@FL: Sales & Country Restrictions

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This post has 34 Replies | 6 Followers

Posts 762
Armin | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Feb 26 2019 8:35 PM

Dear Faithlife,

For the last 16 years, I have been building my Logos library. I prefer having everything in one place. However, very often I am forced to buy things for Kindle. Many times, books are on sale on Amazon, B&N, Apple Books, Google, KOBO, CBD, but not on Logos or Faithlife. And even when they are on sale in Faithlife, they have country restrictions. However, I can buy these books on Kindle even without being located in the USA.

Given that so many outlets can sell these books, what prevents Faithlife from getting the same sales price? Why does Faithlife have more country restrictions than Amazon? Just now, I wanted to purchase three books on sale in Faithlife but could only purchase one of them. Two had country restrictions in Faithlife, but I bought them on Amazon.

I must admit that I don't understand the publishing business. But as end user and lover of books, it is a frustrating experience. 

Armin

Posts 762
Armin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 26 2019 8:41 PM

I just saw this post:

https://community.logos.com/forums/p/177623/1027201.aspx#1027201

Let's hope Logos will be able to sell soon some of these books internationally at the same discount as Amazon.

Posts 32
Adam | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 26 2019 9:21 PM

I also understand your frustration Armin as I originally bought this up a couple of months ago as I have purchased half of a set of books before the country restrictions kicked in

Faithlife did advise they are working on renegotiating the deal I was talking about (HarperCollins i think) but would be keen to know if there's been any progress as I really do prefer the Faithlife capabilities that the books would offer

Posts 959
Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 26 2019 10:26 PM

It's understandable that books are generally available at sale prices internationally from the Kindle store given Amazon's size. What's more frustrating is that other Bible software stores are able to sell the books that have international restrictions through Faithlife - in particular the eBooks site.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 26 2019 11:05 PM

Armin:
Why does Faithlife have more country restrictions than Amazon?

I can vouch for Amazon having a number of resources with restrictions - I often look at international Amazon sites for books not available on the main (American) Amazon site. When I find the resource on .in, .uk, .ca, or .de, I then have to check to see if it can be delivered to a US address. Many cannot be.

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

Posts 885
Kolen Cheung | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 1:26 AM

Armin:
Why does Faithlife have more country restrictions than Amazon?

I'd like to point out Amazon is like the de facto ebook retailer. They have questionable tactics to sell ebook at lost to drive competitors out of business. Back then they were practically monopoly (until iBooks (a.k.a. Apple Books lately) enters the scene.)

Also while Logos is like the best Bible software you can find, Faithlife in the eBook front seems not doing very well (as they enters that market pretty late and really in eBooks nothing but price can differentiate Logos/Faithlife from the crowds and nowadays no one is ever to have any price advantage over the others virtually because ebook price across vendor are almost at equilibrium with one another, thanks to being online and its price almost always transparent.) Such a company with small ebook market share cannot possibly has much negotiation power.

Amazon's eBook also has a technological disadvantage—its ebook format kindle. It is a mess. I can't go into the technicals but the other ebook format ePub is superior to kindle, widely adopt outside Amazon (also outside Logos, which has their own convertor to convert from epub to their internal format), and is essentially HTML wrapped in a particular way.

So if you can help it, try buying not from Amazon unless necessary, either for not helping it becoming more and more a monopoly, or for having a better formatted books.

Also, I have a way to convert epub to a Logos PBB. Let me know if you'd want to do that. It won't be "Logos Edition" if you know what I mean. But it will not be that different from the original epub.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 2:43 AM

Kolen Cheung:
So if you can help it, try buying not from Amazon unless necessary, either for not helping it becoming more and more a monopoly, or for having a better formatted books.

Phil Gons (Faithlife):

Please abide by the following guidelines as you interact on our forums.

  1. Please keep your discussions focused on Logos Bible Software: our software, products, websites, company, tools, etc.
    ...
  2. Please help others follow these guidelines. If the problems continue after you’ve given a gentle reminder of these expectations, please click “Report Abuse” under “More” or send an email to forums@logos.com.

Thank you for your cooperation. Enjoy discussing and learning about Logos Bible Software.

