Bible software companies should consider UltraViolet model

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This post has 83 Replies | 3 Followers

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 2:48 PM

George Somsel:

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.

You're a very advanced user, George. So you probably don't consider the other companies' products as major competitors to Logos. However, for many users, I'm sure Logos is competing with Accordance and the rest for the customers' dollars.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 3:11 PM

mc:

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.

 

I don't know how all the details work, but when you purchase a movie from, say Vudu.com (Walmart), it immediately shows up as a license I own in my UltraViolet account. Then any other movie service linked to my UltraViolet account can see that I own that license and grant me access to it on their service.

For Bible software, it could work in a somewhat similar fashion. A list is stored with the consortium of all the titles for which the publishers offer a digital content license. When a user purchases a book from Logos, it tells the consortium that this user has purchased a content license to that book. Now at any point, the user can link his account at any other Bible software company to his consortium account and it will see what content licenses he/she owns.

As for the platform licenses, those would be held locally with each Bible software company since they are the only ones who care about those.

As for migrations from one platform to another, a company could theoretically make a one-time offer to grant free platform licenses for the products the user already owns since there are virtually no direct costs (that I can think of, anyway) to recognize a user's content licenses on your platform. Thus if someone owned tons of books on WORDsearch, Logos could make a very enticing offer for them to migrate over (more likely it would be at some discounted price than free, but you get the picture). Or they could offer something like $100 to get Logos platform licenses for up to a 5,000 books that a user owns on another platform (ie. they own both a content license and a license for a different platform). They would do this in this hopes that the user would now start purchasing their eBooks from Logos, and thus purchase new Logos platform licenses from Logos.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 3:17 PM

Sogol:

George Somsel:

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.

You're a very advanced user, George. So you probably don't consider the other companies' products as major competitors to Logos. However, for many users, I'm sure Logos is competing with Accordance and the rest for the customers' dollars.

I really am not one of the more advanced users, but I fail to see what that has to do with the possibility or advisability of the various companies working together toward a common standard.

george
gfsomsel

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

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 3:34 PM

Sogol:
I don't know how all the details work, but when you purchase a movie from, say Vudu.com (Walmart), it immediately shows up as a license I own in my UltraViolet account. Then any other movie service linked to my UltraViolet account can see that I own that license and grant me access to it on their service.

The hardware to play a movie is produced by companies dedicated to the production of hardware.  Movies are produced by companies which format them to conform to that technology.  Bible software varies in its tagging according to which company produces a resource though the resource is something which is (generally) produced by a print publisher.  The only thing the bible software companies have in common is the resource as produced by the print publisher.  You are comparing apples and oranges.  It wouldn't 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 4:00 PM

George Somsel:

Sogol:
I don't know how all the details work, but when you purchase a movie from, say Vudu.com (Walmart), it immediately shows up as a license I own in my UltraViolet account. Then any other movie service linked to my UltraViolet account can see that I own that license and grant me access to it on their service.

The hardware to play a movie is produced by companies dedicated to the production of hardware.  Movies are produced by companies which format them to conform to that technology.  Bible software varies in its tagging according to which company produces a resource though the resource is something which is (generally) produced by a print publisher.  The only thing the bible software companies have in common is the resource as produced by the print publisher.  You are comparing apples and oranges.  It wouldn't work.

I don't see how it matters here if differences exist in the tagging or technologies used by the different Bible software companies. Each Bible software company that chooses to offer a given resource can make whatever enhancements it wants to the basic text, such as tagging. The tagging in a given resource will surely differ at least somewhat between the different software companies, but that doesn't matter because the software companies are not integrating their technology with each other. All they are doing with each other is sharing, through the consortium, what content licenses a user owns from publishers.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 4:07 PM

How would Logos make money?

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Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 4:21 PM

alabama24:

How would Logos make money?

The same way they do now. The only difference is that when you buy a resource from Logos your purchase would give you two different licenses (one from the publisher/consortium and one from Logos) instead of just the one license from Logos.

Though it would be invisible to users, a simplified example of your $100 purchase from Logos goes from being:

$75 to the publisher and $25 in Logos markup = one license for Logos

to

$75 = publisher/consortium content license and $25 = Logos platform license

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 4:23 PM

OK. I'll play along. I buy a book from Logos and get two licenses. One allows me to use the book in Logos, and the other license does what?

