A long time ago in a series of Galaxie Journals far, far away...

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Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 10:08 PM

Steve:

Michael Childs:

This way they have a monopoly on the production of all Logos products and most importantly, full  control of price and profit.  It is all about profit.

In the past Logos would allow other companies to produce Logos format editions of their resources, and both Logos and the other companies made a profit.  Logos has decided it is more profitable to produce all Logos resources themselves.  Naturally, this has led to an adversarial relationship with some other publishers.  We see some resources no longer available in Logos.

I'm not sure this came across as you may have intended.  Profit is how businesses survive ... no profit = out of business.

I've only been using Logos for a couple of years so, please excuse the question:  What other companies produced Logos format editions? 

(I'm trying to understand the adversarial relationships with other publishers.  ...and I'm interested in knowing how that is related to some resources no longer being available in Logos.)

Please don't take this as "nit-picking".  It's just a little confusing to me and I'm trying to understand.

No offense taken, my friend.

And I intended no attack on Logos, and I am not anti-profit.  I want Logos to make a healthy profit.  I was just stating my opinion on their decision to not allow other companies to produce Logos materials.  I don't think it is the wisest decision in the long run, but that is for Logos to decide.  I clearly stated it is their right to do what is in their best interest.

I think Logos is a great company that tries to live up to the most high ethical standards. 

And I think everything I stated was correct.  Many companies once produced Logos resources.  For example, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Intervarsity, Moody Publishing, Galaxies, and on and on.  There are still some of these old Logos and Libronix CDs out there, and Logos still honors them, as they should.  They made a business decision to stop allowing companies/publishers to produce Logos resources.  That is why you do not find new Logos material in Christian bookstores etc.  It is now sold by Logos exclusively - well that is the goal.

I believe that in the short run this has resulted in higher prices for Logos resources and higher profits for the company.  The same resources now produced in house and sold by Logos are much higher in many cases.  And some good resources are no longer available in Logos format.  I believe those points are beyond dispute. 

But there is nothing wrong with this from an ethical position.  That is capitalism, and I am a capitalist.  The question is whether or not it is wise in the long run.  And Logos is the only one who can decide that.  But I have an opinion.  And I do know that for me this has resulted in buying some resources in formats other than Logos.  I do still buy most of my study material from Logos.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 421
Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 10:32 PM

Stephen Edward Paynter:
In mean time, I guess I better try to work out what WS stands for ....

WS . . . Word Search bible software. It appears they are now under the same roof as Quick Verse.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 10:54 PM

Michael Childs:
I believe that in the short run this has resulted in higher prices for Logos resources and higher profits for the company. 

Evidence please. Logos users should be naturally more hermeneutically aware than the average population. Yes, I know you hedged your position with "I believe" ...

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

Posts 2834
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 26 2013 11:13 PM

MJ. Smith:

Michael Childs:
I believe that in the short run this has resulted in higher prices for Logos resources and higher profits for the company. 

Evidence please. Logos users should be naturally more hermeneutically aware than the average population. Yes, I know you hedged your position with "I believe" ...

This much I know.  The prices I paid for the Ancient Christian Commentary on the Scriptures, the Tyndale Commentaries, the "Bloice" Expository Commentaries, and John MacArthur Commentaries, and Word Biblical Commentary, the Works of Marin Luther, IVP Essential Resources, and many others were much cheaper from third party sellers than Logos at the time I bought them.  That is why I bought most (not all) of those resources from third parties after comparing prices.  And since being brought in house with Logos as the only seller, they instantly became more expensive.  Some are still available cheaper from third party sellers who have some of the old CD's available.  They are still cheaper from third parties.  Does anyone seriously dispute that? 

I think I see a trend.  I do not know for sure that profits have increased with the price increases, but if I was a gambler I would bet on it.   I do not claim any special knowledge about business or how Logos makes its decisions.  I would think that Logos made this change in marketing and production because they felt it would make them a stronger company.  A stronger Logos is a good thing, I agree.  All I know are the facts I stated from my own experience, and anything else is just my opinion.

