Nowadays, every indie publisher seem to develop his or her own custom publishing tools, be it a custom website and newsletter tool or some fancy iOS app generator. While most of these tools will never see the glaring light of the general public, some are made available commercially, so that anybody willing to pay may use them.
Funnily, quite some of these tools are somehow made available, but not really. The Glide platform, used by Jim Dalrymple’s Loop Magazine since more than one year, is announced to become available only “over the next few weeks”. Curated, the website and newsletter tool used by iOS Dev Weekly, is currently looking for exactly 45 customers, paying $995 each for one year of access. On the contrary, tools like TypeEngine are available to everybody.
While I don’t agree that such publishing tools are unnecessary as such, we have two fundamentally different business models here. On the one side, there are tools that are marketed and sold as just that, being tools, computer software. On the other side, there are tools that are just the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger product, which is a publishing service. So, if you also have a publishing tool ready for distribution, please think twice if you want to be a software company or a publishing house, or, to have it ever better worded, if you want to sell software or consultancy services.
If I were a writer, I would probably buy software, instead of publishing services, but that’s my personal opinion.