First of all, despite what techwriter says about most of Scriv's users being pro writers, I think they're just the most likely to speak up here. I know, speaking as an amateur myself, that it can be a little intimidating to talk writing with a pro writer.

I also seem to recall a comment in the original price discussion about Scriv being affordable to students and amateurs without a discount.

And second, $40 US will almost buy *two* dinners for 2 in Canada. (Not at a fancy restaurant of course, and only one if you have something to drink.) Just because the UK is expensive doesn't make the program cheap for everybody else!

Now personally, I would be fine with a $40 price tag. I may be an amateur writer, but my day job pays well. Not all amateurs and certainly not all students are so lucky. As a longtime user I know that Scrivener is worth far more than that, but there's a lot of shareware that I don't even test if I think the price tag is too high. I'm not sure what price tag would have made me decide it wasn't worth it to download the Scrivener trial.

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KB
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Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:03 pm Post

Well, as I say, I'm not entirely sure that the price *will* go up, but there is a good chance that it will need to, regardless of the VAT issue. I'm not really happy with putting the price up in a 1.x release, but on the other hand, the difference between 1.0 and 1.1 is vast - I have put loads of work into it - and it's not like I'm asking for an upgrade fee (and neither would I without a massive update and a 2.0 release, which is so far off into the future that I cannot even contemplate it).

We are only talking $5 here, though - it would still be under $40 and still affordable to students and struggling writers without a discount; though, as I say, I may put a student discount in place. And whether you are a struggling writer or a pro, I ask you this: do you think twice before going into a bookshop and buying four or five good books, and walking out with a smile on your face because you have a pile of new books under your arm? Even when I had no money at all I somehow managed to do that. And at under $40, Scrivener would cost less than going out and buying four paperbacks by, say, Haruki Murakami or whoever. It would be two thirds of the price of a DVD box set; $20 less than a console game; twice the cost of two Moleskine notebooks (which run out!); and so on.

No, I don't think $39.95 is asking too much, nor expensive on anyone's scale if they stop to think about what else they buy. The bigger issue is that I would hate for anyone to think that I was setting a precedent and that I would keep putting the price up.

A couple of developers told me early on that I had underpriced by 5-15 dollars, but that's what comes with being green at this sort of thing. :)

Best,
Keith

P.S. Just to clarify, we're just talking here - this isn't meant as an attack on janra's opinion and I hope it isn't read as one, because I value feedback *either* way.

te
techwriter
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Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:25 pm Post

As Janra says, "Just because the UK is expensive doesn't make the program cheap for everybody else", but it does mean that if a UK-based developer charges based on what's a 'reasonable' price in other countries rather than his own, he won't necessarily be making a useful profit.

I know we're all keen to see Scrivener development continue, and if Keith doesn't see a decent return on his efforts he may one day decide not to pursue it further. It has all the hallmarks of a labour of love, but it's probably best for us to assume that a realistic financial reward will help ensure that Keith continues to pursue the project, even if it's to the detriment of his own writing efforts.

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fingers_mcginty
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:42 am Post

Your application has more than proven itself in the hands of real writers, students, web designers and others who've also contributed to the continuing success of your forum. I don't think you need to worry about such a modest increase. Considering what Microsoft charges for Word, or the full Office package...mind you, it would be rather fun being a billionaire and being able to give away money to charities all over the place...no, stay small, stay flexible, and drink locally made beer, that's the ticket.

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janra
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:11 am Post

I do agree that Scrivener is worth more; I am reminded of that every time I use it. I mainly wanted to remind folks of the arguments for keeping the price affordable for the amateurs and students in the crowd, since every other post was on the "raise it" side :-)

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bobembry
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:47 am Post

What are the price hurdles that prevent potential new users from test driving new software and eventually buying? Where does sticker shock set in and undermine the value and positive factors?

Looking at my own buying behaviour it seems that $15 is a no brainer. At $30 I begin to get reluctant. The $39 Yojimbo price tag stopped me from using it as my junk data application -- already have Mori and DEVONthink Pro. The $49 iData upgrade charge has kept me in an old version.

I think there needs to be different software revenue models that are more reflective of user benefits over time, but that's another story.

Bob

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Margaret
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:09 am Post

I've always thought Scrivener was worth far more than the asking price, so $39.95 sounds more than fair to me. On the other hand, I admit to a mental barrier at the $40 mark. I want to be sure I'm going to use a program before I pay more than that.

