Sublime Forum

Sustainable business model?


Hi there!

Maybe this is an entirely dumb question but – how’s business?

I’ve paid for two licenses so far (Sublime 2 and Sublime 3) and I’ve made sure my employers have done the same on the few instances where I’ve had to ask for it – don’t regret it for a second. However, this is literally years of value out of this magnificent piece of software, for all but a couple of hundred bucks. The number of times Sublime has saved my bacon by keeping text buffers persistent while my machine unexpectedly crashes or for some other reason decides to restart is enough to warrant the price of admission many times over.

What I’m saying is, it seem to me that charging $80 for something including in-between updates seems, I don’t know, cheap. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I want to throw (at least a little) money your way. However, I can’t quite justify buying more licenses (bean counters gets annoyed with that.) Have you considered subscription models or forcing new license purchases by forcing yearly releases or something? Maybe support contracts?

I don’t know. I just know I need Sublime to work, and continue working. Maybe your business is super sound and you know, in that case, just carry on I guess. Just throwing some thoughts out there.


Package Control Outage

Well that’s a first, a user requesting a price increase. :astonished:

I too think Sublime Text is incredible value for money.

The price is almost certainly aimed at increased sales. Better to sell 50,000 licenses at $80 (netting $4 million), than 10,000 licenses at $160 (netting $1.6 million). There are 22,300 registered users of this forum, so 50,000 licenses does not seem like an unrealistic guesstimate. Of course it could be that a high percentage of license holders have a forum user account. I dare say Sublime HQ would want to keep the number of license holders confidential, in their place I certainly would.

Looking at my records I see that I paid $70 in March 2014 for my license. Adjusting for US dollar inflation (since that’s what we pay in) means that $70 in 2014 is worth $72.38 in 2017’s money while the current license price is actually $80. So you may be pleased to learn that the cost of a Sublime Text license has risen during the last 3.5 years well above the rate of inflation. In fact it has risen in cost by 14.3% while the US dollar has had just 3.4% inflation over the last 3 years. Even at that rate of cost increase it will take until 2023 before a Sublime Text license hits $100 - which I would still consider a bargain at twice the price.



Hah, yeah I suppose it’s unusual. :see_no_evil:

I just care deeply about this piece of software because I use it every day, and make money doing so. I absolutely could find alternative tools to use should ST no longer be maintained or available, should push come to shove, but I don’t want to. It does all I need it to do, and does it exceptionally well, consistently across the operating systems I use. I don’t know, I guess I just feel that with the amount of value I get out of this piece of software, the price of admission seems almost too good to be true.

Someone on HN suggested I order licenses to a local school or something like that if I want to support ST but can’t justify repeat purchases just to throw money their way. That’s a good idea – if I can get my accountant to sign off on that I think I might just do that.

Thanks for your insightful reply @mattst!

1 Like


I’m sure part of it can be attributed to the size of the Sublime Text team. Since it is small team, the overhead is probably low, and $80 is probably still very profitable. I have no idea, but that is my guess.

I know a number of people on my team who use a $300 editor. I would never have shelled out that kind of money for my personal editor, so I am glad that Sublime has kept the price low for personal use. I guess its okay when the company is paying, but not so much for me for personal use. I use Sublime both at work and home.

I personally would prefer it not to go to a subscription model (I hate subscription models for software, not services). I’m really tired of software going in this direction where I am now renting the software from them. I will upgrade when/if I feel necessary and/or can afford to. Subscription may kill my loyalty to Sublime.



Anything that is BIO and ECO, is being considered to be sustainable.



I’m about to buy my first Sublime Text and Merge, after checking the free version for a little bit, and I would like to join what others have expressed here. Sublime is an exceptional piece of software that I would like to see flourishing.

It is important for me it will stay in business. I can’t imagine what I will want, now that I’m about to start using it, after-all it is already feature rich and a blessing usability wise. But I’m sure I will think of something.

I don’t need to know financial details but will be happy to hear from @sublime that the business model is sustainable or tell us about their roadmap for sustainability (I will be willing to be the first to pay more).




We’ve been around since 2008 and have semi-recently launched a 2nd product, with a small number of full time employees and are in it for the long haul. Whether you consider that sustainable is up to you.



That’s what I needed and great to hear. I purchased both products.