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

Posts 885
Kolen Cheung | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 2:58 AM

MJ. Smith:

Kolen Cheung:
So if you can help it, try buying not from Amazon unless necessary, either for not helping it becoming more and more a monopoly, or for having a better formatted books.

Phil Gons (Faithlife):

Please abide by the following guidelines as you interact on our forums.

  1. Please keep your discussions focused on Logos Bible Software: our software, products, websites, company, tools, etc.
    ...
  2. Please help others follow these guidelines. If the problems continue after you’ve given a gentle reminder of these expectations, please click “Report Abuse” under “More” or send an email to forums@logos.com.

Thank you for your cooperation. Enjoy discussing and learning about Logos Bible Software.

Your quote is problematic, since "better formatted books" include Logos' ebooks.

Posts 434
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 4:39 AM

I had been reading this thread with interest up to when the guidelines were raised. I thought Kolen Cheung's comment was a reasonable part of the conversation in this thread. He provided a considered explanation of an issue being discussed and then made a suggestion about Logos PBB. To be honest, I can't see any breach of the cited guidelines. Maybe I'm missing something.  Keep well Paul 

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 12:51 PM

It may have been more a gentle reminder not to go there. Always good as I know i specifically avoided mentioning a competitor in another thread but once it got brought up by another user I did laud the release of a product not available in Logos but hopefully one day it may be available in FL.

-dan

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 2:15 PM

I was not saying that a line had been crossed but reminding people of the guidelines as the conversation was skirting the guidelines. Perhaps some who disagree can explain to me how telling me to avoid Amazon purchases because of the poster's opinion of Amazon business practices and quality, relates to Logos. I'm still not seeing it.

For purposes of transparency, I recently dropped my Costco membership as I can now get my 45 pound bags of kitty litter through Amazon - supplier is still Costco. This means that it is delivered to my doorstep. I no longer have to try to lift it in and out of a cart and car. Since I am in my 70's, I like this enough to defy the advice to avoid Amazon. And when the roads are bad, I rely on Amazon Fresh for my groceries as they do deliver to my rural area which most services do not. Case closed.Wink

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

Posts 434
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 3:06 PM

Thank you MJ and Dan - Now I begin to understand - its a gentle warning just in case this conversation was leading to a breach of the guidelines, though it wan't a breach in itself.  Certainly, a warning may be useful at times, but it might be helpful to be clear when raising the guidelines that this is the intention. Warnings without that clarity may have the unintended effect of stopping conversations in mid-stream and effectively widening the guidelines to cover potential rather than actual breaches. Nevertheless, I'm sure that the motivation of the intervention was as you have said - a reminder. 

To be transparent - I never shop Amazon, Cisco and especially not Apple!   Wink Keep well Paul 

Posts 2341
Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 4:29 PM

MJ. Smith:
Perhaps some who disagree can explain to me how telling me to avoid Amazon purchases because of the poster's opinion of Amazon business practices and quality, relates to Logos. I'm still not seeing it.

Okay, you called for it...

First of all, ethics is not based on opinion.

If a publisher doesn't want to play according to Amazon's rules (such as setting the price at which they want to sell their books), Amazon then just pulls their titles. Here are just a few examples of past incidents:

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/25/business/international/amazon-accused-in-Germany-of-antitrust-violation.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/25/writers-campaign-amazon-ebook-dispute-us-hachette

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/technology/30amazon.html

The agreement for publishing on Kindle basically says that Amazon is the final authority to determine the price, and not the publisher. I quoted the exact wording in a past thread. That's complete failure of the free market, when not the vendor/publisher determines the price, but an intermediary, especially when that intermediary has a market share of about 80% of all ebook sales revenue in the US. (http://authorearnings.com/report/february-2017/)

We've seen the outrage here in the forums when Lexham titles go on sale on Kindle but not on Logos multiple times. Whenever that happens, loads of forum members usually announce to buy the titles on Kindle rather than on Logos. It's highly likely that more than just a few forum members have done that. So there's a direct impact on FL as a company.

