Do you want every ebook in the world in Logos?

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:35 AM

I would be quite supportive of a secular version of Vyrso.com, with three provisos:

  • Entirely separate branding.
  • It makes a net contribution to Faithlife.
  • Your contracts allow us to send these books to Kindle.

Like most people on here I read secular books. I would prefer them in Logos format, even if all I do is send them to Kindle.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:36 AM

Bob Pritchett:

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.

If this can be done at FL's discretion, this is a HUGE plus for Logos.

Bob Pritchett:

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?

I don't use apps, so I have no input there, but this definitely requires a new brand, which is logical since this is a new thing. Do it right, keep the chaff separate from the wheat, and go for it!

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:40 AM

Bob Pritchett:

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?

Thanks for the insights Bob. As far as the app part, there are some books on Vyrso I refuse to buy simply because I don't want them to show up in my apps. A way to decide what is in what apps (I'm sorry Hiding is a terrible solution) would be in order. Or a different app altogether. That being said, if it isn't that much of a money maker, I would say bite the bullet and take the losses of not having specific books rather than compromise.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:47 AM

David Taylor Jr:
With the example of the erotic fiction I would say has no place in logos.com. I will say if that ever made its way into the store I would cease using Logos on moral grounds.

For the same reason we ought not buy our gasoline from a store that sells cigarettes. Same with pizza joints that sell beer. And using Netflix, Amazon Prime and cable TV is off limits. Taking my car to a mechanic who swears should be a no-no. I could go on.

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:51 AM

Bob Pritchett:

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.

The question makes more sense in this context.

Bob Pritchett:

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.

For me, this would be critical.  Otherwise it dilutes the focus of Logos.com and turns it into something very different.

I suspect that there would still be an ethical question that FaithLife would need to answer, which is whether they want to have even a passive association with distributing some of the less edifying materials offered by the publishers. I suspect that they've already given this some thought, or Bob would not have asked the question.

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:52 AM

Super.Tramp:

David Taylor Jr:
With the example of the erotic fiction I would say has no place in logos.com. I will say if that ever made its way into the store I would cease using Logos on moral grounds.

For the same reason we ought not buy our gasoline from a store that sells cigarettes. Same with pizza joints that sell beer. And using Netflix, Amazon Prime and cable TV is off limits. Taking my car to a mechanic who swears should be a no-no. I could go on.

I have already addressed this and the premise is false. This is a faith based company and as such should be selective of their products.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:54 AM

alabama24:

Bob would have to sell actual pornography.

I highly doubt that. Most respected publishers don't dabble in such stuff. There might be a few things that come close. Bob will have to think about it and decide for himself. I do admit that there have been many jobs over the years that I could have taken but didn't because I didn't want to have to explain my decision later.

alabama24:
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? 

I don't see the inconsistency. He said we are to be in the world but not of the world. This is sanctification, which requires setting certain things apart. That's not the same as rooting them out of existence. Not to say that the unholy won't be removed...it will...but the time for that is not yet. Let the wheat and tares grow together, then at the appointed time, the tares will be gathered and burned. Sadly, Christianity's history is replete with tare gatherers. Inquisition, anyone?

Let me toss another bone out there. YHWH tells His people through Jeremiah that they must go to Babylon. But wait! I know something about Babylon, and it's not just "not good"--it's really bad...evil, even. So, we shouldn't go then, right? YHWH says, if you don't go, then I will obliterate you. I'm making you deal with this...so deal with it. Guess what? That is effectively where we're at in history. But, while Daniel was stuck there in Babylon, he made of point of keeping himself sanctified.

But, guess what's coming? "Come out of her, my people." Our job is to do what He says and deal with the circumstances He doles out. Our trying to rewrite the script by improvising won't end well because He will make sure it doesn't end well. Just like with the people who decided to enter into the land after He said He wouldn't allow them to enter the land after they refused to go in based on the reports of the twelve spies. Some set out for the promised land anyway and YHWH set the hounds on them, which promptly tore them to shreds.

