Will Potential Logos' Subscription Model Kill the Value of My Investment?

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This post has 57 Replies | 5 Followers

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Sogol | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Jan 16 2013 9:48 PM

While I really love Logos (both the company and the product) and have made a sizable financial investment in building my library, I have one question that I thought I should address before I continue to invest in buying Logos' products. My question is this:

If Logos eventually hopes to go to an "all-you-can-eat" subscription model (similar to Netflix), does it make sense for me to be buying resources unless I absolutely need them right now?

The reason I ask is because Bob essentially laid out this vision in a post back in July when he said:

"My long-term dream is that Logos can offer something like the $8.99 / month Netflix subscription -- all the Bible study materials you could want for an incredibly low monthly price. In that model we wouldn't allow account sharing or content resale, But we'd offer incredibly inexpensive access to everyone. You wouldn't need a used-copy at half price; you'd get everything for less." (http://community.logos.com/forums/p/50184/380033.aspx#380033)

In other words, if Logos goes to such a model, it seems like the value of my investment will drop significantly since I would be able to get access to all the resources I own (and much, much more) for far less than what I am paying to buy them. In fact, if I knew for sure that such a model was 5-years away, I would seriously consider not buying anything else unless I absolutely needed it right away and then get a subscription when it becomes available.

Of course, I know that such a subscription model may be further than 5 years away, as it would take a lot to get all the publishers to agree to such a model. However, if and when it does become available, it seems like the whole point of owning a Logos library (including passing it on to an heir or giving it away) becomes severely marginalized.

Any thoughts or feedback on this would be very much appreciated.

Thanks.

Posts 489
Tom Reynolds | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2013 10:25 PM

Bob has long desired to sell people resources for a monthly fee but hasn't got anywhere with it. Their seminarylibrary.com website doesn't seem to have gotten anywhere as you can see here: http://www.logos.com/product/2617/seminarylibrarycom-subscription. The Faithlife Study Bible concept obviously hasn't picked up traction either because now it's being given away and included in the base packages. It's not just the publishers that Logos has to convince but their customers. Existing customers like yourself are obviously not keen on it for the reasons you've given. Where would Logos find enough new customers to make it go? It's just not like Netflix in that once I watch a movie I'm done with it but I use the same Bible resources over and over again and their value increases over time. I would never pay a monthly fee and risk losing something I've used so much and potentially added a lot of notes to and marked up.

Posts 147
Wayne | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2013 10:28 PM

A subscription model in the near future would likely only happen with material that Logos produces. Lexham, FSB, EEC are their own imprints and Logos says they plan to update the materials that they publish. They don't need publisher approval to sell these works on a subscription model. Looking twenty years down the road it is very hard to guess what will happen. It is obviously a changing world.

Libraries whether they be print or electronic lose their value every year with the exception of a few classic works. I suspect that when a pastor retires that he gets very little for his library. The majority of the books that he purchased when he was new in ministry are 40+ years old. Electronic libraries will be subject to a similar loss in value.

My recommendation is that you buy looking at your projected needs over the next five years.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2013 10:34 PM

Sorry but my crystal ball doesn't work that far out.Wink Seriously, it will take time for authors, publishers, universities etc. to rework their business models to make such a conversion possible. It will also take additional infrastructure to convince users that resources are quickly accessible yet secure against cyber groups, power outages, server errors etc. .... While I think Bob's vision may well be the direction all media is headed, I think it is too early to believe any suggested timeline.A few high profile failures will slow it down; a few high profile successes will speed it up.

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Posts 241
Kendall Sholtess | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 16 2013 11:05 PM

 

   This sounds very bad. I personally think this idea is like selling yourself into slavery.  If you like giving control of your life to just a few board of directors, that's great. If you're like me, though, I value my freedom. I don't want to be bound to endless payments.

I don't want to have to pay a subscription fee! No doubt is is far more profitable for Logos, though.

   That's why I bought my house early, rather than paying rent for 50 years.

They can change the subscription fee any time they feel like it. They end up with more and more control until someday in the future, we wake up to find that we have lost our rights. 

   The new model is full control to the seller, reduce the customer's control.Eventually they'd probably like to move it all online, with no downloadable content. They are moving us there little by little, so we don't feel it (frog in the boiling pot).

   I doubt it's a conspiracy of Bob's. It's industry-wide. They're like cyborg post-millennialists. A computerized utopia, where you give up your individual rights for the privilege of joining the Great Cloud. Pay your membership dues, please. It's slavery! Don't do it!

 

 

 

Posts 276
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 12:54 AM

I looked at the OP and started to consider this notion of a subscription to Logos for a few moments.  On one hand a small fee to have access to a library the size of a seminary collection (or so) might be useful. On the other I am still waiting on some classic theological works that have been seminal in the theological field that just have not appeared in the collection.  So really what benefit is there for an even larger library that I wont use anymore than the smallish sized one I have already paid for.  For me I keep waiting for Logos to offer me something that makes spending even more money worth the effort...even a discount on the minimal upgrade would be somewhat interesting.  A subscription solution seems like a solution to a problem that I do not yet have...how odd. 

