Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser: Logos versus Kindle

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Stephen Ekeroth | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Dec 30 2018 5:50 PM

I just finished reading "Insurgence" by Frank Viola and he made several references to Michael Heiser's "Unseen Realm..." It piqued my interest, so knowing that it was a Lexham Press book, I looked it up on Logos and it was $24.95. Amazon has it on the Kindle for $2.99. With books from other publishers, I can understand the price discrepancy, but this leaves me baffled and irritated. Can anyone explain this to me?

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PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 6:05 PM

See [OT] Lexham Press: Why cheaper on Kindle??

My top three Logos 9 Wishlist items: Carta, Dark mode, and Hebrew audio bible, please.

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Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 7:31 PM

Just having instant access to the 1350 bible verses identified in the scriputure index as you are reading the book makes getting the Logos version a no-brainer.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 7:40 PM

Robert Neely:

Just having instant access to the 1350 bible verses identified in the scriputure index as you are reading the book makes getting the Logos version a no-brainer.

Not being difficult, Robert, but only it you think Mr Heiser got it right. Else, you're out $27.50 (which would be my situation).

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 8:17 PM

Denise:

Robert Neely:

Just having instant access to the 1350 bible verses identified in the scriputure index as you are reading the book makes getting the Logos version a no-brainer.

Not being difficult, Robert, but only it you think Mr Heiser got it right. Else, you're out $27.50 (which would be my situation).

Well, I guess that is the chance we take on just about any academic work in this area.  At least for Stephen, Faithlife will allow him to make that calculation within 30 days with no monetary risk.

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 9:30 PM

Robert Neely:

Just having instant access to the 1350 bible verses identified in the scriputure index as you are reading the book makes getting the Logos version a no-brainer.

The Associate Pastor at our church handed me a hard copy while turning to apologize to my wife. (He knew she was on a campaign to reduce my extensive paper library.)  He was interested since Dr. Heiser had been his Hebrew professor and the pastor was well aware of Heiser's views.

It took me about a month to purchase the Logos edition.  There is one page at the front of the book which is filled with references to substantiate his claims.  I made my Logos purchase just so I could work through those Biblical citations in one sitting.

Of course, now, the Logos mobile app on my iPhone would have allowed me to scan that page full of reference with one quick photo.  But that has only been available recently.

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 9:35 PM

Robert Neely:

Denise:

Robert Neely:

Just having instant access to the 1350 bible verses identified in the scriputure index as you are reading the book makes getting the Logos version a no-brainer.

Not being difficult, Robert, but only it you think Mr Heiser got it right. Else, you're out $27.50 (which would be my situation).

Well, I guess that is the chance we take on just about any academic work in this area.  At least for Stephen, Faithlife will allow him to make that calculation within 30 days with no monetary risk.

I had to spend quite a bit of time with the book and hold a lot of material in abeyance while I pondered.  30 days may not be enough time.  Some of it has to "sink in".

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Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 30 2018 10:31 PM

David A Egolf:

Robert Neely:

Denise:

Robert Neely:

Just having instant access to the 1350 bible verses identified in the scriputure index as you are reading the book makes getting the Logos version a no-brainer.

Not being difficult, Robert, but only it you think Mr Heiser got it right. Else, you're out $27.50 (which would be my situation).

Well, I guess that is the chance we take on just about any academic work in this area.  At least for Stephen, Faithlife will allow him to make that calculation within 30 days with no monetary risk.

I had to spend quite a bit of time with the book and hold a lot of material in abeyance while I pondered.  30 days may not be enough time.  Some of it has to "sink in".

David, I agree that it does take a while to sink in.  Dr. Heiser does a great job of synthesizing the material to make it more accessible to everyone though.  He also has some videos on his website at drmsh.com that you really need to review before digging in.

The book is spoken of favorably by Tremper Longman, Jon Goldingay and Darrell Bock here and you can google plenty of other reviews to help you decide if it is worth your time and $27.50 (was $27.05 for me with Texas sales tax).

Personally, for me, it has connected quite of few dots and brought many things into focus regarding the "weird parts" of the Bible.

Happy studying!! 

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 1:35 AM

I'm not so sure whether the Kindle price was set by Lexham Press, or Amazon forced them into such low price. It certainly seems underpriced considering all the research and effort that has gone into this work.

Amazon generally tries to get customers to buy stuff on their own platform with all possible means, including selling products under price.