Ecclesiastes (Eccl. 7:16) talks about being "excessively righteous", and I think it has situations like this in mind. Our job isn't to police the world, it is to police ourselves.

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:58 AM

Bob Pritchett:
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.)

I have said before, and will say again, I think that LOGOS should be marketed as the "Academic E-Reader of Choice".  With an undergraduate degree in the sciences (Chemistry with a Math minor) and graduate degrees in the ministry (M.Div.), Computer Science, and Counseling, I am convinced that having any or all of my textbooks available via LOGOS would have been a superior experience.  A bit of tweaking allowing for handwritten notes in fields like chemistry and math would only add to the value of LOGOS.  

Do I think that all books should be available in LOGOS?  That would be a matter for your conscience; but as a former student and former educator (24 years in higher education), I can only recommend that you find a way to offer textbooks across the academic disciplines to as many students as possible.

Yours because His,

Floyd

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 11:59 AM

While I'm not fond of a plethora of names, I think a separate name is necessary. Many of the people who have answered "no" should not buy any Zondervan books by their logic. Harper & Row publishes books to which they have a moral objection. Yet by keeping the publishing arms separated by names, Harper & Row has continued to be a major player in the Christian books market.

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:00 PM

IMO, there isn't a Christian ethics, as few Christians are for non-resistance and against killing anything else than harmful animals. We can always organize our libraries, and that is recommended once You have more than 50 cherry-picked books from many different sets or not from sets or a few hundred books in Your personal Faithlife library. But considering ethics, being selective when buying doesn't help if the publisher puts out any objectionable books. I'm one of those who takes into consideration what publishers I favour. That's a bit of extra work, but not that complicated, it's not the most difficult thing to memorize or search. Building a library will always use up some brain-power anyway. Of course, it's possible to to just buy huge bundles in the first place in order to avoid as much as possible of cherry-picking and just thinking about the budget. But in a modern world, we shouldn't do everything that's possible.
I know I sound rigid and conservative saying these things. We had a Philosophy and Ethics class this Spring semester, during the end of the Winter. To me, applied ethics is about things such as caring, being selective and making choices, on top of being environmentally friendly and what I said in the beginning of this post. A student I talked to who is studying his second year, remarked that I put too much time and thought-power into micro-management and all the choices that can be made especially when it comes to books. But I defend that (which I didn't tell him) by that my goals are different: I'm not uni to accomplish everything that is possible to accomplish if being maximally focused, but to learn and make lots of choices while I study, both to learn things they teach and to do my own thinking and explore more denominations and to choose what areas and topics and religions I want to study during the rest of my life. So far, I've been able to make some really great choices that I'm proud of having made. The next thing I decided from start that I want to learn, is languages, and suddenly chose Hebrew over Greek when I had to make the final choice.
So You can remark that I don't get away cheap, I'm not maximally efficient when it comes to everything, and I'm even not using the full potential of the Verbum books I have. But, (humans are good at making plans) I plan to devote my life to research and studies. No, I don't have all the time in the world, I realize that especially since I'm not a youth since some years. Now I know what they teach at uni. If I can't get to take advanced classes soon, I'll make the best possible choices what books to read (preferably from my existing purchases) and teach myself some things I need to know in order to start search, researching and authoring. If I can't produce grades at a good pace, I'll produce pages for the one book I'll author, and a few years before I'll publish it I'll see to that I have a degree and check what I previously wrote in order to refine and avoid wrong conclusions and make my conclusions verifiable afterwards.
My opinion is that Faithlife shouldn't try to ship all theological viewpoints, whether intended for research-purposes or not. We've just being taking a class about ethnic discrimination and such today here at seminary. Faithlife spreads the interest thin. There are already some good books. When I think focus and budget allows me an opportunity to build my library a bit to make one purchase, I look at what's live, not what's on pre-pub, and ask a sales-rep for a discount, and I also usually follow what's on a sale (but I only subscribe to some email lists, and I look for what would really help me in my interests and research. Usually a pre-pub item is not that much newer than a live item in order to motivate to buy the pre-pub. I scan new pre-pubs every now and then but only in order to not to miss the early-bird offers that would definitive purchases, my requirements are pretty high - and in the end I cancel most of the ones which are just a very specific interest which I realize I won't devote my time to. I have a broad library but the purpose is not to fill all gaps. There are tremendously good books that are not live or in pre-pub yet, some of those by publishers which are not that present in the Logos, Verbum or Noet stores, but the ones I would be interested in are for example: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/95219/661888.aspx#661888 Perennial Philosophy -type of books comparing Christianity and Jainism; the 2004 Good News Translation UK-English 66-book Bible and the classic Encyclopedia Britannica (32 vols.). This in addition to being selective about what publishers catalogs to put on pre-pub:

