Logos March Madness: No Women?

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Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 4 2014 8:41 PM

Thanks for the feedback. There's no intentional gender discrimination going on here. These are the criteria we used:

  1. The author has lots of books available in Logos that we are able to discount up to 75% off. (Customers are disappointed when we don't have many options to choose from for each author.)
  2. The author's books are among our bestselling products. (We want to ensure the sale has books that most people are going to be interested in.)
  3. We pick 32 living authors and 32 dead authors.

Using those criteria, we didn't end up with any women authors in the running this year (or previous years?). We didn't intentionally include or exclude any authors based on their gender, race, age, marital status, nationality, denomination, theological positions, or any other discriminating factor.

We're absolutely not opposed to including women authors, but we just don't have many with a wide selection of popular products.

Would you prefer that we use a different set of criteria for next year? Should we not be concerned about the number of books an author has in Logos (that we can discount up to 75% off)? Should we ignore how well an author's books sell? Our current thinking is that this would compromise the overall effectiveness of the sale, but we're certainly open to rethinking things.

Posts 567
John Kaess | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 4 2014 9:14 PM

Gary Osborne:
I agree concerning diversity, but I wouldn't limit it to gender diversity.  I vote for more theological diversity.  It seems like this year it's more about Hyper-Calvinism vs semi-Hyper Calvinism vs Reformed Theology vs partial TULIP theology.  The majority of it is weighted in the direction of one theological stream.  Being a conservative, but committed Pentecostal that certainly leans in the direction of Arminian/Wesleyan/Pentecostal theology makes most of these matchups meaningless to me.  And it's been that way for about as long as I've been with Logos.  But I know I'm in the minority and this isn't going to change, so I'll just take joy in the fact that my wallet will be happy at the end of the month.  Big Smile

Petty much exactly my impression.  With the exception of Charles Wesley, those represented are almost exclusively leaning to the reformed/calvinist end of what should be a spectrum.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 4 2014 9:15 PM

Phil, I would expect that as your overall catalogue broadens, so will your sales. As I don't count on finding great buys, although sometimes I do, I really don't care what your criteria are if it keeps your income up.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 451
Mitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 4 2014 11:47 PM

Phil, thanks for the response. Part of the problem is that Logos' selection of authors for March Madness pretty accurately reflects who has the strongest and most respected voices among conservative evangelicals. As it happens, and quite regrettably, that group is almost exclusively white and male. The Kingdom of God is far bigger and far more diverse than one would think by looking at most pastors' bookshelves. It's not Logos' fault, and frankly I wouldn't put the onus on them to become a leader in changing those attitudes.

I would certainly applaud them for picking up the cause though. Perhaps a blog post highlighting resources from the majority world, or from women, or from minority theologians?

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 2:32 AM

Phil Gons:
Would you prefer that we use a different set of criteria for next year?

As 'popularity' is one of your criteria, it might be an idea next year to have one quarter of the draw dedicated to authors that are popular within their individual streams, even if they're not popular over the whole Logos user base (i.e. within Catholicism/Pentecostalism/non-conservative Christianity).

  • Perhaps, within that part of the draw, you could give a certain number of places to different product managers.
  • By placing all these less popular options within the same segment of the draw, you will guarantee at least some of them will progress to better discounts. If you spread them through the draw they might all lose in the first round.
  • It probably wouldn't be a good idea to label that part of the draw differently. Christians often react to labels!
Posts 1874
Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 2:45 AM

Bruce Roth:

I am wondering if anyone here or from Logos has a number of the available resources that are solely authored by a woman or co-authored. I assume it would have to be recent resources and probably a tiny percentage Of the total. 

Someday we we may begin to see more resources by women, but it will orobably be glacial. 

I'm not someone from Logos, but here (off the top of my head) is one Logos title written by a woman which I own and appreciate for its insights. It's one of the Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament: Mark by Mary Ann Beavis (Baker Academic, 2011).

Every blessing

Alan

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Posts 737
Evan Boardman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 4:48 AM

Seeing everyone is throwing out their two cents, why not have it every month, that way no one is left out. :)

Posts 10771
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 6:09 AM

Well, ignoring the title of the thread, I'd think most businesses would try to highlight any emerging markets they're seeking.  I'd have to assume, as Mark seems to hint, all those product managers you've been investing in must mean you're wanting to expand .... plus Verbum .... and so on.