And here's an excerpt from Amazon's publisher terms:

"To the extent not prohibited by applicable laws, we have sole and complete discretion to set the retail customer price at which your Books are sold through the Program."

To me that seems just another case of substantive unconscionability.

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Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 3:44 AM

Wow, that is amazing that Amazon insists on that much control.

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Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 3:58 AM

Robert Neely:

Wow, that is amazing that Amazon insists on that much control.

One of the greatest bullies in Silicon Valley. (See the link in my signature...)

I'm frequently disappointed about Logos pricing, but I must say, I'm much happier spending $25 with Logos than spending $3 with Amazon, as these $25 will mostly go into the pockets of happy employees, compared to the $3 going mostly into the pocket of a stingy billionaire. Of course not everyone can afford doing that, so I'm not condemning anyone who buys from Amazon.

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Why Amazon sucks: Full background story of my legal dispute with the online giant

Posts 12
Stephen Ekeroth | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 5:11 AM

Jan Krohn:
I'm frequently disappointed about Logos pricing, but I must say, I'm much happier spending $25 with Logos than spending $3 with Amazon, as these $25 will mostly go into the pockets of happy employees, compared to the $3 going mostly into the pocket of a stingy billionaire. Of course not everyone can afford doing that, so I'm not condemning anyone who buys from Amazon.

Thank you for not condemning anyone who buys from Amazon because sometimes price does matter. I am aware of the pressures that Amazon can bring to the marketplace that are in some way similar to what Walmart does smaller retailers, but unless laws are changed or there is antitrust litigation, it is the present reality.

While I recognize the value that Logos brings with indexing and other features, at times I've been quite happy to read the free or low priced Faith Life e-books (Vyrso) without links or page numbers. There have also been times when I originally bought an inexpensive version of a book (i.e. Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology) and later purchased the Logos version.

Perhaps in order to compete with Amazon, Logos should consider multiple editions of a book at different price points. Surely it must be easy to strip out the indexing.

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 6:36 AM

David A Egolf:
There is one page at the front of the book which is filled with references to substantiate his claims.

Not to side-track the discussion, but the issue is not so much whether Heiser can point to verses that he thinks support his claims, but plausibility of his interpretations and the coherence of his view(s) generally. 

Frankly, his discussion on Foreknowledge/Free Will, an area I know some about, was ridiculous and made me lose faith in his ability to correctly guide me through areas I'm less knowledgeable in. (e.g., He failed to draw some basic conceptual distinctions that are normal in this field and that would have prevented him from some confusions/mistakes.) Other parts of his book didn't strike me as being that groundbreaking, but were being sold as such... but maybe that's just due to my personal experience?

(I should add that I don't think Heiser is off in his broad outline, maybe just some specifics, and I'm still glad to have the book in my Logos library.)

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 7:31 AM

Stephen Ekeroth:
Surely it must be easy to strip out the indexing.

Being pedantic - it's not an indexing issue but a tagging one

Indexing of resources is required within the Logos environment for us to be able to search them

Tagging gives added value such as ensuring that cross-reference links work, setting of milestones, etc

Posts 569
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 7:49 AM

Graham Criddle:

Being pedantic - it's not an indexing issue but a tagging one

Indexing of resources is required within the Logos environment for us to be able to search them

Tagging gives added value such as ensuring that cross-reference links work, setting of milestones, etc

We know that at least some of the tagging (Bible tagging) is automated by some sort of algorithm. It's not as though Faithlife is assigning some employee to magically, instantaneously, manually tag all the Bible references in our personal books. 

There is no reason, in principle, that non-Bible resource tagging couldn't also be handled by an algorithm in the future. In fact, I would be surprised if they aren't already working on this, if not doing some it right now. 

Theoretically, the actual man-hours of work it takes to tag resources should be minimal... if only in the future. Of course there is quality control, server maintenance, etc. But if nothing else, one does wonder why we don't see the price of resources drop over time after the initial, heavy overhead costs of tagging have been covered. Once the cost of paying Jimmy to tag AYBD has been covered, it's all profit from that point forward. He doesn't have to retag the resource each year.

In some other digital mediums, we see high prices for new releases that then drop over time for the reasons mentioned.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 7:58 AM

J. Remington Bowling:

David A Egolf:
There is one page at the front of the book which is filled with references to substantiate his claims.

