Logos only lets your transfer book Licenses once???

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 11:31 AM

Tony Thomas:
As Logos does not make money on the secondary market for their resources, it is clear that they want to limit "horse trading" as much as they can.

Kinda like Walmart? I feel like I am trapped in another episode of American Greed. To maximize profits:

  • Logos quit selling in Bible book stores (Zondervan, Mardel's, etc)
  • Logos squeezed out third-party resellers (Rejoice Christian Software, etc)
  • Logos quit licensing their platform to third-party publishers (IVP, Galaxie, etc)
  • Logos now wants to prevent re-sales

This week, in response to the dollar-grab: 

  1. I have deleted all my Community Pricing orders ($7000+)
  2. I have deleted most of my Pre-Pub list ($23,000+)
  3. I have deleted almost all of my Wishlists

Q: How is that maximizing profits working for you, Logos?

Right now, Dave Kaplan is the only thing about Logos that makes me smile. 

I once sat across the table from a preacher who said to me, "You know I am lying. I know I am lying. But you will never get me to admit it to anyone else."    I got sick to my stomach. That nausea has returned; not because of any lie, but because of the failure of Logos to own up to a change of practice in regards to re-saleability of licenses.  

Bob says it is because of serial refunders and transfer abusers. But I got the email in black and white, "Once transferred, an item may not be transferred again."  If Logos wants to change business practices, I must too. I can not afford to bind all my licenses into one I can only bequeath.

 

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Tony Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 11:39 AM

It is clear that Logos may not be the perfect e-book platform for everyone.  

There are certainly other choices out there.  However, I am not sure that you will find licensing terms that are less limiting with any other company.

And that is the rub....

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Posts 3950
abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 11:41 AM

.

L2 lvl4, L3 Scholars, L4 Scholars, L5 Platinum,  L6 Collectors. L7 Baptist Portfolio. L8 Platinum & Baptist Platinum.

Posts 11054
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 11:51 AM

Uh oh.   'Serial refunders.'   

I knew that third refund of the OT Discourse package was going to get me in big hot water.  Or those resources that didn't have Libronix equivs.  The Logos lady seemed so incredulous (though very nice).

I sure hope I don't get a legal-beagle email like ST did.  Heaven only knows what he's been up to.  Buying $50,000 worth of books from Logos.  No wonder he got in such big trouble.  I've been more careful, spreading out my Logos purchases so Logos wouldn't notice.

Now his star is an issue.  Transfer rights on a star.  That'd be interesting.

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

Posts 18
David Dobbs | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 11:57 AM

ST, I understand your frustration.  Like you, I was doing a lot of my logos book shopping through 3rd parties.  I wanted to get the biggest bang for my buck.  What can I say, I am a frugal shopper.  But now I feel that was selfish of me.  One of the reasons we all love logos so much is because they are producing an excellent product, to say the least, and that product cost money (Lots of money and lots of man power).  I should have been willing to pay what this product was worth rather than trying to get it for free.  I now feel like I have cheated logos and a lot of hard working employees.  And so once again, I would like to say to all the logos employees, I am very sorry!  I am worried now, as a result of starting this forum, I have caused a lot of negative light to come on them and cost them money.  Also I am worried if more people do what I used to do, shop for the best price through 3rd parties, we will all get what we pay for, a cheap product that is not worth very much.   

Posts 408
Erik | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 11:59 AM

Tony Thomas:

It is clear that Logos may not be the perfect e-book platform for everyone.  

There are certainly other choices out there.  However, I am not sure that you will find licensing terms that are less limiting with any other company.

And that is the rub....

Exactly.  Logos is by far the most generous licensor that I have come across.  That's not to say there isn't room for industry wide improvement however.  Until (and if) an industry standard format for eBooks is adopted, I don't see the situation changing.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:03 PM

David ... I hate to mention this but some people are not exactly wealthy and buy used, so they can feed their kids.  Not trying to argue and you're welcome to feel selfish (I'm not sure of your wealth status).

