How Much You Can Really Make on the App Store



Apple’s App Store is a textbook case of the way Capitalism is supposed to work, according to one developer, who quit his day job when he realized all he needs to earn a living is a laptop and an Internet connection.

Getting information out of anyone who works at Apple can be more difficult than getting truth out of a politician, but every now and then someone pipes up with a personal revelation that sheds light on what it’s like to work with the 2nd largest company in the U.S.A. today.

A case in point is Dylan Ginsburg, developer of River of News, a $3 Google Reader app for the iPad, whose software has enjoyed what he describes as “modest” success since its release in August. Ginsburg pulled back the curtain just a bit in a blog post he wrote because “no one talks about what they make on the App Store.” If Ginsburg’s experience is typical of developers whose apps enjoy even middling success, it’s not just the big hitters in the App Store line-up who stand to gain from developing software for Apple’s mobile devices.

Developing River of News has been the most rewarding “work” of my life. It’s not even close. My sleeping is all screwed up because I keep thinking about how I can make my software better.

That’s right, “my software,” Ginsburg wrote. “What a great thing to be able to say. I’ve gotten such tremendous satisfaction from creating something that people use and like.”

It’s early in the game yet, and River of News could well be supplanted by a new flavor of the month at any time, but Ginsburg felt he has enough of the big picture in focus to have quit his corporate software job — the one at which he earned twice as much as he’s been making so far with River of News — and is a confirmed believer in the App Store business model. “The genius is they created an ecosystem that benefits them, the developer, and the customer [it’s what] you are supposed to get from capitalism.”


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