FREE LIBRARY OF PERSONAL BOOKS THAT YOU CAN ADD TO YOUR LOGOS!! (Self-Publishing to Logos / Faithlife)

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Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Sep 27 2017 9:29 AM

Sorry for the clickbait title, but that is what self-publishing would enable. A huge number of new resources. 

The Idea 

Summary: Logos makes self-publishing possible while taking a cut of the sales. Similar to Apple’s App Store. Provide the distribution and integration, and let customers be responsible for their 3rd party content. 

Reasoning: Similar to Amazon Self-publishing or the App Store, it

(1) fills a huge need for customers by making content available that Logos would not be able to produce on their own,

(2) strengthens the platform and Faithlife brand by becoming much more robust and resource complete than any other product by far, and

(3) provides a new revenue source for Faithlife. 

Benefits For Logos/Faithlife

1. Lots of New Content (with little work)

  • Empower smaller publishers and authors to distribute their resources that will never otherwise get produced and published officially by Faithlife
  • Be a place to create and distribute content in languages with few resources, thereby encouraging content creation and sales in smaller markets. (More below)
  • Other programs like TheWord or e-sword or something that beginners use are very difficult to create resources for. But Word documents are very approachable format to create in, and the cross-platform distribution would be far and away better than any other app. (Get em while they are young.)
  • Also provides a way to have a powerful mobile app with the content in your language. Not just the Bible only. 
  • 3rd world countries often only have a smartphone, but there are virtually NO apps that have any kind of resources available across many languages. 
  • Cuts down on Logos work - empowers crowdsourcing while keeping Logos in control
  • Most support could be community powered through the forums
  • Disclaimer added to the content to distinguish it from official resources. Maybe on the download page, when it is opened for the first time, or something.
  • Greatly speeds up catalog expansion.
  • Content can be self-published first, tested, and then promoted and upgraded later (if popular) to the official catalog. You can work the deals to make this mutually beneficial. (More below)

2. New Revenue 

From Direct Sales

  • Allows anyone to produce content for them and make money for them.
  • Allows you to monetize your distribution network with content you didn’t have to prepare or license. Just set up the deal, and let people upload content.
  • Comparatively maybe not a whole lot, but the culmination of all the small publishers across the world add up, plus, all the customers you acquire in the process…

From Customer Acquisition 

  • Customer Lock-in for emerging markets (every language but English)
  • Other programs are more simple, but you could blow them out of the water with content by making it simple to add content to the platform, and thus making it impossible to ignore.
  • No other Bible Program could keep up once it became the goto place to easily publish content in that language.
  • It would be the go-to for new languages with few resources at this point. Each language, especially, is a potential whole new customer base!
  • Will it immediately be the most lucrative thing for Faithlife? No, but I think it is a good long-term investment in customer acquisition. It will fill a huge gap for customers with few resources in their language or just frustrated that they can’t get a certain resource. A pre-publish program can enable publishers to make their content available quickly and later possibly added to the official catalog. Thus becoming the place with the most plentiful resources and thus where new users, new languages, and new authors and publishers will begin to invest  — which in turn will convince new customers to use Logos over another program that may have just a handful of resources.
  • Think of how many customers Android and Apple gained, and Windows phone lost, just because windows didn’t have the app catalog. Enabling self-publishing would make you the behemoth in the space.

From content testing and selection

  • It would allow logos to cherry pick the best content to sell 
  • Vet and focus on languages - pre-create a customer base. 

