A new type of pre-pub - it isn't in print yet!

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 4:47 AM

I thought I would do some analysis to try and understand when different titles are actually scheduled to be released. (I know it is on the EEC site but I wanted to break it down into years of release.

I include it below - hope it is useful to someone.

Schedule of releases where the date is known

# of volumes per year (where known)


Volumes where ship date is TBA (not included in graph above)

Graham

Posts 165
Wayne | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 5:15 AM

It would be good to see sample pages of some of the early commentaries. The press release talks about being released from the constraints of print. It would be helpful if significant portions of the Psalms and Epistles of John commentaries scheduled for 2011 be released for preview.  It would be interesting not just to see the introduction sections, but the exegetical portion of the commentary. A suggestion is to give a sample of 4-5 chapters in the Psalms with varying styles and chapter one of 1 John.

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 5:58 AM

This set is a payment plan in reverse:  We pay up front and hope to get the volumes over the next decade! Hmm

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 6:12 AM

Wayne:

It would be good to see sample pages of some of the early commentaries. The press release talks about being released from the constraints of print. It would be helpful if significant portions of the Psalms and Epistles of John commentaries scheduled for 2011 be released for preview.  It would be interesting not just to see the introduction sections, but the exegetical portion of the commentary. A suggestion is to give a sample of 4-5 chapters in the Psalms with varying styles and chapter one of 1 John.

Wayne,

That would go a long way to answering questions and reservations, and would doubtless increase the pre-purchase.

Truth Is Still Truth Even if You Don't Believe It

Check the Wiki

Warning: Sarcasm is my love language. I may inadvertently express my love to you.

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Andrew Hughes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 6:21 AM

I too pre-ordered after reading the promotional materials... I almost feel silly having pre-ordered now, after having read this thread. I guess I hadn't really thought through all the things that could making paying up front such a poor idea. Thanks for the thoughtful comments. 

Alain does make a good point; in some ways it feels like we would be lending Logos the money to aid in funding the creation of the series. I don't think there is anything wrong with that in principle, but as has been pointed out, if we are going to co-invest than we need to know a little more about the product and planned content. The kind of information Wayne is suggesting would be helpful.

 

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 7:43 AM

I am sorry I just can't seeing paying that much money up front for a set that won't be out by AT LEAST 2019. Quite a few volumes are TBA, and of course things slip.  When will it all be out - 2021? 2025?

What will the set cost later, when done in 202x - $1500? If it's 2022,  put the money somewhere at 6.5% (stocks and bonds are way beyond that over a 10+ year cycle), and then you have the luxury of paying with future money and seeing ifs the collection is good.

That money won't do anything of value for me for a very long time. It just sounds like early purchasers are funding the project .

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 7:47 AM

Alain Maashe:
Logos is asking a lot faith from its customers and providing little when it comes to guarantees.

You mean they are stating little when it comes to guarantees. Logos has always been excellent in the customer service department, especially in handling customer complaints, requests for refunds, etc.

But there are significant questions that do remain unanswered (which you also raise), and Logos is asking us to take a substantial risk in buying this set. I understand Logos is also taking a risk in publishing it, and moving ahead before having the pre-pub financial requirements fully met. Yet, as a publisher, that's the nature of the business.

Instead of withdrawing my pre-pub purchase, I'm going to keep it there (at least for now), and ask Logos to provide some up-front risk alleviation. First, while $700 is a bargain for a commentary of this size and (probably quality), early adopters may need a bit more incentive to manage this investment. How about a "6 months same as cash" plan for those who jump in before the pre-pub goes 'gold?'

Second, offer a full refund for those who are disappointed after the first 3 or 4 volumes are released (wouldn't want to judge the whole series based on one volume).

Third, offer an option for paying for these volumes as they are released (make it a separate pre-pub for the same works). I would assume that this would bump the amount significantly, as the series likely needs an inflow of cash now, not after the work is done. Then, those who would want to bow out, could do so perhaps more easily (keeping what they've purchased so far). I would imagine it would look something like this  But something structured along these lines could help folks manage the risk, and balance it with financial incentives. Something like $50/volume for the 1st 22 volumes (with the remaining volumes coming free/included), paying $25/volume for all volumes planned to be released in the coming year (after the first is released), with the understanding that some delays are likely from time to time), to be paid on the first of the year.

