Mac App Store FAQ

As of 30th March 2011, Scrivener for the Mac has been available on the Mac App Store. The following should answer most questions about our Mac App Store presence, whether you are a Mac App Store customer or have bought from us directly through our own web store:

Will you be going Mac App Store-exclusive?

No. We will continue to sell the Mac version of Scrivener directly through our website, in the same way we sell our Windows version. The Mac App Store will just be an alternative way for customers to buy Scrivener, for those who prefer the ease of managing and installing applications that the App Store brings. Our own store (provided by eSellerate) gives us more control over our customer database and involves us paying less commission; it also allows us to provide student discounts and promotional codes (for events such as NaNoWriMo and ScriptFrenzy) in ways that the App Store does not, so it wouldn't make sense for us to go Mac App Store-exclusive.

Will you still be supporting those of us who didn't buy from the Mac App Store?

Of course! The Mac App Store is just a different sales channel - whether you bought from us direct or from the App Store, we are grateful to you for buying Scrivener and you will enjoy the same level of updates and support as always.

What are the system requirements for the Mac App Store version?

While Scrivener itself has been coded to run on every version of the Mac OS X operating system back to 10.4 (Tiger), the Mac App Store itself cannot run on any machine older than 10.6.7. This effectively means that if you purchase from the Mac App Store, you will be unable to install Scrivener on any machine older than late issue Snow Leopard, because you must have the App Store running in order to install Scrivener. There is no way to copy an installed version from one computer to another due to the piracy protection used by the App Store, nor is there any way to copy the receipt information to another computer without the App Store itself.

If you use multiple computers and some of those are older machines which cannot be upgraded, you will be much better served by buying directly from us.

What is the difference between the version on the site and the Mac App Store version?

There are no significant differences - to all extents and purposes, the version of Scrivener on the Mac App Store is identical to the version on our site. The only differences are obvious ones - the App Store version does not have a trial nag panel, a "Registration" panel, or "Check for Updates" or "Purchase" menu items, and nor does it require a serial number, because all of these things are handled by the App Store. The only difference in features is that the regular version installs a PDF service that allows you to save PDFs to Scrivener from any application, whereas the App Store version cannot do this because it is against App Store rules, but it's easy enough to add the service manually by creating an alias to Scrivener and dropping it in the ~/Library/PDF Services folder.

I can't find Scrivener in the Mac App Store in my country - where is it?

Unfortunately, we aren't able to offer Scrivener on the Mac App Store in every country for tax reasons. Under the terms of the Mac App Store developer agreement, Apple do not take responsibility for paying sales taxes in every country. They specify a list of countries for which the responsibility for paying sales taxes to governments is left to the developer. We contacted Apple for clarification on this, and they told us to speak to an accountant; we already had, and our accountant advised us not to sell into those countries unless we were prepared to deal with the individual taxation demands of 60-odd countries each year. Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources at this time to do so, especially when we already have a direct sales channel on our store that takes care of all of this (eSellerate, who run our web store, deal with sales taxes for every country they pay into). Thus, for the time being, we are unable to make Scrivener available on the Mac App Store in New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Norway, Russia and a number of other countries. If Apple clarifies the situation or takes responsibility for sales tax in these countries in the future, or if we gain the resources to deal with such things ourselves, we will of course make Scrivener available everywhere that we can - it is with great regret that we are unable to sell into these countries via the App Store at this time. That said, remember that if you are in any of those countries, you can still buy from us direct by clicking on "Buy Now" on our Scrivener product page.

I already own Scrivener having bought from your website - how does this affect me?

It doesn't - you can safely ignore the Mac App Store version and can continue using and updating Scrivener in the same way you have always done.

If I already own Scrivener, will the Mac App Store recognise it and allow me to update it from there in future?

If you already have Scrivener on your system, the App Store may recognise Scrivener as "Installed". However, it will not allow you to update Scrivener, because there is no way for the App Store to recognise it as a licensed copy because the App Store uses its own licensing scheme.

I have already bought Scrivener from your web store but I like the idea of having the App Store version for easy updates - can I cross-grade to change my version to the Mac App Store one?

Unfortunately not, sorry. The Mac App Store uses Apple's own licensing scheme and there is no way to transfer existing licences across. But don't worry, the regular version of Scrivener has fairly painless updates (it checks for updates every day - or whatever interval you have set in the preferences if you've changed it - or when you go to Scrivener > Check for Updates...), and regular users will most likely receive updates a day or two before Mac App Store users simply because when we push updates out to the Mac App Store, we'll have to wait for them to be reviewed and approved.