But unfortunately, if ST indeed did what he did (and we don't have proof yet), Bob may have to 'fire someone today'.  ST singularly funds a position at Logos through his immense purchasing support (not to mention his enthusiasm being far superior to anything Logos marketing can come up with).

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

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:07 PM

Tony Thomas:
And while we’re happy to transfer libraries, and always want to do the right thing by our customers, we do not want to support people re-selling every $10 title in their large collection (purchased at 90% off retail) for $1 each.

I am selling my 40 volume NICOT/NICNT  and my 69 volume Hermeneia/Continental Commentaries. I did not buy them for 99% off and they are not selling for $1 each and there will be only two licenses to transfer. 

I am not a seminary student, a pastor, or a missionary. I have WBC and many others that will suffice. Most of my family and friends are Independent Christian Church or Fundamentalist Baptists. They are not interested in my library. I will be a lot slower to buy any resources that I can't dispose of if I find they are not needed.

To my best recollection, I have never sold a Logos resource to a third party until last week. (EDIT There was that Scholar Silver I sold.) I have gifted resources from my wife's account to my dad (a minister) for Father's Day. Yes, I bought my wife her own Logos package.

Logos should have never told me my licenses were transferable if they did not intend to keep their word.

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Posts 442
Tony Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:15 PM

So, what is the solution to all of this?

Since we are buying a limited license and not a physical book, perhaps the prices should be MUCH lower.  

I have always believed, with very few exceptions, that e-book prices should be lower than the prices of physical books. 

Truthfully, I buy far more books from Amazon than I do from Logos these days because the prices are prohibitive.  And as I read a lot of stuff from dead guys in the public domain, the price is usually $1-3 per e-book.  

Plus, the sale prices on many of the newer e-books I get are incredibly low compared to what Logos wants.  And there are many books on sale every week.

I have most of the reference works I need, so my recent purchases from Logos have been few and far between.

Would I buy more e-books from Logos if prices were lower?  Certainly.  

Does that make any difference to Logos?  I am not really sure.  

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Erik | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:22 PM

model

Super.Tramp:

Tony Thomas:
As Logos does not make money on the secondary market for their resources, it is clear that they want to limit "horse trading" as much as they can.

Kinda like Walmart? I feel like I am trapped in another episode of American Greed. To maximize profits:

  • Logos quit selling in Bible book stores (Zondervan, Mardel's, etc)
  • Logos squeezed out third-party resellers (Rejoice Christian Software, etc)
  • Logos quit licensing their platform to third-party publishers (IVP, Galaxie, etc)

I look at these situations in perhaps a different light.  I certainly am not privy to Logos' licensing negotiations with publishers, but I do know that since Logos took these actions the number of resources available in Logos has increased exponentially.  Rather than "greed", it seems just as likely to me that Logos realized that the old model was not going to allow them to expand their product offerings with publishers being reluctant to have their works sold in an unsecure physical format.  The move to downloaded sales offers a greater level of security and control to make the publishers happy...and customers benefit from the increased availability of resources.  No it's not perfect, but if the choice is between the current situation and going back to limited product offerings offered on physical media, I will choose the former.  I personally see no evidence of "greed" on the part of Logos.  The legal and financial construct of what Logos does is extremely complicated and juggling the needs of the three major interests (customers, publishers, Logos) is not an easy task.  I think that Logos does this very well for the most part and although I'm in the camp that takes issue with a "one transfer" rule, I am personally not going to "jump ship" when the alternatives offer an even worse alternative.

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:23 PM

I'm always wary of the use of extreme examples to justify policy. I guess it's caveat emptor.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:23 PM

David Dobbs:
I was doing a lot of my logos book shopping through 3rd parties.

But David, I have purchased less than 1% of my library from 3rd parties. I mostly bought things that Logos no longer sells. Things like MacArthur's NT Commentaries, Bill Bright Collection, etc.  I used to be the forum pitbull when it came to others posting links to outside sales of Logos resources. (One reason some resent my MVP star.)

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:40 PM

Erik:
and customers benefit from the increased availability of resources.

