Do you want every ebook in the world in Logos?

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 9:06 AM

No.  There is some appeal, in concept, to having any and all books available in one place. But I believe it would over time dilute and eventually fundamentally change the focus of FaithLife. 

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Rokas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 9:31 AM

2Cor 6.14-17

When I encounter such dilemmas in my life, I run this test:

Would God be happy with me selling erotic fiction?

I know He wouldn't be.

I really don't want Logos to go into such direction. For me it would mean Logos choosing the world instead of the gospel. I don't want Logos to lose the blessing it has.

I am actually really sad that so many people here think it's OK for a Christian to sell dirt, as long as it is not promoted or sold on a store with a non-Christian name. If we compromise ourselves on such small things, what happens when a real test comes??

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Martin Folley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 9:37 AM

I seem to be missing something ... I have read through each post so far ... and in particular Bob's initial post ... and it seems to have left me feeling with a sickening fear feeling in my stomach .. the fear of FL not being in business in two years time, this feels like another need to find a cash flow from somewhere, but it does not seem to have any natural symbiotic relationships, and as such it just feels like a potential black hole... (setting aside the moral case already made)

What does each party bring to the table?

Why does Amazon (or whoever) need Faithlife? What will FL add to Amazon resources? Unless resources are significantly tagged etc. the FL engine is little more than the kindle app ... read/bookmark/annotate. If the books are tagged ... who is going to do the tagging? At what cost (financial and opportunity)? Who would pay the premium needed in such tagging? If the same book is available from Amazon for a lower price then who would choose the FL version (other than the existing FL user base)? If this is targeted at the existing FL user base ... it feels as if our eyes are bigger than our belly. Why do we need these books in our library? Will we read them? We are talking many, many books to choose from. Who has the time? If these new resources do not integrate well into our existing libraries then why should we not consider them to be both a separate storefront and an entirely separate library, with an entirely separate app (lets call the new App 'Kindle'!).

Why does FL need Amazon? This is a shorter paragraph! I cannot think of a reason ... unless Amazon have a hold on certain publishers?

Bob Pritchett:
Schools see that Logos meets their needs for a biblical library really well -- and once they appreciate the power of the platform, they want that functionality available for all their classes. If students are going to use the Logos platform for biblical studies, why not English literature? Great -- we've got Noet. But what about the physics textbook? The chemistry book? The biography of Bob Dylan for the class on American pop culture?

I have quoted this because it is the one paragraph that I struggled with. Starting with licensing, schools would be expecting students to buy the licenses individually? Then why would the students choose FL over Amazon? Which schools? I understand that the word English use of the word 'School' is different to the American. I assume that we are talking degree level studies, where student do much independent research, needs cross references etc. will build up a library beyond this year's textbook for this particular subject? If we are talking about 'the power of the platform' then we are back to expensive tagging and premium prices. Who are we talking about as the target audience without extensive and expensive tagging? What subjects actually use as much theological cross referencing as Theology where we have scripture as the spine linking everything together?

I cannot see the business logic behind FL trying to be a general bookstore. I can see FL as a specialist bookstore with a unique platform ... but then I do not see them marketing that outside to their existing user base. Almost nobody I have ever met in the last 10 years has used the the Logos software, or even heard of it ... there is a huge untapped market where FL has an advantage ... As it is, and as I start of in saying, this just feels like a black hole project big enough to swallow FL whole. 

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 9:53 AM

Bob,

The fact that so many users posted thoughtful responses is an indication of how emotionally invested your user base is. The extent that these responses often come both from the head and from the heart is a strong indication that, no matter what you decide, some folks will be angry or disappointed or discouraged or indignant or whatever. You're anticipating that.

So here's my take:

I use Logos for my Bible study and, to a limited extent, my studies in the classics. It's well built for literary studies. It seems less suited for doing studies in fields like music, physics, math, computer science, etc. I've used learning tools in these subjects that enhanced my consumption of those types of books. From my perspective as a buyer, I would have little incentive to read any of these in Logos.

Furthermore, since it's my study tool, I don't read any fiction from within Logos. Not that I can't, but reading even a great book like Great Expectations in Logos is like eating a Big Mac in an opulent dining room: as good as they both are, there's a whole lot of cool in the dining room that has bearing on a burger.

