Live Wallpaper?

About 2 months ago I started to explore building apps to allow end users to decorate their NOOK Color device (desktop and lock screens) with licensed art/images. The exploration lead me to a simple idea of packaging collections of images within a Live Wallpaper and making then interactive on the desktop, yes wallpaper???

Given that NOOK Color has a majority female market demographic, I thought that decoration and customization would be a clear winner within NOOK Apps. Also given that end users tend to be a-technical, packaging as a Live Wallpaper meant simplifying adding them via Wallpaper Manager and making them easy to use. Ideally I wanted to avoid any type of “settings” within the apps and have all interactions occur on the desktop. My expectations were that I would most likely break even against licensing of images and open up the market for wallpapers on the device. Little did I know…

With licensed images in hand, Android SDK, and configured Eclipse, I went about coding up a simple interactive live wallpaper for image viewing. The codebase started very simple and I build in image automation using ANT and ImageMagick. I used Adobe Fireworks for master image manipulation and cropping and added support for opening the Wallpaper Manager via API (Android Intent) and deep linking into NOOK Shop via API (Android Intent) for cross-promotion. By the end of the weekend I had built 3 live wallpapers. Here is what they look like:

Yes, Beaches, Cupcakes, Paris!🙂

I setup my account and entered in all my banking info, and added all 3 apps for meta-data approval. Working with my wife Linda we decided to brand everything Abbey’s Wallpaper given the demographic and marketing fit. When the apps were approved I uploaded the final APKS, final icons, and screenshots and waited til the apps were approved and published. Once published to Shop we began to get some eye turning reports…

  1. June 17 – Fri – $412  – Interesting..
  2. June 18 – Sat – $722  – Almost double day 1. All right!
  3. June 19 – Sun – $746  – WOW Wait is this a mistake?

After the first weekend of sales we were break even on costs of 30 licensed images and selling the collections at $0.99 each was doing very well with end users.

June Sales:

July Sales:

August Sales:

Today total revenue sits at $19,630.43 against costs of $6800 plus 40+ hours of my time, for a profit of $12,830.

I never anticipated that on weekends I would find myself packaging Live Wallaper nor did I ever expect to see a market for wallpaper exist on NOOK. I had doubt that I would break even and the results today seem amazing to me given I work for Barnes & Noble on the NOOK Apps team. In doing research against my success, apps and games are yielding 10x results to what I have been seeing with wallpapers. The customers attached to NOOK Color have no hesitation to purchase interactive content, they are the same customers that have been purchasing content from Barnes & Noble for years and as they say… habits die hard. Given that apps tend to do far better overall, I am refocused on providing apps and games onto NOOK Apps but will continue to push in wallpapers via automation from time to time. Obviously one can dismiss this as a small success but the proof is that there is a real market of consumers attached to NOOK Color and they do not hesitate to purchase digital content. Even things as simple as wallpapers sell well provided the content is of quality. All told with about 40 hours of weekend work, it has yielded a small side business for me and my family and I have learned a ton about the market attached to NOOK.

To get started building apps for NOOK Apps… Visit NOOKDEVELOPER.COM



6 thoughts on “Live Wallpaper?

  1. Scott Janousek

    Ted, $12k – expenses – “Uncle Sam” = pure profit. If I might ask, what model are you using for this side business? Also, this $12k is AFTER the split, correct? Finally, were your wallpapers “featured” at all during this time span (i.e. given presence over other content for discoverability), or are there simply not a lot of wallpapers for NOOK? Thanks for any and/or all questions answered. -sj

  2. Ted Patrick Post author

    Scott, Profit should be 60% of $12K. I am handling this as personal income using my SSN. Nothing has been featured to date, I am working on that with B&N marketing now. Key is getting on the NOOK App facebook page, 450K users there. My wallpapers were some of the first on NOOK Apps but now there are 30+ other apps doing wallpaper.

    Hope this helps.


  3. Chuck Freedman

    Ted, congrats on the incredible adoption and revenue of your app. It’s great that you can demonstrate, benefitting first hand, the success of your platform to tne community. It would be interesting to know how much Nook users spend on apps in general. And if data is available, how that amount compares to other device owners. I bet it would compare very well based on your experience.

    1. Ted Patrick Post author

      As a public company we are prohibited from sharing values that can be reversed to revenue. That said the customers behind NOOK are used to paying for content in that they are B&N customers. These are the same customers that pay $25 for a hardback and a coffee in store but they are now attached to a digital device that provides access to more than books. The consumers do not hesitate to purchase digital content and are highly a-technical in that most often NOOK Apps is their first “App” experience. We have even seen some research showing that a majority still uses feature phones and they view this as their first real device/reader. It is an interesting demographic to say the least.

      Hope this helps,


    1. Ted Patrick Post author


      I cannot agree more. We are working very hard to remove the limitations on International developers. The key to the issue is:

      1. Tax collection with non-us governments
      2. Payment to a non-us bank account

      We are working to resolve both issues quickly. I will keep you posted when we make progress on this important issue. We do want International developers on NOOK Apps and we will get there soon.




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