Bible software companies should consider UltraViolet model

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This post has 83 Replies | 3 Followers

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 12 2013 11:24 AM
I think that the major Bible software companies should work together with the Christian Publishers to form a consortium similar to what the movie industry has done with UltraViolet (www.uvvu.com).

By doing so, users could pay for the digital content once, yet they would be able to access it on whichever Bible software platforms they choose (Logos, Accordance, OliveTree, WORDSearch, etc.).

For those unfamiliar with UltraViolet, it allows users to store their licenses to digital movies in one central place which can be accessed by a number of different service providers. As an example, if I purchase a Paramount digital movie through Walmart's service (www.vudu.com), not only can I access that movie through Walmart's service, but also the services of other competing providers, such as Target (www.targetticket.com) or Best Buy (www.cinemanow.com). As long as I give a service access to my UltraViolet account by linking to it, it will see which digital content I own licenses to.

The one major difference I see is that, unlike UltraViolet, users would pay a fee to the Bible software companies to access content on their platforms. For example, if I buy a $100 resource on Logos, $75 of that might go to the publisher for a digital license and $25 would go to Logos to access that resource on their platform. If I later wanted to use that same resource on Accordance, I would pay only their platform fee ($25, or whatever they charge) and not the fee to the publisher. There might also be some lower end Bible software platforms that would let me access my content for much less - maybe $5 or so, but without all the benefits that a platform like Logos provides, such as tags, linking, search capabilities, etc. And to make this still attractive for publishers, perhaps they would collect a small royalty from the platform fee (perhaps 10% of it?).

Admittedly, this might look mostly like a good deal for users and not a great deal for the publishers or Bible software companies. However, with the introduction of UltraViolet, I think this is the direction that licensing of digital content may be going (thus what users will eventually expect). Furthermore, I think it might spur more sales if users didn't have to worry about their libraries being captive to one particular Bible software company (what happens if I buy a book from a software company that goes out of business?). Finally, I think that if the Bible software companies can work together on this, it may help them better compete with the digital book platforms offered by huge competitors, such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Barnes & Noble.

I believe this was talked about somewhat a year ago in this thread: http://community.logos.com/forums/t/64118.aspx

Here is the post where I outlined something similar to what I just wrote: http://community.logos.com/forums/thread/451811.aspx

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking. I'm sure there are a ton of issues that would need to be worked out (I think UltraViolet is still working out issues), and it might take a long time and a lot of work to get all the different players on board. However, I would love to see this happen. And as I said earlier, I think this is the direction things could be headed for digital books, and thus I would love to see the Bible software companies get ahead of the curve on it before the major eBook services do.

Thanks.
Posts 3667
BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 11:28 AM

Users want standards, for just the reasons you cite. (So do I.)

But differentiation (competitive edge differences) sell products. (Been there. Done that.)

I'd love to see it happen.

Perhaps in eternity........

Grace & Peace,
Bill


Asus GF63 8RD, I-7 8850H, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 2TB HDD, NVIDIA GTX 1050Max
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Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 11:33 AM

I don't think that will work unless bible software companies agree on tagging, etc.  It is not simply a matter of accessing text.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 11:37 AM

BillS:

Users want standards, for just the reasons you cite. (So do I.)

But differentiation (competitive edge differences) sell products. (Been there. Done that.)

I'd love to see it happen.

Perhaps in eternity........

Actually it already has happened in the last century (STEP format), but got lost in what some might call publisher's greed. 

Running Logos 8 latest beta version on Win 10

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 11:50 AM

To clarify, it would be up to each Bible software company to take the basic text of a book and enhance it however they want. The tagging and software capabilities they provide are what would entice users to pay to use licenses on their platform. The better the platform, the more attractive it would be to users.

It's even possible that there would be a very low cost platform (maybe free to use with any licenses purchased from publishers) that was run by users (sort of like Wikipedia) that provided little more than a browser based version of the text and some tagging done by volunteers. At a later point, a user may decide that they want more advanced features and then pay to use their licenses on a platform like Logos.