Having said that, you can offer all kinds of stuff -- and I wouldn't have a problem with that -- but I would have no reason to buy it for my Logos library.

Thanks for listening to all your amazingly diverse users!

Lew

Posts 506
Tim Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:04 AM

Bob Pritchett:

What do you think?

My initial reaction is to say a resounding YES!!! (with a few clarifications) But it doesn't seem to be that easy. Let me explain.

Benefits:

    1. From a business perspective, Faithlife is strategically positioned to consider this type of opportunity.
    2. I honestly think that with the existing technologies behind Faithlife, they could put the Kindle store out of business lol. Seriously, the reading experience (highlighting, notes, integration, search, etc. etc.) behind Logos software puts Kindle to shame.
    3. The high amounts of revenue this would bring to Faithlife would ensure the future stability of this company.
    4. The Logos/Vyrso/etc. branches of Faithlife could benefit from this huge influx of income.

    Concerns:

    • The Christian mission and focus of Logos/Faithlife might be lost due to the money and volume of books involved in general.
    • This new undertaking would suck crucial resources away from Logos.
    • Would the leaders of Faithlife have a clear conscience selling secular books to secular people in order to fund God's work? This seems like a morally ethical question that only they can answer.

    Solution:

    • I would say, if you can figure out how to do it and be clear in your conscience, launch a totally new store, and most people (the secular world) won't have to know or care necessarily that Faithlife is behind it all with other Christian products and services.
    • If Faithlife can designate a brand new team to do this instead of pulling from it's existing team, or maybe think of it like church planting (maybe pull a few key people away and fill in the gaps on both ends with new people.), then the other Faithlife branches won't suffer.
    • You know how when you buy a book with Faithlife now, you can decide which devices to send that book to and in which apps? Well this functionality could be key. During the checkout process even, the customer could decide which apps they want that resource to show up in, and maybe even some suggestions could pre-populate based on book genre, tags, etc. That way customers would never see a secular book in Logos unless they chose to, or vice versa. I'm all about putting the customer in control. It's usually the only way to make everyone happy. :)

    A parting thought/question: Is there any way to agree with publishers only to license non-fiction books? It seems if the primary target is universities/colleges, almost all the books that will be required will be non-fiction although I suppose that's not entirely true. Even Vyrso has many novels and fiction titles already, so it seems like already that line has been blurred. But this approach, if you could get the other companies to agree to it, could potentially eliminate a huge majority of moral and ethical dilemmas.

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    Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:07 AM

    Tim Taylor:
    You know how when you buy a book with Faithlife now, you can decide which devices to send that book to and in which apps? Well this functionality could be key. During the checkout process even, the customer could decide which apps they want that resource to show up in, and maybe even some suggestions could pre-populate based on book genre, tags, etc. That way customers would never see a secular book in Logos unless they chose to, or vice versa

    To clarify this - at the moment all books purchased are visible in all the Logos applications. This control only determines to which mobile apps the resources are downloaded. Irrespective of that they are all visible in the mobile apps and are downloaded to the desktop ones.

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    NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:07 AM

    Martin Folley:
    I seem to be missing something ... I have read through each post so far ... and in particular Bob's initial post ... and it seems to have left me feeling with a sickening fear feeling in my stomach .. the fear of FL not being in business in two years time, this feels like another need to find a cash flow from somewhere, but it does not seem to have any natural symbiotic relationships, and as such it just feels like a potential black hole...

    Martin,

    it seems we read two different threads here... I don't read Bob as wanting to become small Amazon or going bankrupt - nothing could be further from what I understood. I see many many threads where we ask Faithlife for theological books that are on target in the Faithlife universe, but where no movement is made. I see Bob as trying to give us the books we always wanted, not selling us stuff we don't want. And it's great to hear that publishers are willing to licence their complete catalogue to Logos. 

    We have heard in the past that Faithlife makes much less profit on Vyrso than on Logos - but some publishers are only willing to sell on Vyrso. Others not even that - but if they come aboard when Faithlife takes all their other stuff, then this is 100% on target.