Some questions that I wonder about are these.  Did Logos achieve its dominance in Bible Software under the old system or the new?  And has its market share grown drastically under the new system?  And if more resources become unavailable in Logos, will its dominance continue?  And will the next generation of scholarly resources even be available in Logos, as publishers view Logos in a more hostile way?  Will Logos become more dependent on self-produced resources, such as Lexham material and the EEC?  The trends I see do concern me.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:49 AM

Michael Childs:
And since being brought in house with Logos as the only seller, they instantly became more expensive.  Some are still available cheaper from third party sellers who have some of the old CD's available.  They are still cheaper from third parties.  Does anyone seriously dispute that? 

Between L3 and L4 the amount of tagging that is required for the Logos application increased dramatically. It does not surprise me that this corresponds to an increase in cost. Nor does it surprise me that resources lacking this tagging would continue to be less expensive. The question is whether the additional tagging added in L4 and L5 are sufficiently valuable to justify the cost to the user. A second question is whether or not it is advisable to provide the tagging data or require the user to actually do the work to obtain it ... i.e. where tagging includes judgment calls should we be encouraged/forced to trust Logos?

Michael Childs:
Did Logos achieve its dominance in Bible Software under the old system or the new? 

I don't know ... in fact, I don't even know that it is dominant.

Michael Childs:
And has its market share grown drastically under the new system?

I don't know - total owners has grown but many computer study aids probably can make that claim as student expectations change.

Michael Childs:
And if more resources become unavailable in Logos, will its dominance continue? 

I would also assume that more resources will become available. The mix of products should be in a major state of flux as the publishing industry changes and Logos pushes into new markets.

Michael Childs:
And will the next generation of scholarly resources even be available in Logos, as publishers view Logos in a more hostile way?

I have no evidence that publishes will view Logos in a more hostile way ... rather I see evidence to the contrary as Logos has helped St. Vladimir's grow (the one publisher I am familiar with in detail).

Michael Childs:
Will Logos become more dependent on self-produced resources, such as Lexham material and the EEC? 

I wouldn't expect this to be true as they are a more limited market than Logos is reaching out to ... but we will simply have to wait and see. Church, publishing and software are all in a state of flux.

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

Posts 1931
Donovan R. Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 1:47 AM

Scott S:
WS . . . Word Search bible software. It appears they are now under the same roof as Quick Verse.

I have an old license to WS (and QV for that matter), so I might have to get them out and dust them off depending on where things head with journals.  The Galaxie offering is almost attractive enough just to run WS for this purpose...  change... things change... maybe something even better with Logos or someone else. Smile

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 3:13 AM

MJ. Smith:
To put things in perspective, remember that a major part of the genius (and limitation) of the Apple computer market was that Apple controlled everything from hardware to apps ... which allowed them to build up a tremendous reliability record.

I also remember that when Apple tried licensing its OS to other manufacturers the company almost went belly-up until Steve Jobs returned to stop the blood drain. In the case of Logos, no matter who produced the software, Logos was responsible for fixing the tagging errors, for upgrades, and for maintenance.

It seems ludicrous to complain that Logos operates with a profit motive as if that were some evil plan. We have a term for companies that do not make a profit. We call them former companies. The entitlement mentality that runs through this and other threads on these forums is a reflection of the general deterioration of modern society. 

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 5:44 AM

Jack Caviness:
It seems ludicrous to complain that Logos operates with a profit motive as if that were some evil plan. We have a term for companies that do not make a profit. We call them former companies.

Profit is not a dirty word.

Jack Caviness:
The entitlement mentality that runs through this and other threads on these forums is a reflection of the general deterioration of modern society. 

I do sense that some have an entitlement attitude and this is more prevalent than it used to be but it may be a bit of an overstatement to say that this reflects the "general deterioration of modern society".

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

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 5:54 AM

Bruce Dunning:
it may be a bit of an overstatement to say that this reflects the "general deterioration of modern society".