CuTOP:
[...] I am not bothered by having junk also available for purchase.  I won't be buying it anyhow, but having access to great books otherwise unavailable would be a huge advantage.

And personal opinion, there is already plenty of "junk" on Vyrso anyhow.  Christian publishers are not immune from publishing worthless or junky material. [...]

Thanks for seeking to offer your customers choice and options.

Ben

Francis:
I agree with some of the previous posts that there is also the question of the company's identity. Becoming a distributor of shades of grey should not be a necessary condition for providing better access to Christian books. If some publishers try to impose the all or nothing approach, I would prefer personally that Logos retains a Christian distinctiveness even if it means less access. The intersection of ethics and business still matters to many of us.


Unlike with Accordance, it would be dangerous for Faithlife to pursue selective downloads, Bob can guess what I mean:

JimTowler:
It would also be nice if I could have my 200 GB library on my Intel i9, 23 GHz PC at home, but only a 20 GB subset downloaded and indexed on my Microsoft Surface Pro 5. Right now we get a choice of all or all on our desktops, which does not fit on small portables so well.


Well, kind of a good idea, but perhaps there should be some technical systems in place: such as also verifying users have read at least 10 pages of the books or when it comes to bigger books at least 5% of the pages and. Because I suspect, trying not to be judgmental, that many who currently rate books are being a bit sloppy about it. Also ratings with reviews consisting of 192 tokens of motivations should be given a little more weight. Also, reviews with ratings by those who send in their scanned grade documents (finished degrees shouldn't be required) using their university email addresses to Faithlife, should be give a little more weight. It may sound like I'm asking a whole lot, but I know the danger in starting to trust average ratings of a book too much thinking that if I haven't read it and most users who rated it have read a bit of it then they are right. I'm aware of that ratings can't be trusted. No, I don't think the system of users of the webstore having to rate the reviews would be helpful, first of all ratings with no reviews can't be rated nor even commented and no-one can request such raters to submit a review afterwards, second of all it's a massive amount of work to read thousands of reviews just to rate the reviews. I know because reading reviews has used up hundreds of hours of my time I could have put on focusing on doing better at uni such as writing papers and using more days to read for each test:

John Duffy:
Filtering good books (which is a variable definition, I know) has often been done physically in bookshops in town - they just don't put the books available from the publisher on the shelves of their shop.  Filtering can also be achieved in online stores by other means, such as community ratings.

One way of filtering the massive listing which publishers offer, to make a storefront more like the 'good Christian bookshop' in town, might be through community rating of titles.  If an option in our preferences on login to such an online store were to only display books which have already been rated above some threshold by a given number of users with Logos/Vyrso accounts (validated users who have actually purchased books), then the combined wisdom of Logos users could function in a similar way to the decision-making of the manager of the 'good Christian bookshop' in town.  Different rating tags for different denominations could further refine people's choices too, and so on.  As a starter, books which fall within certain categories might be given sufficiently high interim community ratings, which could be distinguished from actual community ratings which would build up over time.  Users could be asked on signup whether they want to be shown all books, or only those rated sufficiently highly by the community, or choose to see displayed only books from within certain categories.

That way, all books can be offered, but the user and the community could do the filtering, not Bob.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:20 PM

I'm still in favour of this, not least because I have 43 Christian books on my Kindle that I'd love to have bought in Logos format.