I want to buy Scrivener from the Mac App Store but when I go to do so, the App Store tells me that it's already "Installed".

If you have downloaded the trial version in the past, it may be that the App Store sees it sitting in your /Applications folder and so reports it as "Installed". If so, just move Scrivener from your /Applications folder to the trash and then close and reopen the App Store.

I want to buy from the Mac App Store but I would like to try Scrivener before I commit to buying. Is there a trial for the Mac App Store version?

As there is no difference between the Mac App Store version and the version we sell direct, you can just download our free 30-day trial from our product page. If you then decide to buy but prefer to buy from the Mac App Store than from our own web store, just move the trial version of Scrivener to the trash and visit the App Store to purchase and download the MAS version.

How will Scrivener being available on the Mac App Store affect future updates?

It has no effect on future updates or development. Both the regular and Mac App Store versions of Scrivener are built from exactly the same code base, so every change, bug fix or refinement I make affects both. When it comes time for us to issue an update, I just make two builds - one for our website and one for the Mac App Store. The builds are identical except that they use different licensing schemes. The regular version will then be uploaded to our site and made available via the regular version of Scrivener's automatic updater, and the Mac App Store version will be submitted for review. (At the time of writing we have not yet decided whether or not we will wait for the App Store version to be accepted before making the regular version available - this may be beneficial so that all customers receive updates at the same time and in case the review process catches any last-minute bugs.) So, both Mac App Store customers and direct customers will receive exactly the same updates at about the same time.

Scrivener seems expensive compared to a lot of apps on the Mac App Store - will you be reducing the price or running special promotions?

We believe that $45 is a fair price for Scrivener, given the richness of its feature-set and the years that have gone into developing it. We are aware that some other programs have dropped their prices for the App Store, but in order for us to be able to continue providing the same level of support, we need to continue to charge what we think is fair. We also believe that the existing price point is a good balance - it is not cheap enough to encourage "impulse-purchasing" but is cheap enough that most struggling writers should be able to afford it (after all, it costs less than a curry with a round of beers). Scrivener has a slight learning curve and is quite a "deep" application, so we don't want to set the price at a point that will encourage people to buy without trying first and then find that it wasn't what they were expecting.

As for special promotions - yes, I daresay we will run the occasional promotion, just as we already run occasional discounts using coupon codes. Maybe on the birthdays of our favourite writers and suchlike... We'll see!

I'm a student/teacher - how can I get an educational discount on the Mac App Store?

Unfortunately Apple currently provide no educational pricing system for the Mac App Store, so it is not possible to provide educational discounts if you buy from there. Instead, you should buy from us direct, where you will get a 15% discount - just choose the educational licence from our web store after clicking on "Buy Now" on our product page.

I have Scrivener 1.x and want to upgrade to Scrivener 2.0 - can I upgrade to the Mac App Store version?

The only way to buy from the Mac App Store is by paying full price - if you own 1.x, you cannot get 2.0 at the discounted price ($25 or free if you bought 1.x after 1st August 2010) from the App Store because it will not recognise you as a 1.x customer (the App Store currently has no concept of update pricing at all, in fact - we're really hoping that changes in the future). Instead, you should go to our upgrade store and buy from us direct - that way, you will get Scrivener 2.0 for the update price rather than the full price.

If I have the Mac App Store version, can I still download public betas to test out bug-fixes?

At the time of writing, no, but we hope to change this very soon, as of Scrivener 2.0.6 in fact. The developer of MarsEdit has posted an ingenious way of having the non-Mac App Store version recognise a MAS-customer as a registered customer, so I hope that as of 2.0.6 App Store customers will be able to download public betas and bug fixes for testing should they want to, just as regular customers can already. (Doing so would switch your version to the non-MAS version until you downloaded again from the App Store, though, so most users will never want to do this - this is purely for the technical-minded who want to try out bug fixes and betas.)

I've got a coupon that I won from NaNoWriMo/ScriptFrenzy/somewhere - can I use it to get Scrivener from the Mac App Store?

No. Unless explicitly told otherwise, coupons only work in our regular store. The Mac App Store does not allow developers to generate discount coupons (except for 50 free coupons for beta-testers with every release), so it's not possible for us to distribute Mac App Store discount coupons or freebies.

Can I get the Windows version on the Mac App Store?

Er, no. Honestly, you made-up people with your made-up enquiries do ask some silly questions.