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 2:59 AM

For someone who desires to read top notch material NICOT/NICNT but cannot afford it, this would come in handy. Other sites offer monthly subscription, but someone like me, would proably bite (I would not lose access to what has already been purchased) if I wanted to do the work using Logos software, and did not have a seminary library in my neck of the woods.

Just my five cents.

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Richard DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 6:52 AM

Sogol:
While I really love Logos (both the company and the product) and have made a sizable financial investment in building my library, I have one question that I thought I should address before I continue to invest in buying Logos' products.

Your concerns are precisely why Logos is not likely to go to a subscription model any time soon. While, from Logos' perspective, a subscription model would provide a more predictable income stream, from a user perspective, it immediately devalues purchasing resources (by far, the main current income stream).

Should Logos eventually move to such a model, I'd anticipate some sort of discount for resources already purchased, so that we'd only be 'renting' resources we don't own. But Logos hasn't laid out any specifics for what they have in mind, and my anticipation has no basis in any known facts (just Logos' track record in dealing with customers). I'd expect that Logos would have to make such a model attractive to its best customers, as well as to new customers, which would not be an easy task. This is one of the reasons I'm not concerned at this point.

Another reason I'm not concerned is that when Logos first released the FSB, it wanted to use the subscription model. I'm not sure why, but they quickly abandoned that model and began just giving it away. So far, that model has not gained any traction with any Logos product except Proclaim, but that's an entirely different kind of product, and the marketing there parallels some others in the same industry. Even with Proclaim, it took a while for the subscription model to gain traction.

A final reason I believe a subscription model is a long way off, is strong resistance expressed by users whenever the subject comes up. I think I'm in a very small minority of people who think it could be advantageous in some ways. The vast majority of users who have expressed opinions on this possibility, have been very, very negative. Assuming Logos doesn't want to lose customers, we are not likely to see this option any time soon.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 7:05 AM

Richard DeRuiter:

A final reason I believe a subscription model is a long way off, is strong resistance expressed by users whenever the subject comes up. I think I'm in a very small minority of people who think it could be advantageous in some ways. The vast majority of users who have expressed opinions on this possibility, have been very, very negative. Assuming Logos doesn't want to lose customers, we are not likely to see this option any time soon.

I think you are right. The former subscription model of FSB probably was a test on customer acceptance - and the public reaction in the forum seems to show that most Logos users are not prepared to go that way.

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Super.Tramp | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 8:02 AM

Sogol:
If Logos eventually hopes to go to an "all-you-can-eat" subscription model (similar to Netflix), does it make sense for me to be buying resources unless I absolutely need them right now?

This question is precisely why I doubt we see a move to the subscription model. Several years back I requested Logos offer a single-user, non-transferable license. The target audience would be an elderly user who could not see the value of a large investment when their life expectancy was numbered in just a few years. Dan Pritchett told me it would be difficult to market as it focused on death. Another perspective was raised with "Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs."

Many Logos users have spent thousands and more than a few have spent ten thousand dollars on resources.Logos would be foolish to offer a "Netflix level" subscription and kill off the golden geese they already have.  It would take 100 subscription years to replace one $10,000 buyer. 

The licensing issue precludes an all-access subscription. Logos has already run into publishers that will not allow mobile device access.  

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 8:07 AM

I would welcome a subscription option. I have occasional times when I would like to access a resource like ICC or AYB, however, I doubt I will ever get $1600-2000 worth of value/usage from those resources. It would be of particular advantage when newer resources quote older resources. Logos has many of those resources, but we can't all own those in our personal libraries. With a subscription, we could simply link to those resources and view the original content in context.

Subscription doesn't necessarily mean I would stop purchasing resources. There would probably be things I would just want to own and have access to when not online.

Also, the subscription would have to be affordable. I'm sure it would be.

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Super.Tramp | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 8:48 AM

David Paul:
I have occasional times when I would like to access a resource like ICC or AYB, however, I doubt I will ever get $1600-2000 worth of value/usage from those resources.

If Logos offered subscriptions the smart approach would be to offer select subscriptions. That is; a separate fee for each premium resource. (AYB for $50/yr, ICC for $45/yr, NICOT/NICNT for $55/yr, and so on.)  It would still take them 20 or 30 years to realize the same money they currently get with an outright sale. I just don't see them doing that. If the "golden geese" buyers got the slightest hint Bob Pritchett was moving to a subscription model they'd quit laying the golden eggs. (You know some users have spent $10k, $20k, $30k, $40k, + and there are those untapped, future "golden geese" to consider.)

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Dan Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 9:09 AM

Lynden Williams:
For someone who desires to read top notch material NICOT/NICNT but cannot afford it, this would come in handy.

If we were to offer subscriptions to individual titles, what would be your idea of the best break even price point between subscribing and buying? If a collection costs $500 to purchase outright, how many months of "subscription" should it take until it breaks even and equals $500. In other words, how would you decide which collections to subscribe to and which to buy?

