Why all the bundling? Request to Logos/Faithlife staff

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This post has 190 Replies | 13 Followers

Posts 2495
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Dec 9 2016 6:56 AM

Humble request to FL to stop with the unnecessary bundling of books and/or to break up bundles

Is it possible to please break up some of the bundles in Logos? Why the bundling in the first place? There are several books I’m interested in but they are tied into bundles and I don’t want to spend $100+ to get the one book I want to read (some examples below). If you are going to go the bundle route, could they be broken up after a period of time so I could buy individual books and journals?

Out of the examples below, I’d love to purchase…

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung which is found in https://www.logos.com/product/55583/crossway-christian-life-collection

The Second Coming: Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age by John MacArthur found in https://www.logos.com/product/55576/crossway-theology-collection-2

Bibliotheca Sacra 2015 journal articles found in https://www.logos.com/product/54391/master-journal-bundle-21  

Mere Christianity found in https://www.logos.com/product/49027/the-cs-lewis-collection  

I would love to give Logos more money for these resources but I find it silly I need to spend hundreds to get the one book I want. I know I’m not the typical seminary student user (at least that is what I think the typical user is) so this request may fall on dead ears but I hope Bob or someone from Faithlife sees this and tries to help out the little man. Thank you for listening

Posts 2441
PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 9 2016 7:18 AM

I've come across this issue with Mobile Ed. Sometimes a course uses a book which isn't sold individually (on Logos).

I've found that the individual books are still sold on Vyrso. I don't know if this is an oversight, but I've been able to get single books for courses there, instead of having to order the pre-pub bundle containing the book on Logos.

Posts 606
Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 9 2016 7:23 AM

In my opinion, bundling is motivated by earnings. It's clearly not a publisher requirement (in most or all cases). Bundling is good for Logos but bad for customers. Christians are accountable to God with their finances. When customers throw money at a package for the benefit of a few usefull resources they are practicing bad stewardship. 

Posts 60
Rustamania | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 9 2016 7:53 AM

Agree.  Passed up several seminary class books in Logos because of this.

Posts 444
Robert Harner | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 9 2016 8:13 AM

Mattillo:

Why the bundling in the first place?

One reason is it makes the books less expensive and a lot of us like that Surprise   

Some of those collections are in one big collection: https://www.logos.com/product/120478/crossway-library-expansion-bundle 
that is mucho more cheaper. I bought the DeYoung book sometime ago in a dead tree format which was quite inexpensive and a nice format for a reading book.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 9 2016 9:43 AM

Mattillo:
Humble request to FL to stop with the unnecessary bundling of books and/or to break up bundles

I, too, find this off-putting. There may be times (in your example, Lewis might be in this category) where the publisher will not license a book for individual sale.

However, when there are no publisher issues I'd like FL to offer every book individually (even if they also offer a bundle).

Some time ago 'unbundling' was a big topic on the Forums and we were even getting "This bundle is now available for individual sale" notices here. I thought FL had turned the corner then and was going to 'unbundle' as much as possible. It appears that we've gone back to having to ask for unbundling.

I'd like to get some feedback from FL on this.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 1533
Kenute P. Curry | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 9 2016 1:41 PM

FAITHLIFE really needs to address this topic, and I mean address it! 

Posts 1171
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 10 2016 8:17 AM

Mark Smith:

...when there are no publisher issues I'd like FL to offer every book individually (even if they also offer a bundle).

Yes, please.

Posts 2575
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Dec 10 2016 8:17 AM

I can imagine at least 2 reasons.

  1. Publisher requires it
  2. Faithlife thinks they are creating value.
  3. FL needs cash and uses this as a way to push customers to buy more than they need.

#3 is what I would assume based on other actions that also point to this. The past year or more they hove become far more aggressive in cost cutting and revenue growing actions. 

Posts 14
Doug Hanna | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 6 2017 5:23 PM

I am so SICK of this!!!!!!

Especially with the Crossway collections, this is soooooo frustrating.

I've spent thousands on Logos resources and used to recommend it to people like crazy. Making customers jump through all of these hoops and spend so much extra money is a HUGE damper on my love for a great product and definitely affects the way I speak about Logos.

For the sake of your product, please stop forcing us to buy these collections.

Posts 2766
Whyndell Grizzard | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 6 2017 5:37 PM

I talked with my wallet- all they have to do is look at what I spend with them NOW- 1/10th what I use to- to expensive to do business with!

You really want to change them- don't buy- may take a while- but they'll come around.

Posts 2229
Ronald Quick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 6 2017 5:43 PM

As others have mentioned, it could be a publisher issue.  However, if the resource is recommended or required for Mobile Ed courses, then I think the resource should be able to purchased individually.

Posts 259
scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 6 2017 6:26 PM

Ronald Quick:

As others have mentioned, it could be a publisher issue.  However, if the resource is recommended or required for Mobile Ed courses, then I think the resource should be able to purchased individually.

The publishers should be strongly motivated to sell these ''companion'' volumes as a single-o.  I believe the professors should be encouraged / told not to specify a book that only comes in a bundle.

Here is an opportunity to wear the customers' shoes.  This should have been ironed out before the 1st Mobile Ed course was introduced.