Fourth, if Logos is looking for investors in the project, they may simply want to ask. There may be some who believe enough in the project to fork out some capital for it, provided there would be some return on the investment as well. This seems like another reasonable way to move this project forward, should the current pre-pub plan not meet expectations.

 

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 9:49 AM

I was involved in Christian publishing for over 20 years, going back to 1971. I have seen many commentary dates pushed back considerably over the years.

All kinds of things can and will happen unexpectedly before this 44 volume set is completed.

I don't doubt Logos' intentions of doing what it says.

People must realize that there are many factors beyond their control in publishing a set like this.

I think established Logos users would like to hear from Bob on this. I'm sure that he has thought this through thoroughly and can do much to address our concerns.

Posts 446
Jonathan Sine | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 9:55 AM

Edwin Bowden:
I'm sure that he has thought this through thoroughly and can do much to address our concerns.

Edwin,

I believe your right. They must have anticipated these very discussions. And they likely have a prepared response...

Jonathan Sine

Pastor - Squamish Baptist Church

2 Cor. 4.6

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 10:07 AM

 

Richard DeRuiter:
You mean they are stating little when it comes to guarantees. Logos has always been excellent in the customer service department, especially in handling customer complaints, requests for refunds, etc.
Yes  I trust Logos completely, and I believe 100% they would take care of any problems that may arise along the way.  
Edwin Bowden:
I think established Logos users would like to hear from Bob on this. I'm sure that he has thought this through thoroughly and can do much to address our concerns.

Thank you Edwin for voicing your assurance.  I agree and honestly I expect we won't have to wait long for a response to the questions raised.

Truth Is Still Truth Even if You Don't Believe It

Check the Wiki

Warning: Sarcasm is my love language. I may inadvertently express my love to you.

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Andrew Hughes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 10:14 AM

Thomas Black:

 

Richard DeRuiter:
You mean they are stating little when it comes to guarantees. Logos has always been excellent in the customer service department, especially in handling customer complaints, requests for refunds, etc.
Yes  I trust Logos completely, and I believe 100% they would take care of any problems that may arise along the way.  
Edwin Bowden:
I think established Logos users would like to hear from Bob on this. I'm sure that he has thought this through thoroughly and can do much to address our concerns.

Thank you Edwin for voicing your assurance.  I agree and honestly I expect we won't have to wait long for a response to the questions raised.

While I think any customer who has any significant experience with Logos would agree (as I certainly do).. it's surprising that Logos with their experience with their customers would not have anticipated at least some of this and sought to address it in their announcements. Especially if they have "prepared responses". 

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 11:50 AM

Andrew Hughes:
While I think any customer who has any significant experience with Logos would agree (as I certainly do).. it's surprising that Logos with their experience with their customers would not have anticipated at least some of this and sought to address it in their announcements. Especially if they have "prepared responses". 

I can quite imagine that Logos does not have a prepared response. So far all their discussion has likely been internal and  from a publishing perspective, and up till this point the pre-pub model has served to help them to pre-market their materials in a way that a large customer base understands. But they may not have fully appreciated all the questions that we have raised as potential customers. We're not used to taking the kinds of risks they take on a daily basis.

But I do think we'll see Logos respond to us, probably after consultation with the EEC committee, or representatives thereof (although I would expect some sort of preliminary response, if they do need to consult with the EEC before making any changes to the program). We've thrown quite a bit of commentary at them, and they'll want to respond in a responsible and careful way. I wouldn't doubt that they're discussing their response over espresso right now.

Another perspective on this:

I hinted above at another way for us pre-pub customers to look at this particular project: we have the opportunity to help fund a major, ground-breaking commentary project, done by world-class, evangelical scholars that has the potential to serve the Church for decades to come. In part, this is why I made the pre-order and why I'm letting my pre-order stand. It looks like a worthy project to support. And while my $700 won't be the deal-breaker on whether or not the project moves forward, it'll play a part, along with a lot of other parts, in doing something potentially great. In other words, I'm not making the risk/reward analysis merely on the basis of what may benefit me, but on what will probably benefit my Savior's bride.