For customers / publishers

  • Smaller publishers can publish content that would otherwise never get officially produced. 
  • It would greatly enhance sharing of resources. Better than trying to share a personal book that can never be updated.
  • Ratings, reviews, and download count could help people find good content.
  • All the less popular authors that have small but significant followings can distribute their things while giving you 30% of their sales.
  • Would GREATLY equip and empower the development of resources in non-English languages.
    • If Faithlife can’t keep up with demand of producing English resources, how will it ever keep up with hundreds of other languages?? It never will, but this would enable crowdsourcing of content to pour into the Faithlife ecosystem, making what is available extremely comprehensive.
    • I am a missionary, and there is a huge need for something like this to equip smaller languages.  Resources and tools are virtually non-existent, and the small market in minority Christian countries makes it very difficult to be profitable in publishing. These languages desperately need resources, but it is extremely difficult to be viable as a publisher or author when publishing and distribution is so expensive and the customer base is so small. It must be easier and cheaper and Faithlife could greatly facilitate publishing and discoverability. 
  • Bible study resources could be available in Logos for Bible study, other books could be available in other Faithlife reading apps and sites, and it would be a storefront and repository for people wanting and needing to learn. This would enable all of this and make it possible for resources to be developed and distributed in the smallest of markets.
  • THEREBY Logos becomes the unrivaled champion of content and features for Bible study software - leading to customer acquisitions for Logos and the whole suite of Faithlife products.
    • For example, I am in Thailand - 65 million people - but YouVersion is the only Bible app on mobile, and TheWord is the only program on PC. It has like 5 total resources in Thai, and is only available on PC, not even Mac. Making a way to create, access, and sync content across platforms would be so immensely better than what is currently available, there would be no contest.
    • This is not unique, my friend works in India and even though there are 1 billion people that speak Hindi, the amount of resources or Bible apps is extremely anemic. The barrier to entry is too high, but Faithlife lending their name and tools could become the place that makes it possible to collect and discover what is available.
  • This solves the Personal Book dilemma by enabling publishing, but also keeping you in control of approvals, and allowing you to profit from it!
  • With seeing the storefront and possibilities, it would encourage more work toward creating and self-publishing content.
  • You could buy a resource of sermons or devotionals, for example, and they could be continually updated with new content making it possible to always have the latest content from people you are interested in.

How it would work

  • Logos has a publisher program
  • Amp up documentation from personal books to facilitate the creation of quality resources
  • Publishers want to publish their content, so maybe let them publish with the possibility of maybe later having their resource upgraded it to an official resource and better deal.
  • Publishers or Authors have a publishing account that they use to publish to, so a small publisher just registers once and then publishes. 
  • Logos can choose to upgrade any resource or account to an official partner.
  • Upgrade licensing deal and resource when it goes official
  • Maybe it could replace or be another type of the current pre-pub or community pricing. 

FAQ’s (just mine)

How is it good for PUBLISHERS to be official with Logos if its already selling well? 

It will get the Logos treatment and polish and tagging and more prominent promotion.  The publisher can set the home-brew price, but Logos can do any markup they want on the official store while the publisher still gets the cut they require. 

How is it good for LOGOS to officially produce a resource that is doing well? 

They can take it off the unofficial store, upgrade it, set the price, and get a larger % of the sale?

Incentives for publishers 

They get an easy way to publish on a great platform. And they can work toward getting officially published to sell at a better deal. Maybe 2x the profit somehow. I don’t know, but I’m sure something could be figured out.

Will this replace personal books?

Sorta. But still need the personal book function to get other books in Logos that can’t be republished. For instance that were bought on Kindle, and brought into logos. But for the original purpose of making PERSONAL books, yes, and add in distribution.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 10:27 AM

Philip Bassham:
Summary: Logos makes self-publishing possible while taking a cut of the sales. Similar to Apple’s App Store.

This was originally part of the plan with personal books. 

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Posts 983
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 12:09 PM

Philip Bassham:

Summary: Logos makes self-publishing possible while taking a cut of the sales. Similar to Apple’s App Store. Provide the distribution and integration, and let customers be responsible for their 3rd party content. 

 

I very much like it.

Philip Bassham:

Will this replace personal books?

Sorta. But still need the personal book function to get other books in Logos that can’t be republished. For instance that were bought on Kindle, and brought into logos. But for the original purpose of making PERSONAL books, yes, and add in distribution.

I think there will still be a variety of reasons that an individual user might want to create a resource for personal use.  I would suggest:

  • Continuing to allow all users access to the tools for creating a personal resource without additional registration or paperwork;
  • Require registration for a user to distribute the resource in the FaithLife ecosystem.

That would allow users to create resources for their own personal use, or perhaps informal sharing with a few friends, and also to gain experience with how it all works before registering as a "publisher" and uploading resources for distribution.  As a side benefit, I suspect that FaithLife will see better quality resources if they allow this sort of informal opportunity to learn how to create resources first.

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 12:28 PM

Philip Bassham:

Summary: Logos makes self-publishing possible while taking a cut of the sales. Similar to Apple’s App Store. Provide the distribution and integration, and let customers be responsible for their 3rd party content. 