    Mick   

    Running Logos 8 latest beta version on Win 10

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    Tim Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:10 AM

    Graham Criddle:

    Tim Taylor:
    You know how when you buy a book with Faithlife now, you can decide which devices to send that book to and in which apps? Well this functionality could be key. During the checkout process even, the customer could decide which apps they want that resource to show up in, and maybe even some suggestions could pre-populate based on book genre, tags, etc. That way customers would never see a secular book in Logos unless they chose to, or vice versa

    To clarify this - at the moment all books purchased are visible in all the Logos applications. This control only determines to which mobile apps the resources are downloaded. Irrespective of that they are all visible in the mobile apps and are downloaded to the desktop ones.

    Thanks for the clarification, Graham. I guess then I would use this existing feature as a model that could be expanded to determine not just what books are downloaded into what mobile apps, but what books actually appear in what apps (both mobile and non-mobile) libraries to begin with.

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    David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:22 AM

    alabama24:

    Bob - Let me revise my tentative "yes", to an unequivocal "no." 

    I was thinking about this from a consumer point of view. I still shop at B&N even though they sell things I find objectionable. If the local "christian" book store started selling some of that stuff, it would give me more reasons not to shop there. If I owned a bookstore, there are some lines I would never cross. This would eliminate that line entirely.

    That is what I was trying to get across. You did it better. Yes

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    Cynthia Tucker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:41 AM

    Would I like every Christian book in the world in Logos? YES

    Would I like other literature, non-fiction in Logos? Maybe, it couldn't hurt

    Would it be ok If these perks meant Logos had to sell things like erotic fiction? NO. It's compromising, pure and simple. Don't do that. Maintain control over your catalog so that you can be proud of what you sell.

    Author of the Chronological Word Truth Life Bible Series

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    David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:46 AM

    I have a question for all those who've posted here and said, "NO!" Have you ever bought a book from Amazon? Yes?? You do realize that Amazon sells 50 Shades, don't you? Please explain why it is okay for you to do business with Amazon, or B&N, or whomever, but not Bob.

    Bob Pritchett:
    What if we can't license one without the other? Should we not take any of the titles then? Or should we create yet another ebook store where we put 'everything' without any particular Christian label or endorsement?

    Yes, if you can keep Bible-related materials separate, then do it. Keep Vyrso as a Christian-related, non-Logos-ready epub market, just as it is now. Keep Noet as a scholarly, educational platform. Separate out whatever else you desire however you desire, but put it all in a different pot. The greatest problem I see is including this under the "Faithlife" umbrella. I think it would be better to put these things in a different pot altogether, and if you feel the need include it all under an ever bigger umbrella that isn't marketed with religious sentiments...Bobco, for instance...do it.

    For the hand-wringers, if you haven't answered those first couple of questions, please do so. And while we wait, let's review a few things. When Heiyleil sinned and become hassaataan, why did YHWH drop the ball? Forget all the rigmarole in the garden--He could have snuffed out the whole problem right there on the spot by snuffing out the Problem. But He didn't. In fact, He did something else altogether...

    Deut. 30:19.

    Now, He could have "stepped up" and "intervened" even before Adam and Eve drew breath and eliminated the potential for disturbance, but He allowed the serpent into the garden instead...because He allowed a serpent. He did the exact same thing when He deliberately introduced Job's name into a conversation I'm quite sure he wanted no part of. See, our calling is not just to flee the enemy, but face him down...Prov. 26:4, 5.

    What's my point? Basically, YHWH's point...He set before us blessing and cursing. Why? So that we could, and hopefully will CHOOSE life. Get this point...YHWH is both pro-choice and pro-life. Some will come into contact with cursing and choose death. Whose fault is that? Apparently, some of you think the answer is Bob. It is not.

    As long as the two are not in the same pot, I don't see the problem.

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    David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:53 AM

    David Paul:

    I have a question for all those who've posted here and said, "NO!" Have you ever bought a book from Amazon? Yes?? You do realize that Amazon sells 50 Shades, don't you? Please explain why it is okay for you to do business with Amazon, or B&N, or whomever, but not Bob.

    Bob Pritchett:
    What if we can't license one without the other? Should we not take any of the titles then? Or should we create yet another ebook store where we put 'everything' without any particular Christian label or endorsement?

