Cover Story: Four Publishers Reveal Their App Strategies
Apps are particularly well suited to the market for continuing professional education, Cleary says, with test-prep for medical board exams being "revolutionized" by mobile. These types of apps can be expanded across medical, law, educational and other disciplines, she says.
Whether for iPhones, Android phones or the Web, Springer creates apps to stand on their own, while at the same time trying to highlight any connection to a book or other brand platform. A good example of book/app cross-promotion comes from the Cardiac CT Imaging app, which provides CT scan images for clinical cardiac physicians. The current app replaces a CD that was enclosed with the first edition of a book.
"The Springer editor and the book's authors did not want to include a CD [in the second edition], and thought an interactive app would be better suited to what they wanted to accomplish," Cleary says. "So the second edition has this app. You can't bundle this with the book. It's set up so that in the book's marketing we include mention and a link to the app. The app [itself] mentions that the info in the app is derived from this edition of the book and we give the ISBN number so people can find the book if they want to. It's cross-pollination."
It's also a good way to deal with Apple's restrictions on in-app purchasing. While these restrictions make cross-selling difficult, the "walled garden" ecosphere of iTunes and Google Play do make selling apps easier because consumers trust Apple's and Google's purchasing systems. (Cleary compares this to Web apps, which can be harder to find and require their own purchasing mechanisms.)
Cleary said decisions about whether to create an app are made at various points in the development process, depending on the project. Use of apps is also influenced by the priorities of scholarly associations Springer partners with. "It sometimes comes late in the process because people aren't thinking mobile yet," she says. "That's the nature of mobile right now. It depends on the market." BB
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