And not all Bible software platforms will offer all the books that a user may have licenses to. For example, though I may have licenses to books that I use on Logos, those same books may not be available on Accordance or OliveTree. Therefore, I would most likely stick to Logos because that is the only place I can use those licenses.

Posts 3667
BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 11:55 AM

NB.Mick:
Actually it already has happened in the last century (STEP format), but got lost in what some might call publisher's greed.

Hi NB,

I was thinking of STEP as I wrote. While publisher greed would be an uncharitable way to describe its demise, the truth is that users didn't buy enough of the products who incorporated it to make it a competitively sustainable way to go. Don't mis-hear me. I'd LOVE to have some form of STEP available (not STEP itself, which was too limited in its capability, but the agreement for any standard--perhaps even Logos' internal format as the standard).

The problem is that despite all words of affirmation for standards the marketplace (a euphemism for all of US) doesn't support standards. It supports the "best." That's the competitive advantage that providers have to sell. It isn't just greed... it's us. As Pogo used to say, "We have met the enemy. And he is us."

Before entering ministry I spent 25 years in IS making different systems talk to each other. I understand standards & the need for them. But until the marketplace (us) require AND SUPPORT standards, they just aren't going to happen.

I'm not going to respond again in this thread on this topic, as I believe it's off topic & pointless to debate--despite the fact that I agree with those who ask for them. I'm just not optimistic........

Grace & Peace,
Bill


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Samsung S9+, 64GB
Fire 10HD 64GB 7th Gen

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 12:09 PM

I should also ask: if nearly all the major movie/media companies, which are notorious for massive egos, could work together with the some of the largest retailers in the country (Walmart, Target, Best Buy - all competitors, mind you) to make UltraViolet happen, how could the much smaller Bible software industry (largely filled with Christians) not be able to cooperate to do something similar?

Posts 100
N/A | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 12:20 PM

Sogol, Your suggestion would mean more software development efforts - something which is not always easy because of many reasons.

Most publishers would not agree on content being available in a web-browser.

How would limiting which books each company offers, work?

What agreement could be reached about who would be responsible for releasing new titles?

Would community pricing and pre-publication pricing be gone, and if not who would be in charge of those systems?

At times, negotiations between ALL Bible study software companies involved and publishers about the price for a title, would consume A LOT of human resources. So some titles would be more expensive or unprofitable with this kind of co-operation instead of each company having their proprietary format.

L2 Catholic new; Used: ODCC L5 Reformed Silver L6 Full Crossgrade; L6 Chinese Bronze new; L6 Ancient Literature Feature Expansion Collection (25 vols.) new, no dynamic pricing. Before packs had 100 books incl. AYBRL new

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 12:39 PM

Bill & George,

I don't want to drag you into another tagging/standards discussion, but maybe I don't understand it well enough to know how it pertains to my suggestion.

I am merely suggesting that a user can use a single digital license on any participating Bible software platform. However, this does not mean that there would be any communication between platforms. I still would not able to follow a link in a book I own on the Logos platform to another book I own in the Accordance platform. It would certainly be great if you could do that at some point, but that is not what I'm suggesting. This is really only about freeing my digital licenses from being captive to one particular Bible software platform. The only thing that moves between platforms is the content license - nothing else.

Maybe working together on something like this (ie. the ability to use a single digital license on multiple platforms) would be a needed intermediate step before the Bible software companies would work together on something like standards.

Posts 8967
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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 12:52 PM

I am 100% against Logos participating in this type of arrangement. I have no desire to read my books in Accordance or WordSearch.  A few  years back I decided to make the Logos format my standard . I prefer Logos not waste their time.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 10244
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 12:53 PM

I think Sogol's idea is absolutely great. We're talking 'licenses'; not the literal resource files.

One big reason I hold and buy for Libronix is 'licenses'. Logos Inc gets caught in a car wreck? Unfortunate, but my licenses aren't a function of whatever contracts Logos has in the aftermath.

Sogol's idea solves much of the risk in 'digital' books (as long as other resellers offer the content).


Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:19 PM

Sogol:

Bill & George,

I don't want to drag you into another tagging/standards discussion, but maybe I don't understand it well enough to know how it pertains to my suggestion.

I am merely suggesting that a user can use a single digital license on any participating Bible software platform. However, this does not mean that there would be any communication between platforms. I still would not able to follow a link in a book I own on the Logos platform to another book I own in the Accordance platform. It would certainly be great if you could do that at some point, but that is not what I'm suggesting. This is really only about freeing my digital licenses from being captive to one particular Bible software platform. The only thing that moves between platforms is the content license - nothing else.

Maybe working together on something like this (ie. the ability to use a single digital license on multiple platforms) would be a needed intermediate step before the Bible software companies would work together on something like standards.

If the user is to be able to access a resource on whatever platform he desires to use, that means that there must be a commonality between them.  The only commonality they can share is the text since tagging is proprietary.  It simply would not work.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:25 PM

Sogol, Your suggestion would mean more software development efforts - something which is not always easy because of many reasons.

Most publishers would not agree on content being available in a web-browser.

It doesn't have to be available in a web-browser, though that's a possibility. And doesn't Logos already offer web access through Biblia.com?

How would limiting which books each company offers, work?

It's up to each Bible software company to decide which books to offer. If I own a license to a book that is available on Logos but not on Accordance, then I can't access the book on Accordance. The attractiveness of a software platform will certainly be affected by the selection they offer, just as it is now.

What agreement could be reached about who would be responsible for releasing new titles?

I'm not sure I understand this. The publishers decide when a digital license is available and after that the Bible software companies decide when to release them on their platform. If publishers want to do exclusive deals with particular Bible software companies then that would detract from the attractiveness of this model.

Would community pricing and pre-publication pricing be gone, and if not who would be in charge of those systems?

I don't think pre-pub would be affected at all. With community pricing, if a title is still under copyright then it works fine with this system. If a Bible software company produces their own version of a work no longer under copyright then there isn't really a publisher license that a user could own, unless of course the Bible software company acts as a publisher and makes their content available to Bible software companies (assuming it is legal for them to charge for that).

At times, negotiations between ALL Bible study software companies involved and publishers about the price for a title, would consume A LOT of human resources. So some titles would be more expensive or unprofitable with this kind of co-operation instead of each company having their proprietary format.

The publishers would set a standard price for the digital license. The Bible software companies could mark it up if they want to try and sell it that way, but that doesn't make a lot of sense because they are really making their money on the platform fees they charge.

As for the resources required, every industry has to invest in new innovations if they want to stay relevant. I'm sure it took a ton of time and money for all the media and retail companies to get UltraViolet up and running, but they knew that was the direction digital content was going.

And companies can still have their own proprietary formats for the books. The only thing that is moving between platforms is the intangible license, not and files.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:28 PM

Super.Tramp:

I am 100% against Logos participating in this type of arrangement. I have no desire to read my books in Accordance or WordSearch.  A few  years back I decided to make the Logos format my standard . I prefer Logos not waste their time.

You would certainly have the option to just use one platform, such as Logos. If you did, you would see no change whatsoever in how you use Logos.

Furthermore, if Logos truly is the best platform (which I think it is), it would make it much easier for users of Accordance or WORDSearch to migrate to Logos once they see the light. :)

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:32 PM

Denise:

I think Sogol's idea is absolutely great. We're talking 'licenses'; not the literal resource files.

One big reason I hold and buy for Libronix is 'licenses'. Logos Inc gets caught in a car wreck? Unfortunate, but my licenses aren't a function of whatever contracts Logos has in the aftermath.

Sogol's idea solves much of the risk in 'digital' books (as long as other resellers offer the content).

I think your points are exactly right, Denise.

Licenses to content should not be captive to one particular platform. Such an arrangement will make less and less sense as time goes on, and I think that's what the movie/media industry realized with UltraViolet.

And you are right - there is no integration of resource files required. The only thing that moves across platforms are intangible digital licenses.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:46 PM

George Somsel:

Sogol:

Bill & George,

I don't want to drag you into another tagging/standards discussion, but maybe I don't understand it well enough to know how it pertains to my suggestion.