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 5:03 PM

mc:
 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.

That is only fair and just. I had to pay a pretty penny to have a Logos library of just shy of 13,000 resources. Why should an Accordance guy get it any cheaper?

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 12 2013 6:23 PM

Sogol:
I don't know how all the details work, but when you purchase a movie from, say Vudu.com (Walmart), it immediately shows up as a license I own in my UltraViolet account. Then any other movie service linked to my UltraViolet account can see that I own that license and grant me access to it on their service.

UVVU has offer details => http://www.uvvu.com/uv-offer-details.php that includes Streaming being free from original retailer for a year.  Streaming after one year OR from another retailer may incur fees.  Prior to streaming, consumer has choice to pay fee OR decline streaming.  UVVU FAQ => http://www.uvvu.com/faqs.php

Noticed UVVU is an alternative to Apple's iTunes => http://gigaom.com/2011/10/11/ultraviolet-itunes/

Universal Studios offers UVVU plus redeem a copy on iTunes => http://www.universalhidef.com/ultraviolet/whatisultraviolet/

Another FAQ => http://www.uvdemystified.com/uvfaq.html mentions flixster app for Apple devices

Sogol:
For Bible software, it could work in a somewhat similar fashion. A list is stored with the consortium of all the titles for which the publishers offer a digital content license. When a user purchases a book from Logos, it tells the consortium that this user has purchased a content license to that book. Now at any point, the user can link his account at any other Bible software company to his consortium account and it will see what content licenses he/she owns.

Curious about publisher profit incentive for a consortium ?

From a consumer point of view, being able to apply a publisher consortium discount for previously purchased content when buying a Logos license is attractive.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 2825
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 13 2013 7:21 AM

It will only happen if enough customers demand it, and if Bible software companies and publishers decide that it is in their financial interest to do it.

When people stopped buying MP3 music that they could not play on multiple devices, the companies changed their policies.  There is nothing like feeling the heat to help someone see the light.  And light seldom appears without a little heat.  I just don't see enough light or heat to change things here.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 1281
toughski | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 13 2013 7:56 AM

This proposal is in essence a change to Logos philosophy. They always said "our software is free, you only pay for resources". I have never understood why they are so adamant about NOT charging for software. Customers still pay, whether you call them "resource surcharge" (over Amazon's price for example) or "additional software capability" (tagging, datasets, indexing and such).

I guess, once consumers figure out that if they own 13,000 titles and each has been surcharged even 50 cents - it makes for a very expensive bible Software application. However, once you figure out their support and continual enhancement of each resource, it might not sound too bad.

Under UV-type paradigm bible software companies charge BOTH for basic resource license (basically plain text - what the original content creator came up with) and for their proprietary tagging, formatting, etc. but separately.

How would Logos make money? the same as always! But allowing a plain text (as created by authors) resource to be displayed within Logos platform would bring in a lot of additional customers:

imagine having any Kindle resource on Logos. Just as text. no thrills. What do you think most people would do? Once they taste the power of Logos, they would upgrade.

it is a win-win-win for rights holders, publishers and consumers (just follow the music industry and video industry), but is not without some legal and technical challenges. The longer I live the better I understand that businesses are very slow to change unless their (business) life depends on it.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 15 2013 11:11 PM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

Curious about publisher profit incentive for a consortium ?

This is an important question. As I mentioned earlier, it seems like the majority of the benefits accrue to the end user. However, some points that may be enticing to publishers include:

1) This model could further accelerate adoption and sale of eBooks. I have heard many people say they don't want to move to eBooks because there is no universal standard, and they worry that they lose their libraries if the technology provider goes under or becomes irrelevant. This model removes that worry because you own your book licenses independent of any company or technology.

2) A small portion of the platform fee could be designated to the publisher. This could give publishers some additional revenue long after the sale of the initial licenses.

3) The harsh reality of life in the ultra-competitive worlds of media and technology these days is that if you wait too long to give consumers what they want, you can bet that someone else will be working hard at beating you to it. Thus anyone who wants to sustain their relevance would be wise to consider that this is the direction that things appear to be heading, and there is a very good chance that end users will eventually get what they want...... one way or another.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 15 2013 11:25 PM

Michael Childs:

It will only happen if enough customers demand it, and if Bible software companies and publishers decide that it is in their financial interest to do it.