After I hit post, I thought you probably should not have said that. After all you don't want to start a political debate Big Smile

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 6:13 AM

Jack Caviness:
After I hit post, I thought you probably should not have said that

I've had the same experience on several occasions. Tongue Tied

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

Posts 3942
abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 7:15 AM

So long as the political door has been opened, lets open a theological one: The only thing we truly deserve is an eternity in hell for our sin. Praise God we don't get what we deserve.

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

Posts 1602
Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 7:19 AM

I guess I'm hopelessly optimistic about the whole thing.  I'm seeing the relationships that Logos has with publishers (copyright owners) as a win-win (not adversarial).  And I see the consumer benefiting from that relationship:

     - Publishers make money by licensing content to Logos for consumption by Logos' software (IVP is not out of business, their products are available inside and outside of Logos)

     - Logos makes money by adding value to copyright material and selling that to consumers (Logos takes the risk and incurs the burden/cost of formatting, tagging, etc.  In doing so they improve the content in the eyes of the consumer)

     - Consumers are able to utilize the value added copyrighted material in a way that is beneficial to them  (We get a powerful library system with lot's of searchable/linked content)

Consumer prices tend to go up on most things for the most part over time.

Smile

Posts 1694
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 9:23 AM

Michael Childs:
Some are still available cheaper from third party sellers who have some of the old CD's available.  They are still cheaper from third parties.

In the old days, lots of things were different. Sigh... :-)

Many years ago we imagined becoming a platform provider on which hundreds of content providers delivered their content. We were new to this model, and in a very weak negotiating position, so we arranged deals where we wrote the platform, wrote the book development tools, trained people on book development, and collected a 4-5% royalty on sales for our platform. This was a bad idea for lots of reasons:

- 5% was too little even when people had to press their on CDs and handle their own distribution. That's only $5 on $100 sale. Back then it seemed like the book was the hardest part, and the software not as complicated. Since then, many of the costs have necessarily come back to Logos -- we host the downloads (and re-downloads). People ignored the tech support number printed in each different product and just called us -- the software provider -- regardless of who sold them the product. (It cost $12 just to answer the phone back then; it's a lot more now.)

- Book publishers didn't understand software. They produced it like books. They'd do a 1,000 CD-ROM production run, and sell 25% of it. Then, when the software and books were updated, instead of throwing out the very cheap CD's and ordering new ones, they'd order new ones and ship the old ones to a discounter, in the US or overseas, for 'remaindering' at pennies on the dollar. Our 5% royalty on a $100 product would fall to 5% on $10 (price they sold stuff at wholesale clearance), giving us 50 cents. Costs would not go down, they'd go up: people would buy the discounted version, then call us for technical support to upgrade the software, download new book files, etc. The remaindered stuff cost more to support and earned a tenth of the already inadequate royalty.

(For comparison, Apple and other app stores take a 30% cut for services similar to what we do now -- and they don't give away the platform and its upgrades for free.)

So yes, the old CD's are cheaper. I saw one in a discount store this year -- more than five years old, available for pennies on the dollar. And if/when someone buys it, we'll let them upgrade to the better tagged books, the new software, take a phone call to process the serial number since they may not be able/willing to install the old Libronix platform, etc. It'll cost us $20+ to handle that installation, and we probably got a dollar, max, from its sale.

- Book publishers quickly tired of doing technical work. They didn't want to invest in expertise, didn't want to invest in tagging, and (because of how their projections/budgeting work for book projects) never wanted to go back to an already released title and add features / tagging / improvements.

- The original model was to help content owners produce stuff for our platform. But content owners learned they weren't good-at / interested-in doing that. The only companies that remained enthusiastic about using our tools and paying us just 5% (and a few fees for services, like building new master CD's, etc.) were companies that didn't own their own content. So these companies effectively became competitors of ours, using our tools and technology while paying us a tiny royalty. At first they produced content where they had unique relationships with the owners, or as a service provider to a content owner. But soon they were literally competing with us either in product releases or in trying to under-bid production costs for publishers who did own content. And, of course, it was sometimes easier to underbid by doing less work or tagging. 