It's hard for me to imagine you couldn't find many Catholic authors, but maybe they're hard to find these days.  On the female side (and here DAL will have to be quiet a minute) but I'd assume some of the more popular authors; you didn't seem to limit the choices to DAL's 'meaty' description but I suspect that was the primary requirement.  Readers enhance spirituality many ways; I thought that was the Logos 'call to arms'.

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

Posts 893
Brother Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 6:43 AM

Adam,  It is difficult for me to conceptualize a useful personal library predicated on resources written by either gender.  I admit to being bewildered as to why gender is even a consideration when it comes to selecting a useful resource.  Empirically, in order to fairly represent everyone, we'd necessarily have whole categories dedicated to authors who are amputees, or a shelf reserved for blind writers, and lets not forget a small contingent of left handed authors.  These examples are precisely as valid as requiring gender based inclusion (or exclusion). 

"I read dead people..."

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 6:54 AM

Phil Gons:

Thanks for the feedback. There's no intentional gender discrimination going on here. These are the criteria we used:

  1. The author has lots of books available in Logos that we are able to discount up to 75% off. (Customers are disappointed when we don't have many options to choose from for each author.)
  2. The author's books are among our bestselling products. (We want to ensure the sale has books that most people are going to be interested in.)
  3. We pick 32 living authors and 32 dead authors.

Using those criteria, we didn't end up with any women authors in the running this year (or previous years?). We didn't intentionally include or exclude any authors based on their gender, race, age, marital status, nationality, denomination, theological positions, or any other discriminating factor.

We're absolutely not opposed to including women authors, but we just don't have many with a wide selection of popular products.

Would you prefer that we use a different set of criteria for next year? Should we not be concerned about the number of books an author has in Logos (that we can discount up to 75% off)? Should we ignore how well an author's books sell? Our current thinking is that this would compromise the overall effectiveness of the sale, but we're certainly open to rethinking things.

Phil, 

This goes back to what I have been saying for years.  There should be more diversity among the resources that Logos sells.  There needs to be more resources written by women (Ken and MJ listed some great authors).  There needs to be larger theological diversity among the resources that Logos sells.

What you have listed here displays Logos' philosophy on what to sell. Currently, Logos sells what sells to its current user base.  And it doesn't sell what doesn't sell to its current user base.  The NIB is a good example (https://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible).  Right now, Logos does not have the user base to move this resource into production.  And I personally do not know of a person in my theological circles who does not have at lest one volume on this series on his or her bookshelf.

It sounds like from your post (http://community.logos.com/forums/t/80659.aspx) that Logos wants to offer a "wide array of theological perspectives."  In order to do this, I believe Logos is going to have to take a gamble and produce some resources that they might not have enough customers to start off (like the NIB and authors like Elizabeth Schusessler Fiorenza).  Doing this I believe will expand your customer base.

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 6:58 AM

Brother Mark:

Adam,  It is difficult for me to conceptualize a useful personal library predicated on resources written by either gender.  I admit to being bewildered as to why gender is even a consideration when it comes to selecting a useful resource.  Empirically, in order to fairly represent everyone, we'd necessarily have whole categories dedicated to authors who are amputees, or a shelf reserved for blind writers, and lets not forget a small contingent of left handed authors.  These examples are precisely as valid as requiring gender based inclusion (or exclusion). 

Because they bring a different perspective to the table.  Ken listed several good examples in an earlier post.

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 7:00 AM

Dan Francis:

Dead (or live) straight white men seem to be the majority of those read in the North American Christian market. Because we are unfamiliar with other voices definitely  doesn't mean their voices are not important to be heard and often VERY important to hear. I hope one day more voices will be heard in the Logos Library.

-Dan

Amen

Posts 10771
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 7:32 AM

Brother Mark ... can I smilingly answer your bewilderment with a few key points (which you probably won't agree with but maybe worth considering).

(1) An author this week pointed this out to me, which should have been obvious but wasn't. If we presume believing and maybe church participation is a key to eternal life, then heaven will likely be heavily populated by women. I've often wondered why most churches I've been in, whether new plants, or dieing ones were 'women'.  I suspect it has to do with how they (we) think? Or maybe the message? Or what?  But anyone seeking the Kingdom for others eventually has to confront why gender DOES play a part. Don't know why.  Even the early missions among the native americans, where 'western' values wasn't an issue, 'women' were the primary travelers to the Kingdom.

(2) I've admittedly always been somewhat frustrated with forum members and their 'libraries'.  I've always thought 'what's good for Christians' should be the criticality. Not what's good for me. I suppose I work off multiple platforms so 'me' is not so critical. I have the same philosphy at Walmart. But I'd assume Logos 'could' throw a few bones to the female 'children' in Tyre and Sidon?  