Yet, even the above motivation makes me want to know more. Give me some sample pages. Point me to some formatting/framework parameters the commentaries will follow. Show me an example of the exegesis in one of the soon-to-be released volumes. Give me an introduction to one of the volumes. Let me "overhear" an internal discussion regarding the JEDP debate, the historical reliability of Genesis 1-11, the veracity of the "Q" theory (regarding the writing of the Gospels), or some other hotly debated issue that tends to put evangelicalism vis a vis theological liberalism and/or extreme fundamentalism. In other words, show me how this series will be faithful to the concepts of being an exegetical commentary and an evangelical commentary.

At least that's how I'm looking at it today.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 12:07 PM

 

Richard DeRuiter:
I wouldn't doubt that they're discussing their response over espresso right now.

Nah, Bold and Black Americano is the only suitable beverage for discussing this kind of response.    Espresso is generally reserved for jovial greetings not power matches.

On the serious side, I agree Richard with your reasoning.  My issue is not the worthiness of the material, but the capacity of my budget.  I'm working out how to make it work.  And I'm silently hopeful for a payment plan.

Truth Is Still Truth Even if You Don't Believe It

Check the Wiki

Warning: Sarcasm is my love language. I may inadvertently express my love to you.

Posts 1355
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 12:42 PM

Thomas Black:

My issue is not the worthiness of the material, but the capacity of my budget.  I'm working out how to make it work.  And I'm silently hopeful for a payment plan.

If the volumes are released on schedule, at the end of 2 years, those 7 volumes have cost you $100 each.

Yes. If we are financing the development of the series, we need some financing of the payment.

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Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 12:52 PM

Richard DeRuiter:

Yet, even the above motivation makes me want to know more. Give me some sample pages. Point me to some formatting/framework parameters the commentaries will follow. Show me an example of the exegesis in one of the soon-to-be released volumes. Give me an introduction to one of the volumes. Let me "overhear" an internal discussion regarding the JEDP debate, the historical reliability of Genesis 1-11, the veracity of the "Q" theory (regarding the writing of the Gospels), or some other hotly debated issue that tends to put evangelicalism vis a vis theological liberalism and/or extreme fundamentalism. In other words, show me how this series will be faithful to the concepts of being an exegetical commentary and an evangelical commentary.

At least that's how I'm looking at it today.

As a publishers' rep to bookstores for several years. I remember some of the frustration of trying to sell books and Bibles to store buyers with very little actual detailed info on their content. I often had a table of contents and what the book hoped to do. Often, I was selling a book that had not yet been finalized. When I asked a rep for a large academic publisher how he sold 300 new titles per season, he responded, "By gosh and by golly."

My wife was a book buyer for a major bookstore. I remember her complaining about a particular title that she thought did not resemble what she thought she was buying from the rep. I explained to her that the book was probably not finalized when it was presented to the rep.

Logos has a great track record of publishing digitally titles that have a proven track record from their print success.

This is a whole new ballgame. I commend for Logos for stepping up to the plate for what appears will be an excellent series. It will require a whole different approach in presenting it to Logos customers than Logos has previously used.

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 1:58 PM

I would like the "why" question clearly answered, why do we need a new commentary set? What will it add to what is already available and why will it add value?

I think that "new" is seriously overvalued, in itself it is actually bad rather than good to have soemthing new unless it is clear why it is improving on what is available, this project smacks of marketing rather than adding theological value. 

 

 

 

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Dan Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 2:05 PM

These are exciting times we live in!

Think about how incredible it is that this discussion is even taking place, and think of all the reasons why. What we are doing here has never been done before. Let that sink in for a second. "What we are doing here has never been done before." There's a lot of uncharted territory in the "never" category.

Yes, it really is a bold plan.

It is so bold, that no one in the traditional print publishing industry thought it could be done. I know what some of you are thinking... "The people reading this thread right now think it can't be done too!"  

Stick out tongue

For all intents and purposes, a project of this scope was thought to be a thing of the past, but we were not content to sit by and watch it die. Major new commentary series should be written. Scholars shouldn't have their full knowledge of a subject limited to 500 words. Big projects should not be abandoned because they are too hard to do, or aren't guaranteed to make tons of money.

We are risk-takers.

We are trying to be as wise as possible, but we are risk-takers nonetheless, and the freedom that brings is fantastic! How liberating and exciting it is to keep doing the impossible and seeing the results help people get closer to God and bring Him glory through the study of His Word!