Obviously, it's extremely easy for Amazon to let ANY publisher struggle hard whenever the publisher refuses to comply with Amazon's silly pricing policies. Ebook prices have constantly dropped over the past years. They used to cost mostly around $15 to $20, but now most books are priced at under $10. It's good for us as customers, but has the cost of publishing an ebook really dropped so drastically? The Hachette article above is just one example where Amazon imposed prices of under $10 onto the publisher.

Conclusion:

  • Amazon enforces cheap prices onto the publishers by unconscionable methods
  • If Amazon's competitors don't adapt their own prices, a considerable percentage of the few customers they have left would buy the book on Kindle instead.

This not only relates to Logos/Faithlife, but to ANY publisher and ANY ebook retailer.

Imagine Amazon would cut prices for all Kindle books by another 30% over night (which they'd be entitled to do under the standard contract, and the'd have the financial backup to do that for a long time if not permanently). That would surely be the death blow to each of their competitors, and maybe to a number of publishers as collateral damage as well (but since Amazon also has a publishing label, none of their authors would really have to become unemployed).

I'm fully aware that it's not possible to avoid Amazon completely. You've mentioned a very good example where buying anywhere else would be hugely inconvenient.

But for each purchase we make, we can act wisely, and not like an automaton type amazon.com into the browser (or click on the bookmark, or shout the order over to Alexa).

Past IT Consultant. Past Mission Worker. Entrepreneur. Future Seminary Student.
Why Amazon sucks: Full background story of my legal dispute with the online giant

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 9:08 PM

Jan Krohn:

Okay, you called for it...

First of all, ethics is not based on opinion.

I agree with the second sentence. I have read your materials pointed to in you tag line. I am convinced that any basic argument diagram would confirm that you have not met my challenge.

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

Posts 885
Kolen Cheung | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 27 2019 11:18 PM

MJ. Smith:
Perhaps some who disagree can explain to me how telling me to avoid Amazon purchases because of the poster's opinion of Amazon business practices and quality, relates to Logos. I'm still not seeing it.

The OP is complaining something available through Amazon but not Logos and that looks like Logos' fault. But in reality it is Amazon which has monopoly power that can do a lot of things others can’t, at least can’t get a reasonable deal for it to make cents. If you aren’t aware of that, you should start to. One example article on this is I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible.

Simply put it is more about explaining why Logos is facing such a situation, despite being the big player in Bible softwares, it is a very small one in the publishing industry and hence might not have a lot of bargaining power of.

Full disclosure: I’m an early adopter of Amazon’s book store. Long before it enters Hong Kong market, I purchased high quality Physics and Mathematics books from its US site and shipped it overseas to Hong Kong (where the books could hardly be found even in the best local bookstores.) I’ve also been of guilty of contributing its monopoly by having Amazon Prime for years. But no matter how much we love it, we need to be aware of its overpower that can hurts other markets, including, possibly just indirectly, Logos'.

Posts 959
Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2019 11:45 AM

Just "saved" more money - couldn't buy another bookmark Faithlife eBooks. 

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2019 3:08 PM

Paul Caneparo:

Just "saved" more money - couldn't buy another bookmark Faithlife eBooks. 

If I recall correctly there have been books in the past that have not been available in other countries, but am I right in detecting that the amount of them has increased in the last while? Is this true? Does anyone know the why(s) behind it?

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

Posts 328
Vincent Chia | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2019 3:09 PM

Bruce Dunning:

Paul Caneparo:

Just "saved" more money - couldn't buy another bookmark Faithlife eBooks. 

If I recall correctly there have been books in the past that have not been available in other countries, but am I right in detecting that the amount of them has increased in the last while? Is this true? Does anyone know the why(s) behind it?

I FEEL the same way.

Director

Elyon Family Clinic & Surgery Pte Ltd

Singapore

Posts 437
Robert Neely | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2019 3:19 PM

It is, of course, about money.  You might get some hints from this article

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/books/brexit-british-book-industry.html 

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 28 2019 3:23 PM

Robert Neely:

It is, of course, about money.  You might get some hints from this article

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/books/brexit-british-book-industry.html 

So, if this is the case, should we expect country restrictions to increase even more in the future?

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

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