When something went out that someone else produced and there was a typo, or inadequate tagging, users didn't blame the creator -- they blamed Logos.

- Over time our platform changed continually. The software was constantly updated, the file distribution model changed (from CD to DVD to download from central server) and it became harder and harder to work with outsiders. Not only did the numbers not work, it was just complicated. Work a third-party did for another third-party would need to be updated / recompiled / re-tagged, but whose responsibility that was wasn't clear. Or, even if it was, one party wouldn't be interested, since the benefit would be to the user with no new revenue generated. The publisher might consider the product 'done', and the service provider had already been paid and the project 'completed.' Logos would be left taking the calls from the users, explaining why this book didn't download / wasn't updated with new data types / hadn't had typos fixed.

We've decided that we can best serve our users by controlling more of process. Since Logos 4 we've managed coding, book production, tagging, downloading, updating, etc. in a fully-integrated, cloud-connected way. While some people miss the precise control over every detail, the vast majority of our users have been happy (and sometimes even delighted) to find that books automatically download to new machines, are available on mobile devices, get updated with improved tags and fixed typos, etc. We've significantly reduced our phone support costs as a percentage of revenue and I believe we do a much better job of serving our publisher-partners and our users.

Profitability as a percentage hasn't changed significantly -- it's generally in the same range year after year. When we make more, we invest in more projects. (Faithlife Study Bible and Logos Mobile Education are two examples of big investments that we hope will ultimately be profitable, but which soak up profit in the early years. When they start returning a profit, I imagine we'll invest most of that in something else big and new.)

In case you're curious, or suspicious that we're rolling around in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, :-)... my profit target is 10%. That's higher than commodity businesses get, but pretty low for software businesses. We have exceeded that many years (we're often in the teens), and we've also been far below. But I feel like that's a number that provides safety and a cash-flow buffer that allows us to use little debt. For example, a lot of revenue comes in via payment plans, stretched 6-18 months. But royalties and taxes are paid at the end of the quarter in which the sale is recorded (not to mention production costs, which are paid before the sale); so even with a 10% profit, we could be cash-flow negative on some transactions for over a year. By leaving our accumulated profit in the business year after year we're able to carry receivables with little or no debt while still investing in the future, being able to withstand unpredictable crises, etc.

The business is solid, and doing well. I'm not complaining -- we are blessed with a strong financial situation. But the point I'm making is that we take serving you very seriously, and even when something is a huge success and makes a great profit, we take that profit and invest it back in new products, software development, content acquisition, etc. So technically the company is getting more and more valuable, but on a day-to-day basis (for twenty-three years now!) that value is on paper, and the profit dollars are regularly plowed back into growing the business and serving you better.

This year it looks like we'll end with a profit a bit over 10%. I'm actually disappointed; at the start of the year I lowered our target to 5%, because I wanted us ramping-up our investment in new products and new markets. If you take a look at https://www.logos.com/about/careers you'll see the proof: there are more than 70 job openings posted. (And the 1 in Software Development is really 10+ -- it's one title, but we needs lot of people.) That's a crazy increase in headcount for a company our size, but that's us 'eating' today's profit to grow even more in the future. The only reason we missed my 5% profit target is that we couldn't hire those people quickly enough.

Could we do less and reduce our prices? Yes. We could give maybe 5-8% back to our users in cheaper prices, at the cost of our profit margin. But it would mean not investing in big new projects, risking a cash-flow crunch that might drive us to layoffs or even into the arms of an acquiring company (which would likely be even more profit focused than we are), etc. Are some of our investments bad ideas? Assuredly. But most aren't, though they can take a while to pay off. And innovation comes from trying risky ideas as well as sure things.

I hope this explanation helps...