When people stopped buying MP3 music that they could not play on multiple devices, the companies changed their policies.  There is nothing like feeling the heat to help someone see the light.  And light seldom appears without a little heat.  I just don't see enough light or heat to change things here.

I completely agree with you, Michael. I certainly don't see throngs of customers marching on Bellingham anytime soon demanding this model.

However, I'm betting that, though it make take a while, the eBook world is eventually headed in this direction. Given all that would go into getting the details worked out, it wouldn't hurt to start thinking about this now. Logos has a long history of being visionary and forward thinking, and I would certainly hope that they continue to stay ahead of the curve.

I also think that it would be awesome if the Bible software companies took the lead on making an eBook model like this come to pass. There is a lot of value and savings that could be provided to the body of Christ with something like this, and it would be a cool witness to the world to see Christians working together to be at the forefront of media and technology.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 15 2013 11:54 PM

toughski:

This proposal is in essence a change to Logos philosophy. They always said "our software is free, you only pay for resources". I have never understood why they are so adamant about NOT charging for software. Customers still pay, whether you call them "resource surcharge" (over Amazon's price for example) or "additional software capability" (tagging, datasets, indexing and such).

I guess, once consumers figure out that if they own 13,000 titles and each has been surcharged even 50 cents - it makes for a very expensive bible Software application. However, once you figure out their support and continual enhancement of each resource, it might not sound too bad.

Under UV-type paradigm bible software companies charge BOTH for basic resource license (basically plain text - what the original content creator came up with) and for their proprietary tagging, formatting, etc. but separately.

How would Logos make money? the same as always! But allowing a plain text (as created by authors) resource to be displayed within Logos platform would bring in a lot of additional customers:

imagine having any Kindle resource on Logos. Just as text. no thrills. What do you think most people would do? Once they taste the power of Logos, they would upgrade.

it is a win-win-win for rights holders, publishers and consumers (just follow the music industry and video industry), but is not without some legal and technical challenges. The longer I live the better I understand that businesses are very slow to change unless their (business) life depends on it.

You bring up all kinds of good points, toughski.

I had not thought about it, but you mention a great idea. It would be very cool if a company like Logos would let users who own a content license only (with no platform license) view their content on the Logos platform for free but only get access to the text - none of the additional features like tagging. An example would be someone who owns a Kindle book but wants to consider using that content license on Logos. Thus Logos would just function as an eReader for such users and nothing more. Once they got comfortable with Logos, they might upgrade by purchasing the platform license. This is consistent with the ever prevalent "freemium" model nowadays where you get only the most basic features for free but pay for anything more.

You also bring to mind another important consideration I had not mentioned. In the ideal world, all the various eBook platforms and publishers would form one big consortium to make this happen. Thus the Bible software companies would be working together with Amazon Kindle, Google Play, B&N Nook, Apple, etc. Likewise, it wouldn't just be the Christian publishers, but all the major publishing houses. Since we don't know where these guys are at with an idea like this (or at least I don't), and the Bible software companies probably aren't really on their radar right now, I was suggesting that the Bible software companies could just start to work together on something like this now.

Of course, there is one big risk I worry about: the Bible software companies form a consortium, and then later on all the big guys form a much bigger consortium that operates very differently than the Bible software consortium. The result is that the Bible software consortium has to do one of the following:

1) Try to figure out a way to link the two consortiums (something the big guys might not be interested in, and even if they were the legal/financial/technical integration could be a big headache)

2) Operate as an independent consortium (the downside here is that the books you buy on Kindle would not work on Logos and vice versa)

3) Dissolve the Bible software consortium and have all the companies independently join the bigger consortium (in which case it may have just been better for the Bible software companies to have waited for the bigger consortium to form)

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 16 2013 12:03 AM

I encountered a real example tonight of why I would like to see this model in place.

For whatever reason, Logos has not yet been able to get the New Interpreters series into production (both the commentary and dictionary sets).

https://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible

https://www.logos.com/product/8801/new-interpreters-dictionary-of-the-bible

I would very, very much like to have these now, and I know of at least one Bible software company that has the dictionary available right now. However, I strongly hesitate to buy it from the other software company because I only want to own resources in Logos.