    Yes, if you can keep Bible-related materials separate, then do it. Keep Vyrso as a Christian-related, non-Logos ready epub market, just as it is now. Keep Noet as a scholarly, educational platform. Separate out whatever else you desire however you desire, but put it all in a different pot. The greatest problem I see is including this under the "Faithlife" umbrella. I think it would be better to put these things in a different pot altogether, and if you feel the need include it all under an ever bigger umbrella that isn't marketed with religious sentiments...Bobco, for instance...do it.

    For the hand-wringers, if you haven't answered those first couple of questions, please do so. And while we wait, let's review a few things. When Heiyleil sinned and become hassaataan, why did YHWH drop the ball? Forget all the rigmarole in the garden--He could have snuffed out the whole problem right there on the spot by snuffing out the Problem. But He didn't. In fact, He did something else altogether...

    Deut. 30:19.

    Now, He could have "stepped up" and "intervened" even before Adam and Eve drew breath and eliminated the potential for disturbance, but He allowed the serpent into the garden instead...because He allowed a serpent. He did the exact same thing when He deliberately introduced Job's name into a conversation I'm quite sure he wanted no part of. See, our calling is not just to flee the enemy, but face him down...Prov. 26:4, 5.

    What's my point? Basically, YHWH's point...He set before us blessing and cursing. Why? So that we could, and hopefully will CHOOSE life. Get this point...YHWH is both pro-choice and pro-life. Some will come into contact with cursing and choose death. Whose fault is that? Apparently, some of you think the answer is Bob. It is not.

    As long as the two are not in the same pot, I don't see the problem.

    For the same reason that I would go to a restaurant that serves homosexuals, but I would not go to a church that accepts them into their membership.

    (Please do not turn this comment into a debate. I was ONLY to show the viewpoint. Any argument about my post itself should go to www.christiandiscourse.com)

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    David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 10:56 AM

    David Taylor Jr:

     For the same reason that I would go to a restaurant that serves homosexuals, but I would not go to a church that accepts them into their membership.

    I didn't realize Bob was a church you attended. Are you a Bobbite or a Bobbian?

    Offering the other stuff under a different banner is serving homosexuals in their restaurant. Deut. 14:21.

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    JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:03 AM

    David Paul:
    I have a question for all those who've posted here and said, "NO!" Have you ever bought a book from Amazon? Yes?? You do realize that Amazon sells 50 Shades, don't you? Please explain why it is okay for you to do business with Amazon, or B&N, or whomever, but not Bob.

    Saying "NO!" doesn't mean someone wouldn't do business with Bob. I said "yes" to begin with, but changed my answer to "no." Originally I was thinking about the issue as a consumer. Yes, I buy things from Amazon, B&N, etc. and know they sell this stuff. However, when I thought about it from the other perspective, my thinking changed. Forget "50 shades" (which is just a novel, after all). Bob would have to sell actual pornography. I would never cross that line and would rather close shop than to do so. When I thought about it from this perspective, my answer to bob is "no."

    By the way, your answer is inconsistent:

    David Paul:
    As long as the two are not in the same pot, I don't see the problem.

    David Paul:
    He set before us blessing and cursing. Why? So that we could, and hopefully will CHOOSE life. Get this point...YHWH is both pro-choice and pro-life. Some will come into contact with cursing and choose death. Whose fault is that? Apparently, some of you think the answer is Bob. It is not.

    Based on your thinking, shouldn't they all be in the same pot? 

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    David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:03 AM

    David Paul:

    David Taylor Jr:

     For the same reason that I would go to a restaurant that serves homosexuals, but I would not go to a church that accepts them into their membership.

    I didn't realize Bob was a church you attended. Are you a Bobbite or a Bobbian?

    Offering the other stuff under a different banner is serving homosexuals in their restaurant. Deut. 14:21.

    The point was a secular institution vs. a faith based institution. 

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    John Goodman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:08 AM

    I think you should go for it but add 6 zeros to the price of all the bad stuff... We get all the books we want and you never sell bad stuff except to incredibly stupid billionaires;)

    גַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ֮ לֹֽא־יַחְשִׁ֪יךְ מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָ וְ֭לַיְלָה כַּיּ֣וֹם יָאִ֑יר כַּ֝חֲשֵׁיכָ֗ה כָּאוֹרָֽה

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    Sean Emslie | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:08 AM

    Bob,

    One thing that I hadn't considered before but you say that some publishers require you to license all their ebooks, but does this require you to offer for sale all their ebooks?  If you are not required to sell all the books that you license then much of the moral issue is done away with you can just exclude offensive genres or notorious publisher imprints.  You would in essence pay a fee for 50 Shades of Grey in your licensing all ebooks from the publisher but the not sell it, in essence taking a "loss" on the offensive books that you do not offer for sale, yet making available many more resources to the Logos users.