One possible way to minimise the impact of some of the more controversial content without getting into contractual issues would be to add an adult filter, so that by default erotic titles were not displayed. Initial filtering could be done programmatically, but with the option for users to report titles that have slipped through the net.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:21 PM

David Paul:

alabama24:

Bob would have to sell actual pornography.

I highly doubt that. Most respected publishers don't dabble in such stuff. There might be a few things that come close. Bob will have to think about it and decide for himself. I do admit that there have been many jobs over the years that I could have taken but didn't because I didn't want to have to explain my decision later.

Well as an owner of  the Joy of Gay Sex, I can promise you this HarperCollins title would be classified as pornography by most people. It is true that this guide is primarily an informational guide, the drawings tend to be extremely explicit. This is one example. I am almost sure numerous other examples could be found. I do not consider this a reason not to go ahead, you can go into most any bookstore and find this. Evil to the one who thinks evil of it. "The anti-papist literature was the pornography of the puritans." I am not trying to say "to the pure all things are pure" just that many items can be abused, even the Song of Solomon has been misused by some. We are ultimately responsible for our own choices and how we use things we have.

-Dan

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:21 PM

Actually, ST, I DO avoid all the ones you list.  Except Amazon.  I don't avoid them because I'm so sinful.  I think it has more to do with parental training back in the 50s.  

I'm not arguing yea/nay, but Zondervan is a good example.  Should Bob be the image of the Australian CEO?  On the other hand I'm sick of Zondervan not selling me titles at a low, low discount.

But then I think of a really, really big retailer that would not dream of offending their customer core with 'anything goes' assortment. Most of the time anyway.


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James Hudson | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:26 PM

I guess my main concern would be loss or lack of acquistion of good quality Christian publishers.

I'm not sure it would be a way to tempt back Moody or entice Banner of Truth to want to partner with you.

Yes I'd like lots of ebooks (I'd only buy the Christian studies ones!) but I'd MUCH MUCH rather not have all so we could get Moody and BoT for example!

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:26 PM

Dan Francis:
We are ultimately responsible for our own choices and how we use things we have.

As a paraphrase of Deut. 30:19, I agree.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:28 PM

James Hudson:

I guess my main concern would be loss or lack of acquistion of good quality Christian publishers.

I'm not sure it would be a way to tempt back Moody or entice Banner of Truth to want to partner with you.

Yes I'd like lots of ebooks (I'd only buy the Christian studies ones!) but I'd MUCH MUCH rather not have all so we could get Moody and BoT for example!

I'm pretty sure Moody, et al., sells through numerous channels that carry the "other" stuff already.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:30 PM

James Hudson:
I'm not sure it would be a way to tempt back Moody or entice Banner of Truth to want to partner with you.

...but Moody DOES partner with Faithlife... just not as "Logos" Editions. See HERE.

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:31 PM

John Goodman:

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;)

That's one of the most brilliant solutions I've seen! Yes Smile

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David Taylor Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:31 PM

David Paul:

James Hudson:

I guess my main concern would be loss or lack of acquistion of good quality Christian publishers.

I'm not sure it would be a way to tempt back Moody or entice Banner of Truth to want to partner with you.

Yes I'd like lots of ebooks (I'd only buy the Christian studies ones!) but I'd MUCH MUCH rather not have all so we could get Moody and BoT for example!

I'm pretty sure Moody, et al., sells through numerous channels that carry the "other" stuff already.

Once again, secular outlet vs faith based outlet.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 19 2015 12:45 PM

David Taylor Jr:

Once again, secular outlet vs faith based outlet.

I guess I need to ask you what you have in mind when you say "faith-based". Are you indicating something owned by a person who claims to have "faith"? Or are you describing a company that has a particular "image" and "content" that relates to "faith"? Is it one or the other, or both together, or some other permutation or description?

Fwiw, I think I already stated or at least indicated that FL, as much because of the name as anything else, shouldn't be directly associated with riff-raff.

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