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

Posts 299
Bruce Roth | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 7:44 AM

Phil,

As commented above the vast majority of resources are coming out of the reformed camp. Maybe in conjunction with the current mix you could offer the same type of March Madness sale on the Verbum side of the fence. And include resources from the growing Eastern Orthodox resources. 

Posts 611
Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 8:36 AM

Phil Gons:
Would you prefer that we use a different set of criteria for next year?

Perhaps not for March Madness but it would be good if you could promote some of the less popular authors through a sale at some point as this might help turn them into more popular authors. If you could do this as a series of collections, say 10 books from 10 different authors, designed to 'introduce' us to these 'new' authors I think that it would be really useful. 

God Bless

Graham

Pastor - NTCOG Basingstoke

Posts 7064
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 8:43 AM

Denise:

  On the female side (and here DAL will have to be quiet a minute)

Zip it! Time Wink

Posts 3476
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 11:00 AM

Phil Gons:

  • The author has lots of books available in Logos that we are able to discount up to 75% off. (Customers are disappointed when we don't have many options to choose from for each author.)
  • The author's books are among our bestselling products. (We want to ensure the sale has books that most people are going to be interested in.)
  • We pick 32 living authors and 32 dead authors.

I would love to see an additional sale using similar criteria with the additional criterion that these should be authors of potential interest to Verbum users. So you're looking at, principally, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox authors (ergo including Early Church Fathers), but also (perhaps) Oxford Movement and similar.

Another good option would be an additional sale, also in the March Madness format, where the criteria include "The author was not listed in March Madness this year."

Either potential sale would have the practical effect of exposing less popular and perhaps undersold authors, which is why such a sale should not replace March Madness.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 12:17 PM

I'm sorry to be required to appear to be a male chauvinist pig, but I've noticed that when I encounter women authors on biblical topics they appear to almost exclusively deal with women in the bible and with such topics which really aren't very substantive.  There are some exceptions.  I'm sorry, but women appear to be mostly concerned with women—which I find rather cliquish.  When women start to sincerely engage in the substance of the texts rather than being concerned with how women appear, then I will take them seriously.

george
gfsomsel

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

Posts 1634
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 12:40 PM

George Somsel:
I'm sorry to be required to appear to be a male chauvinist pig, but I've noticed that when I encounter women authors on biblical topics they appear to almost exclusively deal with women in the bible and with such topics which really aren't very substantive.  There are some exceptions.  I'm sorry, but women appear to be mostly concerned with women—which I find rather cliquish.  When women start to sincerely engage in the substance of the texts rather than being concerned with how women appear, then I will take them seriously.

Like you I do get frustrated at all the hyphenated theologies that seem to talk as if they need not interact with others.  That is why I made the list I did, and picked some of the women I did.  They are all people who picked important themes and seem to acknowledge that they are interacting with what others have said before - even as they critique it.

And as frustrated as I sometimes DO get, if (when?) I listen to them, often I can hear a bit why they had to be separate.  As awkward as it is, in the christian life God has seen fit to give us two ears and one month so we can listen to each other - even those we don't want to.  Like you, I long for that day when we can be fully open without shame before each other - but we are not there yet.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Posts 255
Gary Osborne | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 5 2014 12:44 PM

John Kaess:

Gary Osborne:
I agree concerning diversity, but I wouldn't limit it to gender diversity.  I vote for more theological diversity.  It seems like this year it's more about Hyper-Calvinism vs semi-Hyper Calvinism vs Reformed Theology vs partial TULIP theology.  The majority of it is weighted in the direction of one theological stream.  Being a conservative, but committed Pentecostal that certainly leans in the direction of Arminian/Wesleyan/Pentecostal theology makes most of these matchups meaningless to me.  And it's been that way for about as long as I've been with Logos.  But I know I'm in the minority and this isn't going to change, so I'll just take joy in the fact that my wallet will be happy at the end of the month.  Big Smile

Petty much exactly my impression.  With the exception of Charles Wesley, those represented are almost exclusively leaning to the reformed/calvinist end of what should be a spectrum.

Yep, and all I can do is let out a sigh.  It's not going to change.  I've discussed this issue with high up people in Logos in the past and I've come to just expect this going forward.  There are several highly important non-Reformed resources that Logos doesn't even carry yet (while other bible software companies do carry them) and I'm at a loss just scratching my head.  I'm told over and over again there's not a pro-Reformed/Calvinist lean, but my eyes tell me something completely different.

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