Not to side-track the discussion, but the issue is not so much whether Heiser can point to verses that he thinks support his claims, but plausibility of his interpretations and the coherence of his view(s) generally. 

Frankly, his discussion on Foreknowledge/Free Will, an area I know some about, was ridiculous and made me lose faith in his ability to correctly guide me through areas I'm less knowledgeable in. (e.g., He failed to draw some basic conceptual distinctions that are normal in this field and that would have prevented him from some confusions/mistakes.) Other parts of his book didn't strike me as being that groundbreaking, but were being sold as such... but maybe that's just due to my personal experience?

(I should add that I don't think Heiser is off in his broad outline, maybe just some specifics, and I'm still glad to have the book in my Logos library.)

J, I was completely confident surviving the whole year, pretty much occupying the opposite 'side' (ok, maybe there was that 'once').

But your post here nailed it. Each sentence. I also have the book ... the $3 version. There's much better choices on the subject, though I suppose pointing out real verses in the Bible may well have immenent value to some.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:00 AM

J. Remington Bowling:
But if nothing else, one does wonder why we don't see the price of resources drop over time after the initial, heavy overhead costs of tagging have been covered. Once the cost of paying Jimmy to tag AYBD has been covered, it's all profit from that point forward. He doesn't have to retag the resource each year.

Of course this speaks to the overall business model of Faithlife of which only those who are "in the know" know. I certainly am not one of those but, if something is worth more because it is better than something else, why would the price necessarily change in the future? If it was worth more in the past, to me it would make sense that it would be worth more in the future unless something changes. Sure if would be nice to have lower prices on everything but that again speaks to the business model of Faithlife. If they continue to maintain a strong business we all benefit.

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J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:04 AM

Denise:
J, I was completely confident surviving the whole year, pretty much occupying the opposite 'side' (ok, maybe there was that 'once').

I've found my New Year's resolution then Stick out tongue

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Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:06 AM

Stephen Ekeroth:

Jan Krohn:
I'm frequently disappointed about Logos pricing, but I must say, I'm much happier spending $25 with Logos than spending $3 with Amazon, as these $25 will mostly go into the pockets of happy employees, compared to the $3 going mostly into the pocket of a stingy billionaire. Of course not everyone can afford doing that, so I'm not condemning anyone who buys from Amazon.

Perhaps in order to compete with Amazon, Logos should consider multiple editions of a book at different price points. Surely it must be easy to strip out the indexing.

I doubt Faithlife would offer different versions, but I'd certainly like to see them making books that don't make it out of pre-pub being made available in Faithlife eBooks. Even better I'd like pre-pub books being made available as soon as they are listed without the Logos tagging, as I assume Faithlife receive a digital copy of the book from the publisher, and then if the book makes it out of pre-pub we could receive an update with the tagging. This way we'd be able to receive the book quicker and not be tempted to buy elsewhere. Plus Faithlife benefit by getting money earlier and not just promises to buy. I'd say that's a win, win for Faithlife and their customers.

Posts 569
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 31 2018 8:14 AM

Bruce Dunning:
Of course this speaks to the overall business model of Faithlife of which only those who are "in the know" know. I certainly am not one of those but, if something is worth more because it is better than something else, why would the price necessarily change in the future? If it was worth more in the past, to me it would make sense that it would be worth more in the future unless something changes. Sure if would be nice to have lower prices on everything but that again speaks to the business model of Faithlife. If they continue to maintain a strong business we all benefit.

Not to get into a dispute over certain economic theories, but there is no fact-of-the-matter about something being "worth more" when it comes to this sort of thing. There is only what people are willing to pay for it. And I suspect this is the real reason we don't see any permanent price drop over time. (Assuming we don't, I haven't really tracked anything.)

I wasn't trying to suggest that Faithlife *should* drop their prices once the cost of the initial tagging has been covered. I was only pointing out that the "but they have to go through each resource and tag it!" excuse isn't very convincing, at least not after the product has been tagged for the last 5 years. They can shift to other excuses: server maintenance, quality control, future innovations in tagging etc. There are other reasons why prices for digital items don't drop and some of those would explain why a digital book wouldn't drop in price as fast as a digital game, but that's beside my point.

Strong business needs more than strong prices, they need competition (from the consumer's point of view). Right now Faithlife doesn't have much by way of direct competition. If Amazon ever decides to start tagging Kindle resources Faithlife would be in serious trouble. 

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