That might explain Moody pulling all their books form Logos but leaving them in WordSearch. When I purchased the Zondervan Bible Reference Bundles 1, 2 and 3  Logos allowed license re-saleability. Should that not be grandfathered in so I can re-sell them if I choose? I believe that possibility should have been part of the negotiations.

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Erik | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:53 PM

Super.Tramp:

Erik:
and customers benefit from the increased availability of resources.

That might explain Moody pulling all their books form Logos but leaving them in WordSearch. When I purchased the Zondervan Bible Reference Bundles 1, 2 and 3  Logos allowed license re-saleability. Should that not be grandfathered in so I can re-sell them if I choose? I believe that possibility should have been part of the negotiations.

The Moody situation seems to be an outlier and seems just as likely to me to have been an issue related to royalties.  Logos' sensitivity to absorbing a specific royalty rate may in fact be much different than "the other guys" due to production cost considerations.  I don't see the Moody example as indicative of or related to the present situation.  The EULA has not changed as far as I can tell, rather this situation is a policy change that would technically be allowed under the EULA.  I'm not saying I'm in favor of such a policy, but the argument against it cannot be made from the EULA as far as I can tell. 

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 12:53 PM

SuperTramp has a valid concern. His whole purchase structure may have been based on the concept when he was done with a resource he could sell it. The secondary market is going to demand fire sale pricing knowing they can never sell it. I at one time owned (for 20 days) NIC... looking over it I saw no real additional value to me, I am sure some volumes are good but reading over it for those days I did not find I was getting much value out of it and called and returned it. Had I bought it at a discounted price from someone I would be stuck with a resource that is definitely not for me. Knowing I am stuck with a resource I cannot get rid of if I don't care for it I am not likely to buy it from a secondary source unless I am 100% sure I want it. A person like myself or guessing ST who have limited incomes may well have thought I will get NIC, and if times become too tight I can sell it. But now he learns selling it is not the ideal option he had thought it might be. Perhaps even worse yet he bought something second hand he was not 100% sure of but he assumed he could sell it. I am very upset with the ethics of Christians that allowed them to feel they could or even should cheat Logos (do I think Christian works should be free YES, in an ideal world, but we do not live in some ideal Christian commune world where all is shared as each has need. Logos must abide by laws of copyright, and authors deserve to get ever penny they are entitled, lest they leave their fields to make a living elsewhere). Logos needs to protect itself from the abusers; and i will admit the secondary market cannibalizes some sales but by restricting a resource to pass only once they have severely crippled the secondary market. I do not have the answer, if Logos set up some secondary market that was automated they might get much money from transfers, but in addition to losing sales they would make the cheaters job easier. "Why have our own legal books when we can buy them lock it away them away in a virtual machine and sell them and the next student do that till the entire class has done it". That is not fair and could end up costing Logos hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have no idea if the Portfolio package was the one passed around 90 times, and I have no idea if it was students doing it (I had simply hoped that it was young people who had done such a stupid thing, as children sometimes do).

-Dan

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 1:00 PM

Erik:
, it seems just as likely to me that Logos realized that the old model was not going to allow them to expand their product offerings with publishers being reluctant to have their works sold in an unsecure physical format. 

Logos is a very secure format Kindle where most everything can be purchased can be hacked into and turned into an unprotected ebook in seconds. Yet publishers do not place their books in Kindle. Publishers should be clambering to have their works in Logos because it is secure. I am not jumping ship either, but I am also less than happy to know that an option I always thought I had is less attractive.

-Dan

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 1:07 PM

Helen, David Dobbs, and Tony Thomas,

You may not know me but I have been a Logos fanatic since 2008. I sold my classic cars and guitar collection (around 30 now) to buy Logos resources. I have 6 kids (out of 13) still living at home and eating ramen, hot dogs, and mac & cheese so I can buy more Logos. I have fore-gone vacations to buy more Logos.

I  am a double-amputee and have been legally blind for the last 13 months. I am 54 and seriously doubt I make it to 70. I am not in the ministry. Some would say I am foolish to be buying Logos resources. I just took Logos at face value when they said I can transfer individual licenses. 

Sorry for my dis-enchantment.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 1:24 PM

Erik:
but the argument against it cannot be made from the EULA as far as I can tell. 

