How to Build a Literary iPad App

By Jason Boog Comment

sl23.jpgWith two million iPads in circulation, one literary journal wants to help other indie publications create iPad apps. Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Scott Lindenbaum, one of the co-founders of the literary journal, Electric Literature.

He described, in practical terms, how the indie publication built a new iPad app. In addition, we discussed how the journal hopes to license its iPad app platform to other small publications and how the journal landed a new story by the bestselling Spanish novelist, Javier Marias.

Press play below to listen.

Here’s an excerpt: “It takes hundreds of hours, with a typical development team, you could be paying hundreds of dollars an hour per developer. It can be very, very expensive. We got lucky because we had this team that’s working for literature, rather than development, purposes. So we were able to build it sort of on the cheap. But even so, it cost us thousands of dollars to develop the thing. We did learn a lot about how this kind of thing is cost prohibitive for most independent presses whose yearly revenues aren’t that high–they can’t spend ten or twenty thousand dollars on a single platform.”

Lindenbaum continued: “We want to help independents get on to the device, to put their catalog in an app. We’re going to be licensing our platform to any independent that’s interested. They can just email us. We want to help them get on the iPad.

He concluded: “The licensing fee is going to be very minimal, because we are interested in leveling the playing field. We don’t want it to be the case where Random House and Macmillan are the only publishers that have enough money to get on this device. Instead of spending $10,000 on an app as an indie publisher, you could work with us to add a couple hundred bucks on the end of your printing costs.”