As a matter of curiosity, does it cost any more to support 10,000 users than 500? And is the potential user base limited or will the program appeal to many? If there's a large pool of potential users and the cost of support is minimal, then go for the lower price to attract them. If you expect relatively few users, then economics says each will have to pay more if you're to receive sufficient compensation for your work -- and you deserve to. Even the greatest labor of love becomes a burden if you're putting more into it than you're receiving in return.

Margaret

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KB
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:11 am Post

I don't expect vast numbers of users, really. Sales have sort of levelled out now, though they are still reasonable, but they will start to go down a little soon I would imagine, given that most of the big magazines have now reviewed Scrivener and the initial release buzz is over. Given the Mac's 5% market share and the fact that Scrivener will only appeal to the writers of that 5%, and then only specific types of writers who want to use something other than a word processor and like Scrivener, Scrivener fits into quite a niche market.

As for support... Well, it depends on what you mean by cost. I don't employ anybody, so it's just me answering e-mails and forum posts. But obviously, the more users, the more e-mails and posts, so it's time rather than money.

Regarding Bob's post about $15 being a no-brainer and $40 being a put-off, I think it depends, really. If I'm looking at shareware that does a particular job that I probably won't use much (a file converter, say), and I've just been looking around to see what is available because I'm having difficulty doing a specific job, then I agree. If its $15-$20 I'll probably just buy it without thinking about it, as even if I just use it once it will have saved me hours of messing around trying to do whatever it is I'm trying to do. Anything over $25 and I probably won't bother.

But Scrivener doesn't fit into that band of shareware. I'm not sure Scrivener should be a no-brainer. It was designed to be something that writers could live in for the bulk of the drafting process. Choosing an application that you are likely to use every day takes some careful consideration; and at the same time, you are generally (or at least I am) prepared to pay a little more for something like that.

All of which makes me think I might want to change the way the trial works, too. Maybe so that after 30 days, instead of failing to work entirely, certain features just become locked - such as exporting and suchlike. That would give people much longer to evaluate it...

Anyway, just thinking aloud here.

Best,
Keith

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Siren
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:39 am Post

KB wrote:All of which makes me think I might want to change the way the trial works, too. Maybe so that after 30 days, instead of failing to work entirely, certain features just become locked - such as exporting and suchlike. That would give people much longer to evaluate it...

Do people really need longer to evaluate it? 30 days seems perfectly adequate to me, as long as people actually give it a fair go in that time and don't go off on holiday or have massive procrastinatory overload or something. Perhaps 30 "access days" might be better than "elapsed days" to allow for that?

The problem with disabling a feature such as export is that, actually, a lot of users may not absolutely need export (or whatever other feature you choose). In fact, although I do use export for most of my projects, for some I simply copy and paste from Edit Scrivenings! (Don't be shocked - it works very well for shortish projects which are basically one long stretch of barely-formatted text, or which require heavy post-processing of some sort after export.) Unless you disable a critical function (which would negate the purpose of the free trial), you might effectively let people use the software forever, for free!

Personally, I bought Scrivener two days into the trial period, because I knew on day 1 that it was what I wanted. People to whom I recommended the software have done something similar, paying their money before the end of the trial. Thirty days of regular use seems like more than enough time to make a decision. Or am I just too impetuous? :-)

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Khadrelt
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:15 pm Post

I agree with you. Locking important features works for some apps, but Scrivener isn't really one of them. 30 days is plenty of time, and if you like it after that, you use it. If you don't, you don't. It's not a 'novelty-ware' that you'll use every now and then, it's a complete workstation.
And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped.

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KB
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Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:52 pm Post

Actually the only reason I didn't originally implement a "30 actual days of use" trial was because I wasn't sure how. 30 sequential days seemed easier because you can just check against the date. But I've just realised that 30 days of use shouldn't be much harder, so I'm implementing that for 1.1. I have had a few e-mails from users who have launched Scrivener, left it for month, and then come back wanting to try it but finding that they can't. And I can't exactly tell them how to unlock it again without risking piracy. So 30 days of use seems a lot better, really - I prefer demos like that myself, as you feel that you can take your time with it and really ponder over it.

Best,
Keith

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Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:44 pm Post

That's a great idea. There have been a few times when I have tried a 30-day demo of something and found that the demo had expired before I'd had a chance to give the software a proper tryout.

The one thing I REALLY hate is software that's hobbled during the evaluation period though. Programs that won't let you even save or export a file during the trial usually get deleted within 10 minutes of installation, just to make my point. If they're going to be that obtuse they're not going to get my money. Grrrrr.