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Randy W. Sims | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 9:29 AM

Super Tramp:
If Logos offered subscriptions the smart approach would be to offer select subscriptions. That is; a separate fee for each premium resource

Another approach would be to use a credit system. Resources would be valued at 1 to 4 credits each. Users subscribe to, say 5, 10, or 20 credits per month. With those credits they can check out books up to their credit limit for as long as they wish with probably a min 7 days or such to keep from swapping too much. Figuring out how to reimburse publishers would be a bit of a pill, but doable. This would seem attractive to a lot of people, especially students and potential buyers who want to evaluate books, while also not stepping on the toes of people who have invested a lot.

They could also offer the option to rent some of the smaller base packages (while still offering them for purchase). Only the smaller ones in order to avoid stepping on toes of bigger purchasing customers.

Use borrowing as a hook to get customers to experience and then buy Logos. Other incentives would be to offer long time borrowers of books or base packages a discounted price to purchase.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 9:41 AM

Super Tramp:

If Logos offered subscriptions the smart approach would be to offer select subscriptions. That is; a separate fee for each premium resource. (AYB for $50/yr, ICC for $45/yr, NICOT/NICNT for $55/yr, and so on.)  It would still take them 20 or 30 years to realize the same money they currently get with an outright sale. I just don't see them doing that. If thhe "golden geese" buyers got the slightest hint Bob Pritchett was moving to a subscription model they'd quit laying the golden eggs. (You know some users have spent $10k, $20k,$30k, $40k,+ and there are those untapped, future "golden geese" to consider.)

But Bob has already expressed his desire and willingness to offer a subscription service. I think his vision is that there are more potential Netflix-style customers than there are golden geese. I don't know which is what, but I would like to have a subscription option.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 9:51 AM

Dan Pritchett:

If a collection costs $500 to purchase outright, how many months of "subscription" should it take until it breaks even and equals $500.

I would think somewhere between 60 and 100 months to equal the purchase price.

That said, I would likely be much more interested in having access to the whole Logos stable of resources, rather than piecemealing.

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Super.Tramp | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 10:06 AM

Dan Pritchett:
If we were to offer subscriptions to individual titles, what would be your idea of the best break even price point between subscribing and buying? If a collection costs $500 to purchase outright, how many months of "subscription" should it take until it breaks even and equals $500.

1.5% per month

Dan Pritchett:
In other words, how would you decide which collections to subscribe to and which to buy?

You know my preference Smile I like to buy Logos resources. 

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Posts 1264
JimT | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 10:14 AM

My first Logos package was over 15 years ago. And I hope I might yet be still well and wanting to read Logos resources for 15 more, and beyond.

I really dont want to "break even" in 3-5 years, and be paying more for ever after that ...

I subscribe to Safari Books online for about US$39.99 per mth and its all-you-can-eat, but its computer books and there is always a need for the newest or even beta coverage, and old computer books are mostly junk in a few years (except where you need to support older products and applications).

Logos resources and different - I still want to read something I might have already read, or want to read parts of 50 different resources that I've never read before: e.g. all the commentatries on some book of the Bible my Pastor moves onto at some period.

If there was a good model that supported both BUY and RENT, then we could pick and choose. But I think I'd mosly buy anything I think had merit. At least maybe I could use rent to peek at somethingbefore I buy it.

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Super.Tramp | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 10:17 AM

David Paul:
That said, I would likely be much more interested in having access to the whole Logos stable of resources, rather than piecemealing.

If it were set up like that (all-access) they would have to offer a heavily discounted rate to attract users who are heavily invested. I have almost 10,000 resources. Why should I rent books I already have? 

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Posts 163
Jeremy White | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 17 2013 10:24 AM

For my other vocation I subscribe to a service called Safari Books Online. This gives me access to a library of mainly technical IT books. It makes perfect sense for me to do this in this context because these types of books go out of date very quickly. The have two tiers, an all you can eat option which is more expensive and a bookshelf option where you are limited to 10 books checked out at anytime and you can only switch out a slot once a month.

I doubt that Logos could ever offer an all you can eat option that was priced low enough to get enough takers and for them to actually make a profit on it. However, I can think of some things that they could do that would be of interest to me.

- The publications being published via the community pricing system could also be offered via  subscription model. You could still have some sort of voting system to determine priority order of works to published. Win for the subscriber: immediate access to all public domain resources in the Logos system, win for Logos: Ongoing revenue that they can use to just keep pushing out as many titles each month as subscription fees allow.

- Rental option. Let's say I'm studying a particular book of the Bible and want to temporarily beef up my commentary coverage, it would be a lot easier for me to justify the cost of renting that one volume of an expensive commentary set as opposed to purchasing it or even worse having to purchase the entire set. Win for the subscriber: Lower cost to access temporarily relevant resources. Win for Logos: Pricing can just be cost plus, so less guess work involved. So negotiated with publisher regarding what royalty they want for this type of access and add some margin. 

Neither of these options negates the value of paying money upfront for a perpetual cross platform license like we currently do

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