Navigating the Niche
"[The POD program] is generating a nice monthly revenue stream," adds Marson.
Experimenting With Mobile
While C&T Publishing is already experiencing a return on investment with some of its more recent initiatives, such as the Stash Books imprint and the POD program, it also continues to experiment with new endeavors. It released its first mobile application, "Quick & Easy Quilt Block Tool," for iOS devices in late 2009, which "did great," according to Marson. Priced at $3.99 in the iTunes App Store, it presents an existing card-deck product in a mobile application format.
However, the company's subsequent entry in the mobile market has not fared as well as the first and has not delivered a return on investment. A series of three iPhone apps released in August 2010, the product combines how-to instructions from Judith Baker Montano's bestselling "Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool" with instructional video from Montano's DVD, "Judith Baker Montano Teaches You Crazy Quilting." Each volume in the series is priced at $3.99 and can be purchased from within a free sampler app—a sales approach dictated by Apple that Marson terms "a major snag."
"… Apple made us bundle [the three different editions] into one free app with the ability to purchased [each edition] from inside the [free] app," she says. "Those do not sell as well, so we are rethinking how we want to deliver content so that we can maximize the profitability moving forward."
Spotting a New Revenue Stream
Moving forward, though, means taking 2011 off from producing apps, says Marson, to instead focus on yet another new product, PatternSpot.com, an online venture launching this spring that allows users to upload and sell their own quiltmaking and craft sewing design patterns.
"PatternSpot.com directly answers our authors' and shop owners' desire to self-publish," explains Marson. "We believe that supporting authors and shop owners in their endeavors is a win-win. They win because they get to self-publish with a known entity, all the patterns are downloadable so they don't have to pay for printing, and we do all the marketing, fulfilling and website management. We win by earning a fee on every pattern sale, supporting both our authors and shop owners, and by keeping our finger on the pulse of up-and-coming trends.