I agree.  I believe Logos can do it, and apparently has done it.

 I don't like the way they won't admit the change in re-saleability.  Own up to it, Bob. 

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 2:04 PM

  • I have deleted all my Community Pricing orders ($7000+)
  • I have deleted most of my Pre-Pub list ($23,000+)
  • I have deleted almost all of my Wishlists

I did this a number of months ago - for a variety of reasons:

  1. LOGOS' attitudes
  2. LOGOS' sales policies
  3. My Budget
  4. Attitudes of LOGOS fanatics
  5. etc.

At the same time I have been buying resources from a number of other Bible software and e-book publishers.  

Having followed this thread for several days, I am feeling more comfortable with my decision.  I have been a LOGOS user since about 2002 - but am certainly less so now.

Blessings,
Floyd

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Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Aug 30 2014 2:20 PM

Super.Tramp:
Q: How is that maximizing profits working for you, Logos?

Here's another way of thinking of it. (One that has the benefit of being the truth.)

Ending distribution -- through stores, third-party resellers, etc. -- allowed us to reduce prices. Before, if you spent $100, I got $50, and had to run the business on that. Now, if you spend $100, I get it all. The publisher (and thus author) gets twice as much in royalties (happier publishers) and I have to sell half as much to cover costs. In theory I could keep that extra $50 and roll around in a bank vault full of gold coins, but in reality what we did is produce books that otherwise couldn't have covered costs, hired more people to write more code and create more original scholarship, put more value into every box, etc. Now you get for $50 what you used to get for $100, and if you spend $100 we're using it to do more for you -- it doesn't go into a vault full of gold coins.

Our profit margin is smaller now than it was when we sold through re-sellers. Last year our profit as a percentage of revenue was lower again, as it had been for a few years. This year it'll be lower still, based on present trends. (Don't worry for us -- it's actually intentional. We're investing in growth, new projects, and things that we hope will pay off down the road.)

We've dramatically accelerated our library growth; we're able to get things out of pre-pub or CP with fewer unit sales. We've created lots of new content with in-house scholars, and given much more away. We're putting more value in our base packages than ever before, and continue to revise and improve old resources with new tagging and maintenance.

I'm having an internal discussion about eliminating the 'one-transfer-only' rule. I can't guarantee I'll win that -- there may be more abuses/reasons than I'm aware of, and I need to get input from multiple people. But if we keep the license transfer fee, and possibly put different informal restrictions in place (reserving the right to refuse 'abusive' transfers -- like more than one of the same resource per week, or more than 4 transfers in a year, etc.) I think we could eliminate it.

Again, as I repeat over and over, our only solid policy is doing the right thing for the customer, and these lightweight policies/guidelines that emerge organically over time are simply our team's response to abuse problems, and ways to 'call it out' in advance / provide a rule we can cite if/when we need to invoke it. But clearly it's offending our best customers, and we don't want that.

If you'll all forgive some bluntness -- since nothing else seems to be able to kill this thread:

A large investment in Logos resources is incredibly safe because we're not complete idiots. (Though it feels like it this week!) We're a business, and when you spend money with a business that wants to keep you as a customer -- as we do -- part of what you're buying is goodwill and attention. 

If you have a large investment in Logos resources, we are going to do whatever reasonable thing you ask of us. You can will your library, transfer books, ask for and receive my personal cell number and treat me as your 24/7 tech support agent.

Because this is a business, and you're the customer, and the best customers are treated like royalty at any business not run by idiots. And we try hard to not be idiots.

Let's put things even more bluntly:

There are 2,496,113 people using the Logos platform, including free and mobile apps. The majority of these people have not yet purchased anything from us, yet some use our servers, ask questions, call tech support, etc. and cost something to support. We do that in the hope they'll become paying customers (and, in some small way, as a service to the church and the greater community -- we like it when people read the Bible!).

Something over 10% of people with Logos accounts have actually purchased something, for as little as $1. We love these people, and hope they'll buy more, but since it costs $20 to answer the phone (really -- do the math with an average salary, estimated call-length, tech, rent, healthcare, overhead, etc.) we have to be careful how much hands-on interaction we have with each customer.

