Eight Years of BookStack

As we veer towards the middle of July we hit the 8-year mark for the BookStack project. Following the pattern from previous years, we’ll compare the project’s various metrics year-on-year, and provide an update on finances.

Current Financial Stability

I’m coming up to almost two years since leaving my job. I’ve been targeting an overall monthly pre-tax revenue of about £2k per month, or a £24k annual salary. Taking into account my very minimal business costs, that would just about cover my somewhat frugal living costs. I know it’s nowhere near the expected salary of a developer, or what I was previously earning as a lead developer, but that would cover my current needs.

Here’s an update view of my overall monthly income, broken down into the main revenue streams for BookStack:

Monthly revenue breakdown, showing increased revenue for 2023 with support services contributing a more significant portion

As you may notice, 2023 has been fairly healthy so far, with an average monthly revenue of just over £2k. The support service revenue appears much more established. This is due to now getting renewing subscriptions from last year, in addition to new support subscriptions. Upon that, I’ve provided a couple of one-off (upgrade assistance) tasks via the support service which has helped the figures here. Ko-fi as a donation avenue has grown relative to GitHub sponsors, with a few extra generous >£100 donations coming though that channel, in addition to many smaller & reoccurring donations.

A massive thanks again to all those donating or using our support services. You have helped me get to the point of sustaining myself while working on BookStack and open source, in a way that has no negative impact to the project’s integrity and openness, and I’m amazed at that being possible. With the way things are going I can start to recover some of my previous loss of savings, and gain a buffer in my monthly finances.

BookStack, In Numbers

Following our yearly tradition, we’ll again dive into the numbers to see how BookStack has grown over the past year.

The below figures were collected at the time of writing (12th July 2023), with changes in red/green reflecting change upon last year’s numbers.

GitHub Figures

Code Repository Stats


Website Analytics

Main bookstackapp.com site only, Averaged over last 90 days:

  • 1,230 unique users per day +153
  • 3,205 page views per day +446
  • Operating system breakdown:
  • 55% Windows +3%
  • 18% Mac -1%
  • 10% Android -1%
  • 10% Linux
  • 7% iOS/iPadOS -1%

Our full website analytics can be found here.

CrowdIn (Project Translations) Numbers

  • 42 languages +3
  • 7,172 words to translate +961
  • 289 project members +83

Thoughts on the Numbers

There’s nothing too surprising in these numbers. While there’s a general trend of growth, the changes have been pretty level (or sometimes lesser) relative to last year’s growth, reflecting some de-acceleration in social and activity numbers. This makes sense since I haven’t really done any extra outbound marketing in the last year, whereas the year before we got a significant boost from reaching the top of hacker news.

Mastodon is newly added for these numbers, having only set up an account earlier this year. Good to see the numbers there chasing those we have on Twitter, with Mastodon being a smaller platform but one likely having a more relevant audience for an open source project like ours.

The YouTube channel has has some good accelerating growth, which reflects the effort I’m putting into producing consistent video content. Since we spilled over 1k subscribers, the channel gained the ability to monetize video, so I’m now super rich on the £60 earnt from YouTube!

Reddit & Project Reach

Something on my mind is how changes in the online social landscape, particular on Reddit, may impact the project. The community on Reddit has been a big part of BookStack’s growth, with much of the discovery and word-of-mouth being via kind and enthusiastic Redditors in various communities such as /r/selfhosted, /r/homelab & /r/sysadmin. It’s been an easy place to monitor and be involved with where required.

I’ve always hardly touched on marketing, preferring natural growth, but there is a balance to reaching new audiences to grow users, and those that can help fund/contribute to the platform, as we may also lose existing users naturally over time. I generally have always had a steadily growing velocity which works well for managing the project and keeping growth sustained & steady, but I do consider how external changes may impact that.

Change is inevitable though, I’ll just have to watch the landscape evolve and think how we adapt focus to suit.

I have had a question about why we still exist on Reddit, and why we’re not on alternatives. While I don’t care nor respect the changes Reddit is making, my focus is on helping users. I am still getting an active stream of users on the /r/bookstack subreddit requesting support, so I will still serve those users. In regards to other platforms, I prefer to move slowly on these things since each extra platform to be on has a cost, so I’m stepping back and keeping an eye on how the alternative landscape establishes itself. We are on Mastodon so you can usually connect with us, or watch for updates, via the connected federated world.

Further Reading

Here are the non-release/update posts that you may have missed over the last year:

Header Image Credits:   Photo by martin bennie on Unsplash