Please do not go subscription

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Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:05 pm Post

I agree. Please don't go subscription. I can't remember the price or when I paid for the last upgrade to Scrivener. I love the program. There are a couple of features I'd like added and will post them in a thread when I look to see if anyone else has requested them.

I'll be glad to pay for an update, so long as it's not the full price for the program. That would make me a bit angry.

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Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:43 pm Post

You've had at least 7 years' use of a program for which you paid $45, which has covered all updates to date ... and you'd be angry if you had to pay another $45 for a major rewrite of the program? :shock:

But don't worry, I'm sure Lit&Lat will be offering an upgrade discount for existing users (though that's not possible through the Mac App Store).

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Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:01 am Post

The trouble for me with the Ulysses way of doing it is mainly that if I am happy with the app as it is, I can't buy it. I won't be able to stick with the version I know works for me, and which has the features I like. If they run off in a different direction, that's what I'll be getting from them, regardless of my wishes.

Now, there may be temporary solutions for this. For example, I have the app now. I can keep using it until an OS update breaks it. Fair enough. But when an OS update breaks it, my only choices are to switch to another app or to ... switch to another Ulysses app, which may or may not have the features I want.

I am not keen on paying a fairly high annual price just to keep using the features which Ulysses already has. That's too expensive. And to keep paying for upgrades I for the most part have no interest in? No better an option. With Scrivener, if I am happy with 1/2, I can simply keep using it. And if I want to go to 3, I pay. Sure, I will probably pay and go to 3, and I expect a lot of people will - but the point is I actually have a choice. And even an informed choice - I will be able to evaluate Scrivener 3 before I decide. With Ulysses, I have no idea what that app will look like in a year. Whether it will even be something I want to use any longer, or if it has changed completely.

And that is the core issue for me. That, and that I refuse to rent software for my own use.
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Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:59 pm Post

Couldn't there be a much simpler explanation? They wanted to be included in the Setapp family, as a way to reach more customers. Setapp is a subscribed service so I guess that most apps in there have to be as well.
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Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:19 pm Post

lunk wrote:Couldn't there be a much simpler explanation? They wanted to be included in the Setapp family, as a way to reach more customers. Setapp is a subscribed service so I guess that most apps in there have to be as well.

Is that likely to be the case, lunk? The Soulmen - who've created Ulysses - have gone into print at least once to explain their new price model, and I don't recall - my memory may be wrong, of course - that this reasoning figured largely in their calculations.

My own experience is that in business all, or nearly all, of the people who surround an enterprise and are directly connected with it - investors, bankers, employees, suppliers, regulators, accountants, lawyers, yes, even most relatives, partners and spouses - tend to prefer predictable and repeatable sources of revenue rather than occasional one-off peaks, even if the one-offs are, possibly, unexpectedly and dramatically large (as of course may be also the troughs between them). Predictability and repeatability just seem less risky, even if in some circumstances they may not be and those who prefer them may be wrong.

The evidence - albeit from the world of software for purely commercial purposes - is apparently that predictability and repeatability are what subscription delivers, although clearly without the peaks and probably with some costs of transition (as we may be witnessing in Ulysses' case). I've seen an estimate of 80 per cent possible immediate transitional revenue-loss from a switch to subscription quoted for software for commercial purposes - but with the loss still not necessarily invalidating the long-term profitability of the transition (but I don't know exactly what that estimate is based on). My guess is that this sort of calculation of long-term revenue and balance of risk is what may underlie Ulysses' switch.
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Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:36 pm Post

I've also heard from a developer using Setapp that it hasn't been very profitable for him, which is why we haven't explored Setapp ourselves, so I very much doubt that is the reason behind Ulysses' switch. :)
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Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:21 am Post

As a user of multiple power-user software suites, the only one I don't mind subscription to is Office 365, simply because of its access to 1 TB of cloud storage. What with Microsoft updating every few years and formerly charging an arm and a leg for a standalone that would be replaced in two or three years, I've never seen reason not to subscribe. Adobe, on the other hand ... they're the poster boy for bad power user software. "Customer service? What customer service? Documentation? We don't need no stinkin' documentation!"

Seriously, LL and Scrivener are on my wall of fame as far as excellent power user software goes. I work for a company that makes a (I kid you not) $2000 product that's totally worth it, but upgrades on a two year cycle where it makes sense to go subscription. Adobe, on the other hand, charges more than they used to these days, and gives you less in terms of actual feature upgrades or even bug fixes.
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Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:05 pm Post

Is it true that all of us would prefer to own the things that we use; Car, house, computer, software? Is it just a simple human desire? I think so and, I think that's why we all instinctively rail against any form of rental or subscription model unless it makes absurd sense, i.e, buy outright for $1,000 or rent for $10/year - and even then we do'd it begrudgingly.

Regardless of the model, $50 for Scrivener with an upgrade every few years or $30/year rental of Ulysses, I think the whole thing is not down to the raw financials but to the comfort of knowing that, what ever happens tomorrow in my life, I have my tool bought and paid for, done and taken care of and no one can take it away from me.

Am I alone in that simple feeling?


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Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:11 am Post

One of the big issues with subscriptions is the anxiety associated with being tethered to a product where I've invested a lot of my own time creating projects. What if the company goes out of business overnight? What if they raise the price? Etc etc.

There's a cozy feeling knowing that I have a standalone copy of Scrivener that will work for the foreseeable future* on a computer that doesn't require internet access to authenticate*.

I also feel that a developer might be encouraged to do big version releases versus incremental if they know a user is going to have to throw down full (or upgrade) pricing every so often. Conversely there might be added expectation if I'm spending subscription fees each month and I only see the boilerplate release notes over and over again: "Bug fixes."

And finally, whenever I see apps using subscriptions that don't go toward some kind of backend infrastructure then it feels like a money grab. Netflix and cloud storage providers have ongoing costs even if they stop developing their product. There are servers churning 24/7. Whereas Ulysses and Bear seem to apply the subscription model like an arcade machine requiring tokens to stay running. (My understanding is that Bear requires subscription to use iCloud --which is odd because Apple is doing the heavy lifting there, no?)

*Of course who knows how much Apple/MacOS updates will affect things, but those will always be outside of the developer control.

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Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:10 pm Post

I should say first I have some awareness of software licensing and trends. Old licenses were perpetual, with not much in the way of updates. More recently, licenses have been perpetual with annual maintenance giving access to updates...go out of maintenance then you have to re-buy your license. Subscriptions convert the perpetual to a lease.

If you're selling software for $30, and release a new version every three years for $30 more, then your annual subscription should be $10/yr, plus a bit of an increase to manage the risk of lack of renewals (say +20% making it $12/year). People tend to charge closer to the full license rate as a subscription under the assumption that the renewal won't happen. It's less than a cup of coffee a month.

Alternatively, you could estimate your company's annual budget plus reasonable profit and growth, divide by the percentage of likely long-term users and charge that.

I'm not a fan of subscriptions, but it is the industry trend. I would say explore how to do it, then shelf it for later.

BTW, thanks for exploring Android...Scriv3 is bringing me back.