The Wonders of the Digital Library


A report of inventoried estates in the eighteenth century reveals that in Châlons-sur-Marne, France, only one residence in ten was in possession of a book. In more rural areas—in the next century—the percentage of households that owned a book was around 12%, and those books tended to be found in the country homes of urban professionals.

The library of 18th century philosopher and physician Sir Thomas Browne shows not only the disparity of literature ownership between social classes, but just what was considered a remarkable collection for that time period. The 1711 Sales Auction Catalogue of the Library of Sir Thomas Browne lists about 1,500 volumes in his possession at his death. That was quite an extensive personal library in the 18th century, the kind which required a lifetime of patient and expensive acquisition. What is even more amazing is the realization that Browne’s personal library—the one he compiled over his entire academic and professional career—contained 150 volumes fewer books than Logos Bible Software’s Portfolio Edition!

Thanks to the digital age, it is easier and more cost effective to create a very impressive and thorough library, and you don’t have to build another wing onto your home to do so. If you were so inclined, you could fit all the books in a major research facility (over 400,000) onto a 2 TB hard drive!

With a Logos Bible Software digital library, you get more than just value and volume: you get the ability to search your entire library for a single topic in a moment’s time. And all of the content is delivered to you right there on your monitor to customize and organize in the manner that works best for you. Sir Thomas Browne would have marveled at the ability to search across his entire library in the blink of an eye to compile information on one specific topic.

With the Scholar’s Library: Platinum package you immediately get nearly 1,250 volumes. From there you can pick and choose, from over 10,000 resources available to tailor your library to your personal needs. This adds to more than just the number of books you have at your disposal, but also increases the depth and breadth of your topical and scriptural searches.

Another great thing about digital libraries is your ability to secure important but less mainstream resources, like The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (22 Vols.) now on Pre-Pub. Here is a 18th century Puritan who is responsible for writing over 10,000 pages of such high caliber Christian reflection that J.C. Ryle said, “I regard Manton with unmingled admiration.” And yet Manton gets obscured by contemporaries like Richard Baxter or John Owen. Although Manton was as prolific, if not more prolific, than his associates, until recently securing copies of his work was difficult. Now you can get all of his works fairly easily, and in a format that makes using his works easier than he could have ever imagined.


  1. Dan DeVilder says

    Jayson, where did you unearth all that information on French libraries? That’s pretty cool! Interesting read. Thanks!

  2. Times have changed! I sold most of my paper library to save for the more portable and search-able sort. Someone visited me last week in my office and commented about my one remaining bookshelf – and oddity for a pastor. I just smiled because I knew that the thin little notebook on my desk had enough volumes to fill more shelves than my office could hold. Nice feeling. :-)

  3. Thanks to you folks I got rid of four meters of interlinears, lexicons and commentaries. Those who received the books as a gift, are more than happy. I wish they knew how happy I am with my electronic versions :)
    My sermon preparation time has dropped from an average fifteen hours to seven hours, dust accumulation in my study is down by forty per cent and the congregation is wondering why my sermons are so much deeper than before.

  4. Dear Friends,
    I can not express my appreciation for these resources. I am nearing 61 years of age, and have been in ministry for almost forty years, almost 30 in missionary service. I treasure my digital library so much. I too have given most of my personal library away, and only wished I could offer a copy of Logos to all of our Bible College students here in Cebu, Philippines. With the costs of books and difficulty of gaining proper access to any kind of library I find if they can get hold of a computer this is an amazing resource.
    Thanks again for your labor of love,

  5. Sir Thomas Browne (1605-82) lived in the 17th century !