If the model we were discussing were in place, I could buy the dictionary from the other company right now and use it on their platform immediately. Later on, if Logos made it available, I could just purchase the platform license from Logos instead of having to pay full price for the whole thing again in order to use in on Logos.

 

Posts 18704
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 16 2013 12:14 AM

Sogol:

I encountered a real example tonight of why I would like to see this model in place.

For whatever reason, Logos has not yet been able to get the New Interpreters series into production (both the commentary and dictionary sets).

https://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible

https://www.logos.com/product/8801/new-interpreters-dictionary-of-the-bible

I would very, very much like to have these now, and I know of at least one Bible software company that has the dictionary available right now. However, I strongly hesitate to buy it from the other software company because I only want to own resources in Logos.

If the model we were discussing were in place, I could buy the dictionary from the other company right now and use it on their platform immediately. Later on, if Logos made it available, I could just purchase the platform license from Logos instead of having to pay full price for the whole thing again in order to use in on Logos.

Consider the economics of this, if Logos were to agree to it.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Logos were usually late to the game in getting resources out into their format (not too far from the truth). Then Logos would only be getting the platform license cost from all their impatient users, not the full cost of the resources (which would go to their competitors who were first off the starting block). It wouldn't be very good for their bottom line.

Such a scenario might cause them to rethink their quality assurance and rush things to market faster so they could beat their competitors and get top dollar for all their work. But it would mean shoddier products. Is that what we want? Otherwise, I don't see how they could make business sense of offering the UltraViolet model. It would just cut into their revenues.

Ideally what we want is high quality products, first to market, and for a lower price than the competitors. Generally we can expect to have at most two out of the three. I'd love to be an idealist, but I tend to lean more towards realism.

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 16 2013 12:44 AM

Rosie Perera:

Sogol:

I encountered a real example tonight of why I would like to see this model in place.

For whatever reason, Logos has not yet been able to get the New Interpreters series into production (both the commentary and dictionary sets).

https://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible

https://www.logos.com/product/8801/new-interpreters-dictionary-of-the-bible

I would very, very much like to have these now, and I know of at least one Bible software company that has the dictionary available right now. However, I strongly hesitate to buy it from the other software company because I only want to own resources in Logos.

If the model we were discussing were in place, I could buy the dictionary from the other company right now and use it on their platform immediately. Later on, if Logos made it available, I could just purchase the platform license from Logos instead of having to pay full price for the whole thing again in order to use in on Logos.

Consider the economics of this, if Logos were to agree to it.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Logos were usually late to the game in getting resources out into their format (not too far from the truth). Then Logos would only be getting the platform license cost from all their impatient users, not the full cost of the resources (which would go to their competitors who were first off the starting block). It wouldn't be very good for their bottom line.

Such a scenario might cause them to rethink their quality assurance and rush things to market faster so they could beat their competitors and get top dollar for all their work. But it would mean shoddier products. Is that what we want? Otherwise, I don't see how they could make business sense of offering the UltraViolet model. It would just cut into their revenues.

Ideally what we want is high quality products, first to market, and for a lower price than the competitors. Generally we can expect to have at most two out of the three. I'd love to be an idealist, but I tend to lean more towards realism.

I see your point, Rosie. But consider these:

1) If the publishers make the content license available at one standard price to all users no matter which Bible software company they purchase from (it may periodically go on sale, but everyone gets that sale price), and the only margin that the Bible software companies get from the sale of a resource is the platform license fee, then I think this solves a lot of that problem. The scenario you mentioned does become a problem if the Bible software companies got a cut of the content license fee, but I think that would be a bad idea for the reasons you cite. What I am thinking is that the publishers get 100% of the content license fee and the pricing of that license for any given resource is uniform no matter which Bible software company you purchase through. Note that I would probably discourage the idea of anyone being able to buy just a content license directly from the publisher because, for the sake of the Bible software companies, it's probably best that those licenses always be bundled with a platform license (though one could buy a platform license without a content license).

