Take your existing apps, music, ebooks with you to a new device

What's the big idea?

We have a patentable tech/legal “hack” that will allow consumers to legally move their existing apps, music, ebooks from one device to another.  For example moving apps from iPhone to Android, or eBooks from Kindle to Nook.  We want to build a platform that lets anyone anywhere sell any digital content. 
To bootstrap our platform we start as a B2B2C company making simple software tools to allow authors to sell ebooks from their websites.  We grow the platform to allow anyone to sell eBooks, and then move on to other forms of content. 


Describe the nearest player in your field.

For selling digital content, Bandcamp does the same thing we’re doing for musicians. Authors currently “sell” eBooks using an referral link.

How are you different from that player?

An referral link pays an author 4.5-8% of the products sales price, by selling directly the author can get 3 times more.  Also, Authors can put future books up for sale earlier and before they are written for a kickstarter like option.

How's the world different with your idea in it?

Consumers would be able to switch from an ios to an android based phone without repurchasing the majority of their applications.  Thus consumers will have more choice and creators and publishers won’t be tied to a single dominate player to sell their content.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

Ebooks are a $2 billion dollar market in the US growing at double digit rates, 17% of all eBooks are sold via referral links.  Our longform business plan projection has $50mm in net revenues in five years from our bootstrapping product expanding into all eBook referral link markets.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

I have domain expertise in publishing, and relationships with authors and publishers.  I graduated from #1 ranked entrepreneurship program in the country (UofH) and as an intrapreneur built a multimillion dollar publishing business line.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

I want to test if this would be desirable by consumers, preferably by doing a MVP test with some non-real product links on author websites and doing consumer surveys.

There have been 8 replies to this page

  1. Andrew Rushmore

    This a great idea - having gotten three iPhones and two iPads in my life I’ve sunk a lot of cash into apps and I’d love the idea that I own them when I go to a new platform. Never know what the future holds!

  2. Josh Jasper

    John really understands this market space from a variety of viewpoints.  He knows how consumers, producers and distributors think.  This product is going to make life easier for publishers and consumers , and at the same time, give people a good reason NOT to pirate media.

  3. Colleen Lindsay

    This is a brilliant idea, and one that smart publishers should have thought of themselves.

  4. Mandy Wheeler

    I think this is a good idea, but do you have statistics on how often consumers jump from one device to another and therefore would need this? I personally have an iphone and would never ever want to switch to anything else. Does the number of “switchers” outnumber brand loyalty?

  5. John Grace


    Mandy, I do have some statistics on switching behavior that I’ve gleaned from some Harvard Business school working papers.  For the iPhone almost no one is leaving, of those that want to leave but don’t the largest reason is having to walk away from the substantial amount of money they’ve spent on APPS.  Both Google and Microsoft need platform mobility to increase to compete with the iPhone and the same dynamic is playing out in tablets and eReaders.  Market share is a function of existing customers less attrition plus new customers.  Sunk content purchase costs help to make hardware sticky with consumers, if customer attrition is close to zero market share quickly locks in with the early market leader. 
    Making things less sticky is very valuable to 2nd and 3rd place players.

    A quote from Paul Graham sums up why I’m starting with something small i.e. authors selling eBooks.  “Empirically, the way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things. Want to dominate microcomputer software? Start by writing a Basic interpreter for a machine with a few thousand users. Want to

  6. Shane Jordan

    Endorsed.  There is definitely a need for this idea.  Nice job.

  7. Phil Threadgould

    I think the transferrable books line of business may be worth exploring.  But as for apps, I don’t think the iphone to android, android to blackberry, etc. is very promising.  Many apps don’t exist on all the platforms.  If your new device is on the same platform as the previous device then many times transferring apps is automatic anyways.  Finally, people buying an app aren’t really going to be enticed by the fact that in two years when they switch OS they will be able to move the app with them.  Books might also only be applicable across OS systems.  I have a Nook.  Then my daughter got a Nook.  We used the same username/pw and my books transferred to her device seemlessly.  So your scenario is probably only applicable if she had got an iPad or Kindle instead of a Nook.

  8. Tipsy McStagger

    Good idea…horrible name.
    Yes, I understand that “cun” is a root that means “to learn or know,” But it is too similar to the latin “cunnus”
    (by the way…women HATE that word. Don’t alienate half your potential customers with a single word.)

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This idea was funded by public endorsement on August 16, 2012. Since then...

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