app-marketingEvery once in a while we look at books that might help the reader make some money or get a better understanding of a current trend. A subject that covers both those goals is the writing and marketing of “apps” – small applications, for the iPhone and iPad. There are nearly 200,000 apps already written for the iPhone, and more than 10,000 so far for the new iPad. Some people have made very good money selling these things, but, as with most ventures, many have made little or nothing. One crucial point, of which few people seem aware: You must write iPhone and iPad apps on a Macintosh. We found you can get used Macs for around $250 and up, and refurbished Power Macs for around $1,500.

Apple maintains an online apps store and getting into it is harder than it may seem at first. This is because Steve Jobs, the big Apple, has rules about good taste and usefulness. Despite this, the best-selling iPhone app recently was one that used the phone’s speaker to imitate people’s release of gas after digesting certain foods. More than 100,000 copies were sold in the first two weeks.

— “Using Mac Os X, Snow Leopard,” by Yvonne Johnson; $23 from

This book made us want to go out and buy a Mac. Step by step, it takes you through all the things you can do. Joy was struck by the photo greeting cards, comics, audio recordings and website tools. The author has 60 books under her belt and the experience shows: every step is easy to follow. The book plus website tutorials is $23 or you can get the digital version and tutorials for $16.

— “iPhone and iPad  Apps Marketing: Secrets to Selling Your iPhone and iPad Apps,” by Jeffrey Hughes; $25 from

app-developmentThis is a beautifully put together book on step by step marketing for iPhone and iPad apps. It’s interesting that we have never been disappointed by books from Que. Somewhere up there they must have a great editor, or a very good set of rules.

— “iPhone App Development, the Missing Manual,” by Craig Hockenberry; $40 from Covers all the steps for creating and marketing, including advice on how to get your new app into Apple’s app store.

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