Open Question: Should Publishers Develop Software Apps?

Book publishing’s response (or lack thereof) to the iPhone 3G and the App Store has stirred up an interesting question around publishing and software development: namely, should publishers create their own software applications?

Sara Lloyd from thedigitalist says a focus on content, not software, is key:

Interestingly the price of apps [in Apple’s store] is already plummeting as free apps get more highly and more frequently rated and the paid-for apps drop down the ratings. Perhaps this suggests even more strongly that the App is not The Thing; it is merely a container or a channel for the content, which will still be The Thing.

On the other side, James Bridle from says publishers are the natural source for e-reader apps:

Most ereader technologies are built by techies who put the technology before the reading experience: the combined skills of typesetters, print designers, editors and technologists that only publishers possess could, with the right direction, produce a far superior ereader app than any we’ve seen so far.

What’s your take? Should book publishers move into the software domain? Please post your thoughts in the comments area.

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