At Logos, we are all about the Bible and better access to it. We continually look for new and innovative ways to promote better Bible study and Bible knowledge. We don't stress out when trying bold new things, taking risks with prudence, and leading the way into uncharted waters. It is where we thrive, where we are exhilarated, and what gets us passionate about coming to work together on this incredible mission every day.

We believe that Bible study should be at the heart of the Christian life. It's our privilege to equip pastors, students, missionaries, teachers, and the church at large with tools that make Bible study easier and more accessible. We are completely committed to this mission, and no matter what else may come along, this mission will be our focus and our foundation.

You may have noticed that we are always pushing forward. It sometimes feels as though we have a million projects all going at once. We release new titles, projects, and websites on a regular basis. We keep trying new things. We never stand still, and never wait until something "has been denied a chance to be proven" to say "it didn't work".

This is one of those times.

You'll notice that the Pre-Pub page already says "Under Development". The reason for that is not that it has already covered its cost—far from it—the reason is that we are committed to making it happen, and it has actually been "Under Development" already for 5 years.

We have already spent tens upon tens of thousands of dollars in getting this project even to the point it is at now. Keep in mind, that cash was not a stack of "Pre-Pub" orders waiting to be processed someday—we're talking about an actual "stack O' cash" that we have already spent. Any Pre-Pub orders we take are just "reservations", the money we have put into this has already been spent, and much more will need to be spent before it is complete. Rest assured, we are taking a risk and we are putting ourselves out there in a big way on this massive, first-of-a-kind-ever project.

There are no guarantees in this for us, it is a major risk.

With those that are excited to jump in "with both feet" on this thrill-ride we are on, we form a relationship that is based on trust, risk and reward. This new commentary series represents not only the latest scholarship, the best coverage, and the most useable format, but it marks the first time the entire team of biblical scholars working on a commentary series has had the ability to use the latest Logos Bible Software tools and texts to prepare their volumes.

If you are a Logos user, you can imagine how powerful that last statement is. Sure, each scholar has a different level of experience with Logos and some may decide not to use it at all, but some of them are already power-users and others are just now getting their Logos 4 installed as a part of their preparation to begin their research. Would [insert your favorite commentary name here] have been better if all its authors had used Logos in their research?

So back to the risk and reward.

Remember, this is uncharted territory. The commentary is being written right now, but it doesn't yet exist. Obviously until we get further along, we will be unable to post sample pages, prefatory material, an editorial introduction, or anything else from the EEC. Quite simply because none of the volumes exist yet. Several are in the final stages of editing, but none are completely finished yet. Reviews don’t exist either for the same reason. Be assured that the moment this material is available for you to preview, we’ll post it.

The dates posted for each volume are estimated, but we fully expect to hit every date. Remember, the EEC has been in the works for awhile. Many of the volumes are well underway, and some are nearly finished. We’re already aware of many of the issues that arise when publishing a series like this and the time it takes to resolve them—and the estimated ship dates takes that into account.

So yes, there are some unknowns, and full completion of the series is still a few years away.

Internally, we had to decide whether we were going to go public, despite a few unknowns, or wait a few more months until all the details were worked out.

We decided to go public now and lower the Pre-Pub price much further than we planned. For users who are okay with pre-ordering without previews and reviews, we wanted to give them that option. We know that’s not for everyone—but we didn’t want to prevent anyone who might want to do it.

This is where the risk and reward really pays off for you.

As with other Pre-Pubs, the users who order the earliest get the best deal. With this Pre-Pub—with all the unknowns—we knew that this deal had to be really good. The current Pre-Pub price of $699.95 works out to around $15.91 per volume, which is far less than you’d pay for a similar print commentary.

As we get closer to the ship date, and as each new volume is shipped—as more of the unknowns become “knowns”—the price will go up. This Pre-Pub price takes those uncertainties into account. Those who order earliest and commit to the project despite some of the unknowns get the best price.

If you order now, and lock in the lowest price, and then change your mind later after seeing some previews and reading some reviews, we completely understand. Of course, we don’t think you’ll cancel after you see what’s coming—but you still have that option.

The best way to stay informed is to sign up for the EEC mailing list on the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary website. As soon as previews, reviews, and more are available, we’ll send out updates through the mailing list.

Do we have all the answers? Nope. Will we always take care of our customers? Yup.