-- Bob

Posts 301
Jerry Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 10:19 AM

Bob,

Thank you for taking the time for your answer! I, for one, have been in the Logos family from the CDWORD/DTS transition and have nothing but praise for the investment I've made, and continue to make! Your software has greatly expanded what I'm committed to, and that's teaching the Word of God! E.g., I "used" to take 7+ Theological Journals, read all of them, index them by topics and Scripture, then my good wife would type 3x5 cards which we placed in a fireproof library case/file cabinet . . . whew! Now, I simply search my Journals and get better, faster, more complete information, in seconds! All that to say, where this rabbit may have started, Theological Journals are an essential element in research and teaching. Do what you need to do to continue to produce the great accessibility and usability I presently enjoy, use consistently, and profit from regularly! I'll buy them! Logos is an investment with an outstanding payback!

Thanks,

Jerry

Posts 2038
Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 11:13 AM

Bob, I'm glad You confirmed my hunch of how things have been! I'm very pleased that Logos offers so much more than competitors do. I understand very well the importance of not taking risks, however I keep seeing hundreds, sometimes even thousands of products individual volumes that I would never buy making it to pre-pub (and most of them I wouldn't recommend to friends, but I see the point in releasing titles which will be profitable), and not seeing the following ones progressing (out of titles that I can't remember You promoting, Bob):

  1. Jerusalem Bible Reader's Edition (Just the The Grail Psalms (2 vols.) have made it to pre-pub of the Bible version being used in the U.K. and some other places by the Catholic Church.) It has poetic value, differing from the New Jerusalem Bible, and Isaiah in the Jerusalem Bible was already based on a scroll from Qumran.
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica (32 vols.)
  3. 2004 Good News Translation UK-English (there's an old Edition in Logos, but I would like this, the newest, Edition.)
  4. New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols.)

    $139.95

  5. James, by Richard Bauckham (1999). Routledge (just that volume from the discontinued series: New Testament Readings). This has been suggested in the Suggestions-forum + in the Logos Anglican Faithlife community: https://faithlife.com/logos-anglican/activity.

Couldn't Logos do something about the situation I'm presenting here?:

Bob Pritchett:
my profit target is 10%. That's higher than commodity businesses get, but pretty low for software businesses. We have exceeded that many years (we're often in the teens), and we've also been far below. But I feel like that's a number that provides safety and a cash-flow buffer that allows us to use little debt. For example, a lot of revenue comes in via payment plans, stretched 6-18 months. But royalties and taxes are paid at the end of the quarter in which the sale is recorded (not to mention production costs, which are paid before the sale); so even with a 10% profit, we could be cash-flow negative on some transactions for over a year. By leaving our accumulated profit in the business year after year we're able to carry receivables with little or no debt while still investing in the future, being able to withstand unpredictable crises, etc.:
Michael Childs:
Some are still available cheaper from third party sellers who have some of the old CD's available. They are still cheaper from third parties.

Aply!
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Posts 398
Danny Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 11:24 AM

I agree with Jerry. I have been served well by CDWORD/LOGOS. In this chaotic world, I just would like to encourage you as you ride the waves of radical change in all our worlds to keep the focus - worthwhile/useful/desired products at a fair price. That's a win/win for all, as it has been in the past. We all 'profit' together.

Posts 1602
Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 11:41 AM

I've gone from hopelessly optimistic to down right elated.

Smile

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 12:22 PM

Steve:
I've gone from hopelessly optimistic to down right elated.

Wow! It will be hard to move up from there Geeked

Posts 1982
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 1:02 PM

Bob Pritchett:

In the old days, lots of things were different. Sigh... :-)

Many years ago we imagined becoming a platform provider on which hundreds of content providers delivered their content.

Bob

I appreciate your explanation.  I know that you did not have to write it.  But it sure helps.  It certainly is no secret that the switch from L3 to L4 left a bad taste in many mouths.  When people invests heavily and are left in the dark about a huge change in direction, it caused some of them to pause and step back and evaluate...which also is not a bad thing to do.

I just want to thank you for your post.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 27 2013 1:16 PM

Thank you for taking the time to give a very comprehensive answer Bob. It will be very nice to be able to point back to it in the future when the issues are raised again.

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

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