Posts 1533
Kenute P. Curry | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 6 2017 7:53 PM

I do not buy COLLECTIONS, and I don't buy BUNDLES. It is as simple as that. Hence, Faithlife looses a lot of money; because I hardly ever buy anything  on Logos or Vyrso anymore. 

If I can't buy it on Logos or Vyrso individually; I will buy it elsewhere.

Posts 2054
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 7 2017 12:29 AM

Bundles are often broken up over time. Clearly volume commitments benefit both publisher and Faithlife. I had to wait out some stuff, but eventually got the few volumes I wanted.

We readily accept base packages, so complaining about bundles is rather suspect. 

FWIW, as a Logos user, I'm all for seeing important resources being made available whether I can afford them or not. Time and again, whatever I needed (and then some), God has provided for me. 

To some extent, even the surplus books help pave the way for a better version of Logos and all the books you really do need. Count your blessings! 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 4693
doc | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 7 2017 1:26 AM

I like bundles but I agree they need to be offered individually also as a bundle is not always the right choice for everyone in every situation. Crossway don't force their customers to buy e-books directly from them in bundles, so why should FL customers have to buy a bundle of Crossway books and not get the option to purchase books individually.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 7 2017 3:10 AM

Into Grace:

In my opinion, bundling is motivated by earnings. It's clearly not a publisher requirement (in most or all cases). Bundling is good for Logos but bad for customers. Christians are accountable to God with their finances. When customers throw money at a package for the benefit of a few usefull resources they are practicing bad stewardship. 

Bob has been open about this in the past.

As I understand it, bundling is not (always) a publisher requirement, but it is always an incentive to publishers. Bundling high value books (frontlist titles), with lower value books (backlist titles) means that the publisher can shift titles which otherwise few people would buy. That (at least in theory) means more money for the publishers, and keeps their less-well known authors happy too. Being able to promise that helps Faithlife persuade publishers to let them stock frontlist titles.

The other advantage of bundling is that it allows relatively obscure books to be produced, with otherwise wouldn't have a sufficiently large market. Because a portion of the bundle income can be assigned to the costs of transcribing these books, they can now be profitable. That's not much use if you don't intend to read the book, but if you're one of the minority who wants it, it's a good thing.

I think the general policy is that bundles should be unbundled after a year or so, although that doesn't always happen, particularly for bundles that don't sell well.

Perhaps it helps to think of bundling as the modern equivalent of publishing expensive hardbacks before the cheaper paperbacks — which is little more than a way of getting early purchasers to pay more whilst getting a little more.

At the moment, I see bundles it as a necessary evil. When the discount is good, I don't mind it at all. What really annoys me are large bundles with a very poor discount level. Those I never buy.

Posts 178
David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 7 2017 6:15 AM

Mark Barnes:

I think the general policy is that bundles should be unbundled after a year or so, although that doesn't always happen, particularly for bundles that don't sell well.

If the bundles don't sell well, maybe Faithlife should break them up and see if people only wanted that one book.

Retina MacBook Pro. i5 2.6ghz 8gb RAM, 512mb SSD (Late 2013). macOS 10.13, iPad Mini 4–128gb

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Posts 5066
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 7 2017 7:55 AM

https://www.logos.com/product/52352/fortress-studies-on-passages-in-the-gospels

Which will be pulled from prepub on march 20 if not under contract numbers  by then. Is a great example of bundling.  3 quality books being offered at a deep discount (Compared to kindle prices). I likely would use all three but two of the volumes feel to me like must haves. Could we have the deep discount on the titles individually, would any of them made it to production unbundled? I will admit many times I have not got a book I want because it's in a big bundle. 

-dan

Posts 796
LogosEmployee

This is all really helpful feedback. 

I have a few thoughts in response:

  1. In every case where it's possible, our intent is to eventually break up the collection into individual titles at some point after the pre-pub ships. Because breaking up collections is a time-intensive manual process (for now, we hope to automate it) it often has to be deprioritized in favor of other projects. Nevertheless, it is our hope (aspiration?) to have everything split into individual volumes.
  2. There are a number of reasons why we bundle books.
    1. In some cases (C.S. Lewis is the best example) it is a publisher stipulation.
    2. In other cases, it is because it belongs to a set and makes the most sense to offer them as a bundle.
    3. In other cases, it is because we can offer the best deal on a book as part of a bundle. For example, there may be a book that sells standalone for $50 but that we can bundle with 5 other books for $100. I realize that not everyone always wants all 5 books and that, consequently, it isn't actually a good deal for them. We're actually revisting the strategy here. You will likely see some changes over the next few months.
    4. In some cases, we have a bunch of second-tier backlist content that wouldn't really make a whole lot of progress on pre-pub if they were all individual titles. In this case, we bundle them all together as a sort of 'grab bag' for people interested.
  3. There are times where we have broken up a pre-pub collection into individual volumes to see if we can gather a bit more support and get it into production. We could probably do this more. Again, we will be reevaluating this over the coming months.
  4. It makes a lot of sense to ensure that resources that are part of Mobile Ed courses are always available as standalone products. I'll have the team do a review and make sure that is the case.

I could write a bit more, but I would be repeating much of what Mark Barnes says above.

Again, this is all really helpful feedback. We are listening and will continue to make adjustments to our pre-pub program.

Manager, Bible Study Products Department

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