So what about payment plans on something so unusual like this? Refunds? Release schedules? Did we think of that? Yes, we have thought a lot about all these issues and more, and instead of waiting for all the answers we decided to move ahead and get this going. We know how to take care of our customers, and I see points all throughout this thread that encourage me to think that our users are starting to be comfortable with that too. The Pre-Pub price is great and it rewards the early birds with very little risk when they can easily hit "cancel" the first moment it strikes their fancy.

Last, but definitely not least.

One last thing that I want to put on the table which some might not be considering. Think of the authors... this project is five years old already. Years ago authors were being recruited, getting excited, kept up to date on all the ups and downs of contract negotiation, publication schedules, and planning their sabbaticals, research teams and more. If you read the brief public history of the project you can imagine what kind of roller-coaster it has been for these scholars who already have so many other things to do in their life.

We are thrilled our authors are on board, and we want the excitement surrounding this project to be contagious. Remember, when it comes to the EEC, we're not talking about books written by people that lived 200 years ago. I know for a fact that some of the authors of this series are actually using our software and actively reading our forums right now. We want to reward these scholars' participation with the excitement, buzz, credibility and confidence that announcing the project and making the website a reality can bring them. I've already seen a few of the authors Tweet or write Facebook comments about their involvement.

Whether you are in or out, whether you plan to get this or not, as Richard noted earlier, this is a chance to get behind a series that can serve the church for years to come. Part of that is helping to get the buzz going and getting the word out, so spread the word!

I'll leave you with this final thought: It was really important to announce the series and post the Pre-Pub because it does take a long time to write a commentary series. We should all want the authors to be encouraged and believe "Hey, alright! This is really going to happen now! Hmm... I better get writing!" 

Big Smile

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 2:14 PM

Mike Pettit:

I would like the "why" question clearly answered, why do we need a new commentary set? What will it add to what is already available and why will it add value?

I think that "new" is seriously overvalued, in itself it is actually bad rather than good to have soemthing new unless it is clear why it is improving on what is available, this project smacks of marketing rather than adding theological value. 

I posted the following on the other thread where EEC is being discussed. Of course it doesn't answer your "why" question specifically about this commentary, but in general it does explain why there is sometimes the need for new commentaries:

Rosie Perera:

I came across this article the other day which has some helpful thoughts on the value of different commentary sets:

Varieties of the Biblical Commentary: A Guide to Form and Function (William B. Badke)

I'm not convinced yet that EEC will offer something so new and different from the combination of all the other sets I have already that it would be a must-have. I've ordered it for now, just to lock the price in, but I will be making a final decision before Volume 1 ships. Hopefully by then there will be some sample pages available, and perhaps some reviewers will have been given a preview peek at entire volumes.

This page will give you more of the "why" of this particular series. It seems there really was a felt need for something new back in 2005 when the series was first begun, not just a marketing ploy.

http://www.evangelicalexegeticalcommentary.com/about/

It might be that in the years since the project got off to a start and then derailed it's been superseded by other commentary sets which do its job equally well; I don't know. In any event, it appears to be attempting to fill a difficult niche: engaging with critical scholarship while maintaining an evangelical viewpoint. Usually you end up with one or the other. I think NICOT/NICNT does a pretty good job of walking the middle ground. But some of its volumes are already probably dated as far as critical scholarship is concerned. Among its 40 volumes, 6 were published in the 1970s, 11 in the 1980s.

Posts 5257
DIsciple II | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 2:28 PM

Dan Pritchett:
These are exciting times we live in!

Dan while we appreciate the initial response and appreciate not all questions can be answered Richard makes a point that Logos really need to go back and look at if they want us as customers to get behind this project with open arms.  There needs to be some sort of 6, 9 or 12 month payment plan on this project for us to seriously consider getting behind it.  We do indeed live in exciting times, the best of times even, but also in another sense the worst of times.

Posts 1355
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 3 2010 2:32 PM

Dan,

Thanks for the detailed response.

Those of us who have been Logos customers for a few years know that Logos does not make an announcement without having given it much preparation and thought.

This certainly is a bold project. Anything that has never been tried before involves risk. While I was in publishing, I remember the excitement where the first information was being shared about the groundwork on some of the major translations and other projects that are available today.  

The history of Logos has proven that you provide the best possible assurance of customer satisfaction.

I'm sure there will be an ongoing discussion as this project develops.

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