    I do believe that their should be a separate store for these books along with Logos for scholarly Bible/Theology books, Vyrso for popular Christian books and Noet for secular scholarly books and add a 4th store for the others.

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    Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:15 AM

    Logos already offers books that group A finds heretical (we are all in group A and if you don't find something objectionable I promise you are not looking hard enough)... While I have no wish to see Logos turn into someones favourite erotica reader but it could end up leading that person to God in the end. If most secular books were offered through the Vyrso platform one could easily go to verbum.com or logos.com and still find their Christian book store. Personally  I would love to get a message like "Logos did not find the book you are looking for, would you like to check Vyrso" Because more than a few times I have gone looking for a book in Logos thinking they did not offer it and been delighted to find the book was in Vyrso. 

    YES YES YES.

    This would be a bold move but a move I hope you make.

    -Dan

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    HJ. van der Wal | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:19 AM

    David Paul:

    an ever bigger umbrella that isn't marketed with religious sentiments...Bobco, for instance...

    And what about Libby??

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    Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:25 AM

    Thank you, everyone, for the thoughtful feedback.

    Just some notes which may help... if we do 'license everything' these books will come as EPUBs through an automatic feed, like the Vyrso titles. (Logos.com and Noet.com sell 'Logos Editions', which we hand tag and build with extra functionality. Vyrso.com sells 'eBooks' which are automatically derived from the publisher-provided EPUBs, resulting in less tagging, sometimes different formatting, etc.)

    There isn't a significant cost to taking in more EPUBs -- all of the publishers involved have automated 'feeds' which release new titles to the distributors; these feeds point to the EPUB files, contain the pricing and descriptive metadata, etc. It's all standardized and automated, to handle (between the publishers) hundreds of thousands (millions?) of titles. This is one of the reasons it's 'all of nothing' -- no one has the time to mess with individual titles (some of which might only sell a few units a year, if any). They just want to treat it as an automated process.

    (And, in the cases we're discussing, there is a contractual requirement to offer the whole catalog -- something that's typical in this kind of large scale distribution.)

    And, in a way, that's easier on our end, too -- if a publisher has 10,000+ titles available in EPUB format, we don't know what's what, and don't have time to read and evaluate 10,000 books. We wouldn't be putting these things on pre-pub, wouldn't be marketing them individually, etc. -- we'd just be 'taking the feed' and automatically putting them online.

    We could still call out a specific title for more and better tagging -- like Keller's Reason for God -- and 'promote' it to a Logos Edition, but for the most part we wouldn't be evaluating books on a case-by-case basis -- the catalog would be like Amazon's, fed every night by automated processes from the publishers' servers.

    And finally, for what it's worth, we wouldn't be making much from this at all -- even Vyrso isn't much of a money-maker. It's just a way to expand what we offer so that if you (or a particular class) need this specific book, we have it.

    I know it's hard to see how a calculus book gets much from being in Logos format, and I agree. But I like our reader, and our markup tools, and wish I could use it even to read a popular history book. And our users -- both individuals and professors in seminaries and Bible colleges -- ask for all kinds of titles both in biblical studies and general press, and I'd like to be able offer them. ("The Reason for God" is a good example -- I liked it enough to buy 10 copies to give away. But I had to do that with paper, not Logos format, because we don't have it. I imagine there are some professors teaching apologetics courses -- and individual users -- who would like to have it in our system, too.)

    If we do create another store front, it can be kept completely out of Logos.com and Vyrso.com (and Noet.com). Your library would only show books you search for, and you could choose when you wanted to visit that site to look for a specific book. We could promote any title we wanted from that store into Logos.com or Vyrso.com, making Vyrso a much larger store of Christian titles, but leaving 'everything' available at the new store.

    I am reluctant to have yet another brand / product, but I suppose we could just name a store front and still use Noet or Vyrso as the mobile app...? Or maybe we should brand another suite of apps?

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