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PDF Expert Moves to Annual Subscription Business Model

Readdle launched PDF Expert 7 today with a few new features and an all-new business plan. The app was previously paid-up-front with an In-App Purchase for advanced features. With the launch of version 7 though, Readdle has moved the features that were previously part of PDF Expert’s In-App Purchase and some of what were part of the base paid-up-front app to a PDF Expert Pro subscription that costs $49.99/year with a 7-day free trial. Despite the change, however, existing PDF Expert 6 customers will retain the features they purchased under the old model.

The free version of PDF Expert allows users to access and manage PDFs from cloud services, read and annotate PDFs, and fill out PDF forms. In addition to the other PDF Expert 6 features that are now part of PDF Expert 7’s Pro subscription, Readdle has added three features: conversion of Word, Excel, and image files to the PDF format, PDF compression to reduce file sizes, and customizable app toolbars. For a complete breakdown of free and subscription-only features, be sure to check out Readdle’s blog post about the update, which also lists which features existing customers will retain.

The move by Readdle to a free app plus a subscription is an interesting one that we’ve seen before with other apps, including in the PDF app market. It’s a model that makes a lot of sense for a category where users’ needs vary widely from extremely simple to complex. Whether the price point and feature bundle Readdle has chosen is attractive to enough users to sustain the app’s subscription will be up to the market to decide, but I expect this is a trend we will continue to see with feature-rich apps like this.

PDF Expert 7 is available as a free download from the App Store with an optional $49.99/year subscription for advanced features, which users can try free for 7 days.

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