Reasoning: Similar to Amazon Self-publishing or the App Store, it

(1) fills a huge need for customers by making content available that Logos would not be able to produce on their own,

(2) strengthens the platform and Faithlife brand by becoming much more robust and resource complete than any other product by far, and

(3) provides a new revenue source for Faithlife. 

Profit = Revenue - Expenses

Like idea of publishing through Faithlife provided Faithlife does not lose money.

Faithlife could have an automated plagiarism checker before offering a title for sale (avoid repeat of academic embarrassments and copyright issues).

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 6:34 PM

alabama24:

This was originally part of the plan with personal books. 

Any idea why it never came?

I am in contact with several publishers here in Thailand, and I know they would be interested in partnering up to have a new sales channel. Especially one that enhanced and added value to their content by putting it in so many apps and platforms. (Still 99% analog here for books, though everyone has a smartphone.)

Plus, with the new Logos webapp greatly lowering the bar for entry, both in system requirements and accessability for less computer literate, I think this is a huge opportunity for all the Sunday School level people that just want some resources and basic Bible tools to use in their language.

And if Faithlife had someone who was a ‘Publisher Ambassador’ to contact all the smaller publishers, showing the benefits of making their content available, I think that would pay for itself. Sets of books becoming available at a time, and all those publishers turned into salesmen pushing the Faithlife brand. (Which, I will say again, would be the only digital option in most languages.)

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 7:09 PM

Philip Bassham:
And if Faithlife had someone who was a ‘Publisher Ambassador’ to contact all the smaller publishers, showing the benefits of making their content available, I think that would pay for itself.

That kind of exists with Vyrso. 

Philip Bassham:
Any idea why it never came?

Originally FL (Bob) viewed "personal books" as personal books (i.e. ones that users created; their own content). FL quickly found out that many users were converting books from other formats. This presents two challenges: 1) legal and 2) business model. It isn't good business to let users compete against your own sales! 

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Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 7:36 PM

I think Personal Books are still a very important tool to keep.

But I think having a way to legitimately capture and sell the long tail of resources via self-publishing would greatly cut down on its abuse, while potentially adding significant revenue. 

From Wikipedia on Long Tail:

”The distribution and inventory costs of businesses successfully applying a long tail strategy allow them to realize significant profit out of selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The total sales of this large number of "non-hit items" is called "the long tail".”

Posts 1984
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 9:24 PM

alabama24:
This presents two challenges: 1) legal and 2) business model. It isn't good business to let users compete against your own sales! 

Legitimate concerns. 

I should review my PB's but I am pretty sure that if Logos produces a book I have gone to trouble to create in PB format, I will buy it if it becomes available.  The books I have in PB are 1) books I own that I really want NOW, or 2) my own productions 3) books Logos isn't likely to ever produce.  I wonder if many folks aren't the same.  

I wonder if Logos would benefit from looking at PB's people produce to determine what people want but Logos does not have.

Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 28 2017 12:38 AM

alabama24:
This presents two challenges: 1) legal and 2) business model. It isn't good business to let users compete against your own sales! 

To address these challenges, i am talking about

1) Publishing things that you have the rights to, not open season for piracy or sharing stuff you bought somewhere else. And just like the App Store, Logos has approval and removal power. I am talking a storefront that will be licenced under Faithlife, but not with Logos’ involvement in the production of the content.

2) The business model is something like:

  • People and Smaller Publishers produce and sell their own stuff through Faithlife store, licensed under Faithlife. Obviously not for making stuff Logos sells available at a cheaper price. 
  • Publishers set their own price, but Faithlife takes a percentage of the sale, maybe 30% like the App Store, for the use of their distribution network
  • Maybe there is a ‘developers fee’ to cover overhead per year. LIke $100 a year or something. Hopefully cheaper bearing in mind that this is for unpopular resources. But it should cover the overhead. 
  • Money goes to Faithlife, and Faithlife distributes it to publishers 
  • Faithlife can choose to upgrade Unofficial resources to Official ones and take them off the store so there is no internal competition. Adjusting the terms in the process. Incentivizing people to pre-produce content in hopes it will get picked up officially. 
Posts 3520
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 28 2017 2:40 AM

I believe that Vyrso distributes books from lesser known or starting authors but perhaps they don't and only deal with publishers, some of whom do publish lesser known or starting authors.