And, in a not unusual but still frustrating pattern, the lowest-spenders are often the most expensive to support. People who have more financial resources tend to be more transactional: "How much? I'll take it. Here's my credit card." (Actually, they often just buy online and take no interaction.) People with tighter resources need more time: "How much? Hmm... is there a discount? What if I bought it this way? How about I return X and Y and then buy Z for the difference? What if I...."

Again, that's not surprising and it is very responsible on their part -- everyone needs to steward their resources carefully, and everyone has their own formula for valuing time vs. dollars. When something is relatively expensive to me, I invest more time in shopping, researching, negotiating, etc. (Unfortunately, time costs the same per hour on our end, regardless of the transaction size.)

What's really amazing is that nearly 25% of our gross revenue comes from just 1% of the paying customers. (Not 1% of the 2.5 million users -- 1% of the just over 10% of those who pay. So 1/10th of 1% of accounts!)

That's you! Because if you care enough to be in the forums -- if you care enough to be discussing (or even reading!) about license transfer policies -- you're probably in that 1% and we really love and appreciate you! Not only do you pay our bills and provide the income that pays our salaries, feeds, clothes, and houses our families -- you're the people who use our tools every week!

So you can have whatever you want. We will do anything to make you happy. 

Please remember, though, that when the phone rings, or an email goes into customer service, even if it's from a paying customer, there is a 99 out of 100 chance that it's from someone who generates very little income for us. And some of those people not only generate little income, they're very expensive to support, and essentially you're subsidizing our support of them -- we have to cover costs, and you generate the most revenue!

There are solutions: we could tier our support. We could have a hotline for the best customers. We could make the phone ring a different tone when big spenders call.

This isn't unusual. It's the 'platinum level' of an airline frequent flyer club. It's the VIP program at a car rental company. It's just standard good business.

And maybe someday we'll do that. But for now, we still want to be awesome for everybody. We want to offer excellent service to all our customers. It's who we want to be, and how we want to be, and we think it's good business. We want a great reputation for great service. We want 'not so profitable customers' to become 'very profitable customers', and we think that hiding our best service effort behind a VIP hotline isn't the best way to earn those new great customers.

However, 'everybody' is a big list of not (yet) that profitable customers, and it also includes the super-creative discount seekers, system exploiters, and rare (but sadly still common) outright abusers, as I've explained earlier. So we have these loose policies we can quote back when necessary, and which we sometimes promulgate up front to discourage people from trying to exploit the system. And sometimes we accidentally grow 'rules' that become a little less flexible on the front line than they should be. (That's why we're open door, and quick to respond to any 'appeal' by a customer.)

Now maybe we've outgrown this system. Maybe our recent success at bringing on more free and low-revenue customers (part of our attempt to grow our market) has forced us to sound more policy-ruled than we actually are. Maybe we really do need to start segmenting our customer service experience between low and high-end customers. Maybe I am just an idiot, trying to walk too fine a line between 'enough policies to stay safe and enough flexibility to stay awesome,' and foolish to think that 'trust me' is a good enough answer for my best customers. Maybe it's time to publish a big book of rules and promises that we can quote at each other. (Which would make me sad.)

And maybe it's a waste of time, trying to explain/defend our thinking in such detail. 

This thread is a real wake-up call. I am crushed to think that Super Tramp is canceling future orders -- to the tune of an annual salary! -- because of a single statement we made about a policy we only enforce sporadically, when needed, and would never apply to an incredible customer like him.

Clearly that wasn't a good investment, and cost us far more than it saved, just with one user -- and who knows how many others of you reading this and not posting...

So we'll take this to heart, discuss changes in our operations, and try even harder to earn your trust and knock down 'policy' growth.

But I hope you'll take from this, if nothing else, that none of this is about 'maximizing profits' or 'greed'. It's about the everyday challenge of staying in business when you're balancing the needs of 2.5 million low-revenue users against the different needs of the few thousand people who pay the bills.

-- Bob

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