Dear Create Booklet users,
in these few personal words I like to thank you – our Create Booklet users/customer – for guiding us towards Create Booklet 2 with this small story.
The beginning of Create Booklet
Create Booklet started 2005 as a solution for myself when I first switched to Mac. There was a quite new technologie from Apple back then called "Automator Action" with the ability to create PDF Services from it and I used it to create my first little PDF Service (looking back, I can't believe how long it took me back then). I loved it so much I made it public, starting on Apple's own download page.
I never got numbers from Apple's site, but from numbers I got later, I would estimate it to be quite a few hundred thousands. Wow.
Back then I used booklets simply as a comfortable way to read through Apple's developer documentation – I was a newbie.
I was surprised by all the feedback I got – surprised mainly because I did not published any contact info so the people who reached me really had to dig deep to find me. They used the service in so many different ways, but since it was a PDF service, the option where quite limited. I tried to help by adding a few features, but activating them was somehow complicated. The biggest things were "Right to Left Booklets" and a non-booklet feature for composers and conductors that places pages simply next to each other. But in the end, it just stayed a plain simple, yet perfectly working PDF Service.
Create Booklet the App
Reading the limitations above, the next step seems obvious, yet I missed the forrest for the tree:
The Mac and especially developing intrigued so much that I started doing that professionally. First for other companies and then later I founded my own, which I still use today to publish apps under the brand of "TheKeptPromise". I created many apps before I noticed that turning Create Booklet into an App should have been the logical choice from the beginning – duh, right?
Create Booklet as an App means I can add all the feature requests customers asked me for and make them available to anybody. More over since I would replace Apple's Preview with our own apps preview and not a single click was added by this step. The Create Booklet app became a success quite fast with many recommendations all over the internet as the easiest way to create a Booklet.
While it seemed (and still seems) finding the Create Booklet app is the hard part, the responses were amazing:
„Overall, this app has provided me an opportunity to provide quality booklets to my clients during training and presentations, greatly enhaning the experience and in return, sales.“ - Surf182 „This is exactly what I was looking for.“ - AdenZerda
„Wow! What an awesome time saver. I’m so glad I found this.“ - Eben of Dyer
„I’d recommend this app to anyone needing to print booklets.“ - Ridin'ABike
„I have tried many apps to easily print a booklet (neighborhood directory, club yearbook, etc) and Create Booklet is the best!“ - Ndegan
People loved Create Booklet and gave us praise, but where do you go from here …
Create Booklet for everybody is born
By 2017 Create Booklet had full 5 stars in many countries and more than 4.5 at least. Yet we did get support requests. The reason of these request defined Create Booklet 2: Obviously people had new feature ideas, but the other kind of feedback was more interesting: Create Booklet had attracted a LOT of „booklet newbies“.
This became our Create Booklet 2 mission and dream: Everybody should be able to create booklets. For this new users should be guided by Create Booklet, from how to prepare the document, why pages should be multiple of 4, how to setup your printer and should be prevented to make any mistakes.
So, Create Booklet got an onboarding that not only gives explanation, but let the user print a test booklet to verify if it comes out correctly. Keep in mind by default the print panel is collapsed and the „short-sided-binding“ needed for booklet is hidden, but Create Booklet can counterbalance this, if it knows the user does not set this setting.
While using it, Create Booklet warns you if the booklet becomes too thick or the layout is too far off, if your page format creates a margin etc. - every single problem people ran into is now discovered, informed about or prevented where possible.
The mini booklet
This was quite a big request and there were many different expectations users had about this. And we have discussed many times why not to do it – yet.
When Create Booklet 2 was planned, it was clear this would be a huge feature, but we wanted to do it right. So instead of simply supporting a half sized booklet, we learned from what is done in the professional world: Professional printers have huge sheets and place typically 8 pages onto one sheet with a gap between the double pages. This page is then folded first long side than short side and finally cut along the gutter. It’s what you want for pros, but not for the rest of us. So we built a complex imposition engine that allows to print in two different styles: Fold Cut, which is the professional way and Stack Cut, where you simply cut all pages at once. You can fully design with both how you want the layout to be, what paper is used and how many pages are placed onto it.
These two presets barely scratch the surface of what is possible - if you want to create the worlds smallest booklet, here is you chance.
Create Booklet 2 - the price
Create Booklet is unique in that it has a very small market. We put an extreme amount of work into it but try to keep the costs low enough that it’s affordable for non pros and still give out all the bells and whistles. Our first thought was to make it a free update, but that ship had sailed when we noticed how much work was needed to put all the things in we wanted our customers to have.
For a long time we hoped Apple would introduce an upgrade possibility to the App Store, but at least for now they are commending using a subscription. To us a subscription felt wrong. Yes, it is a great way to support continuous development. Subscription means we could introduce features one by one. In consequence, you already would have gotten many of the features we put into Create Booklet 2, but at the same time it destroys the feeling of owner ship.
So, we decided for a normal new version 2 app and hope you support this decision. Since there is no way to give you an upgrade price, we chose to pick the easter weekend as upgrade weekend:
From 31st of march to 1st of April we sell the app half price, which makes it a super cheap upgrade 🙂
We honestly hope that most of you love Create Booklet enough to support it with a regular price, but we know not everybody can afford that.
We invite you to discuss price models and price in the comments, as this is a controversial topic and we would love to read your opinion.
A final real life test
My final words come to you as a user and a special thank you for your requests. I myself have multiple features Create Booklet would not have without you in one single situation:
My wife and I decided we needed a mini vacation, so we packed lightly and one of the things to take along is my wife’s pregnancy report – yes we are expecting our first 🙂 (A pregnancy report is an important document, German becoming mother’s cary around everywhere.)
My job was to create a copy of that small book and make it pocket sized. So I put the pages onto a scanner and then realized, that scanning double pages might have been a mistake, but to the rescue came feature number one:
- Split pages: I selected all pages and used the menu entry Pages -> Split Pages to have single pages instead of double pages.
Since the front cover and back cover were next to each other when scanned, I had to drag the back cover to the very end. Now everything was nice except I had 14 pages and since one sheet carries 4 pages, my back cover was not the back cover any more. I needed two empty pages before it.
Adding an empty page was always possible, but thanks to customer request:
- Add empty page after: I selected the second last page and the „+“ became a „+ Add after“ 😃 now I know why it’s needed 😃
- Micro Booklet: Finally, to create a booklet that fits into the wallet, I used the Micro Booklet preset.
It was a single sheet of paper, two cuts later I had a wallet sized booklet and my wife was more than happy.
I know it’s just 3 new features, but as a developer you think the essential things are there from 1.0. Realising that those feature are not that rare to use or have cases where they make sense together was quite satisfying.
If you ever want to tell your own story, feel free to write them into the comment or even on our facebook wall.
Thank you! We love you!