Perhaps it is becoming more important to clarify the concept of "personal" book. Many PBs are not actually "books". It can be course notes converted to a logos resource format or other eclectic materials for personal use.

Yet soon, PBs were produced to make published works available in Logos. This certainly was applicable to public domain works and as noted earlier, some people thought that they were entitled to convert a work they owned from one electronic format to Logos for personal use and convenience. But soon issues surfaced: the works of Calvin were an early example of this. Public domain copies can be found and can be made into a "personal" book, but Logos also sells Calvin. So personal books became for some users a way to save money that competed with Logos sales. 

But some of what you say sound more like using PBs as a means of distribution (in which case they are no longer quite "personal"). There have been unofficial means of distribution. There was a site called "Truth is still Truth" (from TCBlack I think) and there are documents shared on the Faithlife community groups. Are you asking for something more official, like for instance, the possibility of publishing through Vyrso? 

Personally I like to think of Vyrso as a messier library of all kinds of publications in which I could very well see John Doe's My Spiritual Thoughts to Share with the World publish but hopefully not clutter the Logos store with an influx of such publications. Moreover, vyrso books are not tagged whereas most of Logos' are in some way or other. Since I don't see smaller authors tagging their resources or it being worthwhile for Logos to do it for them, I would think that Vyrso, from this standpoint also, would be the way to go.

Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 29 2017 8:20 PM

Right. I am talking about opening up an official way to make content available in Logos. A storefront for 3rd party content. 

I dont know much about Vyrso, so maybe that is already halfway there. 

But I am talking about making it possible to self-create full-featured resources, not just plain text books, but also be able to mark Headwords, Verse Anchor points, etc. to make commentaries and dictionaries work correctly. 

If you are thinking, ”Meh.” I can understand.

But I am thinking the main potential will be from non-English languages. While 1 Billion people speak English, there are 6 Billion that dont. So, this is to allow Logos to be useful in those languages.

Anecdotely, I work in church planting and preparing leaders in Thailand, and would LOVE to be able to point them to a tool other than YouVersion that was multi-platform, had some resources in their language, and some basic tools that would be useful for study. But there is no robust, cross-platform, modern solution.

So, I am just saying that Logos could be this solution, and I think this would be the easiest door to open that would make Faithlife/Logos useful to those 6 billion people.

Posts 2239
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 30 2017 4:09 AM

Philip Bassham:

I am in contact with several publishers here in Thailand, and I know they would be interested in partnering up to have a new sales channel. Especially one that enhanced and added value to their content by putting it in so many apps and platforms. (Still 99% analog here for books, though everyone has a smartphone.)

Currently PB are only usable on the PC or MAC platforms and not on the Mobile devices.  

Another project that went nowhere.  Loading PB to Mobile apps. 

Faithlife allows us to put the PB on its servers so that we can use PB on all of our computers with our recompiling them on each machine but does not go the next step of moving them to Mobile apps. 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 30 2017 6:38 AM

Philip Bassham:
I dont know much about Vyrso

VYRSO is the "ebook" store for Faithlife. They are auto converted from the publisher files. These are typically the kinds of resources you would find at your typical "Christian Book Store" (rather than your seminary / academic book store, which is what "Logos" editions are). Logos edition resources are "value added," whereas Vyrso edition resources are "bare bones" (but do include auto hyperlinked scripture references, which work fairly well in most cases... but not all. There are some spectacular failures. 

Philip Bassham:
But I am talking about making it possible to self-create full-featured resources, not just plain text books, but also be able to mark Headwords, Verse Anchor points, etc. to make commentaries and dictionaries work correctly. 
 

This is something different altogether. At one point, FL allowed other companies to arrange deals with publishers and to create material which could be sold by them and integrate into Logos. Since the debut of FL's online store, those deals have been drying up and all resource files are created "in house." 

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doc | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 30 2017 6:13 PM

Philip Bassham:

So, I am just saying that Logos could be this solution, and I think this would be the easiest door to open that would make Faithlife/Logos useful to those 6 billion people.

I wish I shared your optimism when it comes to FL but I believe the door is fairly well locked on them being the solution you want. While it is quite possible from a technical point of view from comments made by the leadership of this company in the past on this sort of thing I don't believe at this point in time they would see this as part of their business model and to be frank they are struggling to do what they have already taken on and promised customers. I would not want to see them add another distraction to the list.