I am merely suggesting that a user can use a single digital license on any participating Bible software platform. However, this does not mean that there would be any communication between platforms. I still would not able to follow a link in a book I own on the Logos platform to another book I own in the Accordance platform. It would certainly be great if you could do that at some point, but that is not what I'm suggesting. This is really only about freeing my digital licenses from being captive to one particular Bible software platform. The only thing that moves between platforms is the content license - nothing else.

Maybe working together on something like this (ie. the ability to use a single digital license on multiple platforms) would be a needed intermediate step before the Bible software companies would work together on something like standards.

If the user is to be able to access a resource on whatever platform he desires to use, that means that there must be a commonality between them.  The only commonality they can share is the text since tagging is proprietary.  It simply would not work.

I think you might be thinking of something different than what I am saying.

I am not saying that you pay once and then can access your resources on any platform. I am saying that the publisher gets paid only once for the license to the content. Then you would pay a Bible software company to use that resource on their platform. So when you pay $100 for a resource on Logos, you would now be getting two licenses instead of one - maybe $75 of that $100 goes to the publisher for the content license and $25 goes to Logos for the license to use it on their platform. (as I said earlier, it's possible that the publishers would get a small slice of the platform license to keep them enticed, but that's something that would need to be worked out).

If for some reason you wanted to also use that content license on Accordance as well, you would pay for a license to their platform (another $25, or whatever they charge for it). Therefore, in most situations it doesn't make a lot of sense to have resources on multiple platforms. You would probably only use one platform, unless there was a particular resource that wasn't available on your preferred platform but was available on another platform. If you did buy a license to use a resource on another platform and then it became available on your preferred platform, you would only pay for the platform license since you already own the content license.

So there really is no technical  integration between platforms, other than each Bible software company linking to the consortium which stores all of a user's content licenses.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:47 PM

Sogol:
The publishers would set a standard price for the digital license. The Bible software companies could mark it up if they want to try and sell it that way, but that doesn't make a lot of sense because they are really making their money on the platform fees they charge.

Earth to Sogol, if you haven't noticed, Logos doesn't charge for the platform, only for the (tagged) resources.  Your example of WalMart, Target and Best Buy doesn't hold up because each is selling the exact same product (no tagging).

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 1:57 PM

Sogol:
The publishers would set a standard price for the digital license. The Bible software companies could mark it up if they want to try and sell it that way, but that doesn't make a lot of sense because they are really making their money on the platform fees they charge.

Earth to Sogol, if you haven't noticed, Logos doesn't charge for the platform, only for the (tagged) resources.

Well actually, Logos is charging for the platform. You just pay for it as a part of the price of a resource rather than explicitly paying for software. But they are indeed charging you to use the resource on their platform.

Your example of WalMart, Target and Best Buy doesn't hold up because each is selling the exact same product (no tagging).

Those retailers were mentioned to demonstrate that major competitors can and will work together on something like this, even in the digital media space, if it's what the marketplace demands.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 2:10 PM

Sogol:

George Somsel:
Your example of WalMart, Target and Best Buy doesn't hold up because each is selling the exact same product (no tagging).

Those retailers were mentioned to demonstrate that major competitors can and will work together on something like this, even in the digital media space, if it's what the marketplace demands.

The ONLY COMMONALITY between Logos resources and other companies' resources is the text.  They might be able to transcribe the resource once and share it, but the tagging is proprietary to each company.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 25
mc | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 2:40 PM

I think Sogol's idea is great if the different software companies can come to an agreement. However, I think the idea would probably only work best for reader applications where minimal labor/costs were utilized so that resources can be read.  I suspect the additional costs for being able to use Logos software would still be fairly high as it could be a logistical nightmare to track which resource was purchased from whom and what markups Logos or anyone else would need to charge to recoup the efforts, if any, were put into making the resources compatible and functional for the specific software.  If Logos is going to charge a fee per resource, those with say thousands of resources purchased outside of Logos's ecosystem could end up paying a huge fee to use Logos.

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