2) With this said, the only reason I would buy a shoddy version of a resource that came out early would be if I absolutely needed some version - any version! - right away. Why? Because I eventually want the Logos version of that resource, and I don't want to pay a platform fee twice. To use your scenario, let's say a resource comes out with a $100 content fee. Some low end Bible software company immediately makes available a version which is virtually nothing but text for a price of $110 ($100 content fee plus $10 platform fee). I know that Logos plans to offer it at $125 in 6 months ($100 content fee plus $25 platform fee). Here I have to ask if it's worth paying an extra $10 to get the text version 6 months early before I pay Logos another $25 for their platform license. To me, and I'm guessing for most users as well, I'm thinking that there are very few resources where I'd be willing to double pay. So if this dynamic works out, I think that as long as Logos remains the preferred platform for so many users, I don't think they would be hurt at all.

 

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 16 2013 1:14 AM

I see your points too, but I think Logos currently takes a much bigger cut than this "platform fee" model would give them (perhaps close to 50% though I don't know what kind of a deal they work out from publisher to publisher; I'm sure it varies), as it's quite a lot of work for them to turn a published work into a Logos resource. Let's suppose a resource is one that we ought to be willing to pay $110 to buy (regardless of how it comes to us). In your model, Logos would get $10 of that, and $100 of it would go to the publisher. Logos couldn't afford to do all the work they do for that little margin per resource sale.

Let's suppose further that in order to stay in business Logos needs to get a minimum of $50 of that $110 product. Under the current negotiated arrangement, Logos sells that product and remits $60 to the publisher, keeping the remainder. Presumably, other companies have similar costs of doing business to Logos, so the "platform fee" would need to be more on the order of $50 for this product for them too. Then anyone who buys this product on more than one platform is going to end up paying $160 for it. Maybe a bit less if some low-end company can push the resource out the door faster by cutting corners.

I think MOST of the difference you're seeing in price of resources between company A and company B is not the different base price from the publisher. If the publishers are good negotiators, they are going to get their $60 for that digital resource no matter which software company is selling it to the user, company A or company B. So what you're seeing is simply that Logos charges more for the work they do of converting it to Logos format than other companies charge for converting it to theirs.

I know I've done a lot of "supposing" here, and I could be completely off base with my numbers, and you might have hit on a model that could work. In other words, even if the publisher's cut is significantly lower than you were estimating, it still would be good if we only had to pay that amount ONCE if we bought the resource from multiple software companies. But I think you'd find that even fewer people would be willing to double pay for ANY resources if the "platform fee" is quite a larger percentage of the cost of the resource than you guessed it was. Which makes this whole suggestion kind of moot. A nice idea, but all the work it would take negotiating to make it happen would be costly and time consuming and for what possible gain to the companies in question. I think they pretty much like the way it works now.

So, if you're right that the labor of Logos or another software company makes up only about 10% of the cost of digital resources, then maybe you're onto something! I do concede I could be way wrong about this all.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 16 2013 4:39 AM

I have no intentions of wading through the voluminous copy presented here, so forgive me if you covered this... Wink

Sogol:

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

Curious about publisher profit incentive for a consortium ?

This is an important question. As I mentioned earlier, it seems like the majority of the benefits accrue to the end user.

You didn't list ANY benefits to the publisher. 

  1. Publishers are in the business of making money. The money to be had is in PRINTING the books. You assume there is a desire on the part of publishers to see the adoption of ebooks, but that simply isn't the case. Most publishers believe that Amazon has been ruining their business with the sale of cheap ebooks which have devalued their high profit margin hard back sales. 
  2. The publishers don't want "a small portion" of a platform fee. They want a big piece. Your model has too many hungry people sitting at the table, waiting to be fed.
  3. I don't understand your "if you don't give them what they want, someone else will" argument. Who cares? If you want to read Harry Potter, you want to read Harry Potter. Another publisher can't "give them what they want."  Furthermore, if I ever write a book, I'm going to want to go with a publisher who will pay me. For that to happen, the publisher must have a big piece of the pie!
  4. I have very little understanding of ultraviolet, but your seeming use of it makes no sense to me. Your argument doesn't follow. The largest seller of music and movies is apples iTunes. Users who purchase an ultraviolet DVD don't get an iTunes copy too. 

I understand the "wouldn't it be nice" idea. But it isn't realistic. The publishers partner with the various platform holders, but there is NO incentive for the platform holders to work together. 

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