Posts 936
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 2 2017 11:19 PM

Gao Lu:
I should review my PB's but I am pretty sure that if Logos produces a book I have gone to trouble to create in PB format, I will buy it if it becomes available.  The books I have in PB are 1) books I own that I really want NOW, or 2) my own productions 3) books Logos isn't likely to ever produce.  I wonder if many folks aren't the same.  

My thoughts exactly. As far as I am aware, on the rare occasions where Logos have produced a book that I have already got as a PB, I have bought the book and deleted my PB. Most of my PBs would be unlikely to have enough interest for Logos to sell.

Posts 3520
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 3 2017 12:51 AM

Philip Bassham:
But I am thinking the main potential will be from non-English languages. While 1 Billion people speak English, there are 6 Billion that dont. So, this is to allow Logos to be useful in those languages.

I totally agree that there is a great need there. The question to be asked is whether it is not asking too much of one company to cater to everything that users can think of that would be useful. In many ways, Faithlife is already stretched too thin. With every language they publish in, support needs are created. 

I am wondering if there would not rather be a place for a third party company publishing in Logos format like Thomas Nelson, AMG, and other publishers used to. I am not sure whether it is these companies that have renounced this kind of publishing or Faithlife that has preferred not to continue to have third-party publishing. If not the latter, then there would be room perhaps for a more missions-oriented publishing company. 

Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 3 2017 3:25 AM

Francis:

I totally agree that there is a great need there. The question to be asked is whether it is not asking too much of one company to cater to everything that users can think of that would be useful. In many ways, Faithlife is already stretched too thin. With every language they publish in, support needs are created. 

I am wondering if there would not rather be a place for a third party company publishing in Logos format like Thomas Nelson, AMG, and other publishers used to. I am not sure whether it is these companies that have renounced this kind of publishing or Faithlife that has preferred not to continue to have third-party publishing. If not the latter, then there would be room perhaps for a more missions-oriented publishing company. 

The latter 3rd party publishing is actually what I am talking about. One company CAN’T cater to everything, that is kind of my point. But if they set up an official channel for 3rd party publishers, all the publishers that were interested could take advantage of it. 

Just like Apple/Google cant make every app, so they set up app stores for 3rd party content, and now they have millions. 

So, I am proposing that Logos just set up the App Store equivilent, not that they actually produce any of the resources. 

Posts 1856
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 3 2017 5:04 AM

Francis:
I am wondering if there would not rather be a place for a third party company publishing in Logos format like Thomas Nelson, AMG, and other publishers used to. I am not sure whether it is these companies that have renounced this kind of publishing or Faithlife that has preferred not to continue to have third-party publishing.

This goes back to the sting...the major change that took place from L3 to L4.  Many were surprised at the decision of Logos to go it alone.  The reasoning given was that once a 3rd party published, it was up to Logos to update, fix tagging, edit etc and they said it was too much.  Of course Vyrso has the same issues, and yet FL seems not to be bothered by it. 

Many of us still remember the days of Libronix (L3) and this model and feel it was a mistake to get rid of the model.  Given the rise of Vyrso, it really makes less sense.  The quality of 3rd party resources such as AMG were much better than Vyrso is today.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 3 2017 6:38 AM

Philip Bassham:
So, I am proposing that Logos just set up the App Store equivilent, not that they actually produce any of the resources.

It isn't as simple as that. If people start selling copyrighted material, FL goes out of business. 

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Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 3 2017 7:29 AM

No, that is why I am saying, just like the App Store, they are the gatekeeper. They decide what is allowed. 

They can make it where they have to approve everything before it is live, or If they dont want that approval process overhead, they can just make it where they can remove anything that violates their terms, which they write. Including reserving the right to ‘upgrade’ any 3rd party content on their store to 1st party content and remove it from the 3rd party store. I think some favorable terms could be worked out for that.

It’s their store, and they decide what is allowed on the shelves.

This is just opening it up (1) for them to profit from 3rd party non-competing resources and (2) for those resources to make Logos thrive by crowdsourcing solutions (under their supervision) to what is lacking in content. Therefore making the product fulfil the needs of more people (customers). 

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