Tim Challies and Going All in with Ebooks

challies

An open letter to Tim Challies, in response to a recent blog post.

Dear Tim,

The people in my office at Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software, read your post “Going All-in With Ebooks” with excitement—and not just because we sell ebooks (including quite a few of them to you, and some of them by you). We read with interest because we are interested in reading. We like books, as do our users, and we like all kinds of books: biography, history, fiction, memoir, and, preeminently, theology and biblical commentary.

And we like all kinds of books: digital, paper, even papyrus scroll and clay tablet (well, some of us). A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the Logos blog asking, “Do We Have to Choose Between Print and Digital?” I argued that we don’t; I think some books are better read in print and others in digital form. After more than a hundred insightful comments from users on that post, I feel even more sure of my stance. I actually haven’t gone all in with ebooks. Interestingly, Faithlife itself recently began publishing in paper-and-ink. (There was a rumor going around that flying pigs were sighted that day above our offices; not true.)

But I have gone almost all in with ebooks. Nearly all the books I have actually purchased with my own American money in the past several years have been digital. Even if a given book might, in an ideal world, be better consumed on flattened tree pulp, price and convenience have won out for me. Because of digital platforms, I buy more books with the same cramped book budget, and I read more books within the same crammed schedule.

You and I appear similar in our reading habits. We’re on precisely the same page (or pixel arrangement) when it comes to the major ebook companies, Logos and Amazon. You buy “Logos for reference and commentary works and Amazon for most other things.” Me too so far (more on that in a minute). I also do just what you do, saving my digital book highlights to Evernote.

But, just like you and a lot of your readers, I’m a theological writer and Bible teacher, and I wanted to add one more significant point to your analysis. One of the biggest reasons I am driven to read in the first place is love for my neighbor, specifically my readers and my adult Sunday School students. And for that reason I go to some trouble to make sure I can get to useful information when I need it. For reading and highlighting, e-ink devices like the Kindle and Nook provide a great experience (Logos books can actually be sent directly to Kindle). But for getting back to and using my books in order to better minister to others, Logos wins.

An example

The other day I was desperately searching for a particular sentence in my Kindle version of Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching; I was preparing an article relying on his careful criticism of Be-Like Messages. My memory told me that he had said something like “The Bible does its best to tar the reputation of even the most saintly characters.”

So I searched the book in my Kindle app for the words “Bible does its best.” I got nothing.

I searched for “tar.” I got everything: “commentaries,” “targets,” start,” “mustard,” “Unitarian,” “altar,” “solitary,” “staring,” “secretarial,” “military.” If I had had the patience to look through all 93 search results, I would have seen that hit 77 was “tarnish”:

A difficulty with much biographical preaching, however, is that it typically fails to honor the care that the Bible also takes to tarnish almost every patriarch or saint within its pages.

I had misremembered the quote.

It’s a pretty simple but very significant difference, but when I search for “tar” in my Logos copy of Chapell’s book, I get one hit. It’s not the quote I was looking for, but at least I know that immediately rather than having to wade through so many false positives. If I use some of Logos’ simple but powerful search capabilities and add an asterisk (“tar*”), I quickly find “tarnish” and the quote I want. Logos provides an extensive suite of search tools and relies on a system of custom hand-tagging that allow you to find what you need.

The Kindle ecosystem provides two methods of accessing the information in your library: the library home page and search. But as you noted, organizing your library is cumbersome, and as I’ve suggested, searching books is difficult, too. These weaknesses are actually okay if all you want to do is read a book once and never touch it again. But I need my books; I use my books. I find myself frequently frustrated and/or giving up while searching my Kindle resources. (And don’t forget that you can search only one book at a time. I’m forever forgetting which C.S. Lewis essay collection some particular great line was in.)

I go to the trouble of sharing these details because I have to imagine my experience is similar to that of others who don’t just read their books but continue to rely on them long after moving a given book on from “Currently Reading” to “Read” on Goodreads. It’s in the nitty gritty of daily use that an ebook ecosystem distinguishes itself from competitors.

A great conversation to have

As for your concerns about longevity, it’s the equivalent of the year 1484 in ebook history. Our Gutenberg got its first ebook off the presses in 1971, and ebooks didn’t really take off publicly until the introduction of the Kindle in 2007. Logos, meanwhile, has been around since 1992. We’ve got pretty much as long a track record as you can have in this business. To make that tangible: the company was founded when I was 11, and I’m now a married father of three at an undisclosed age from which I can now see just over the top of the hill. No bet is sure under the sun, but our first customers still own their books. And we, unlike Amazon, have not been coasting on investor capital.

This is a great conversation to have, and I was excited to see your post. You’re a bellwether, a classic “maven” in the Gladwellian sense, and I believe that many people will be following your example and investing more time and resources into ebooks.

Sincerely,

Mark Ward
Logos Pro, Faithlife

mark ward
Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.

 

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Comments

  1. This is helpful – I love Logos but one frustration is that it is MUCH harder to get my highlights into Evernote than it is on Kindle – any plans to improve that?

    • Have you seen the feature which allows you to save highlights to “resource-specific note documents”? This feature, I believe, does just what you’re wanting.

  2. The problem with ebooks in proprietary format like Logos is that the company can hold you hostage. I had to switch phone platforms recently, and Logos won't create an app for it (not their fault, they don't have to support EVERY platform). Same would go if I switch to Linux on the desktop.

    The problem is that my 4,000+ books in Logos format are now useless to me. If I had a physical copy at least I could take them with me. The web interface to Logos is still atrocious, so "use a browser" is a worse substitute than using pen and paper.

    If Logos goes out of business (after all, they did have layoffs recently), or they stop active software development, there goes "all your stuff". Which is not really yours to begin with, you basically are being loaned the books.

    At least with my print materials I can legally give them to my friends or my children some day. Not so with my Logos (proprietary) books.

    Some things to keep in mind before sinking a lot of $$$ into Logos. For me, the time savings outweighs the problems (for now), but I am getting more and more uneasy when I think about how much money I've put into the Logos system.

    • You bring up several concerns, Romesh. Let me try to address each in turn:

      Platform: You’re right, we don’t (can’t) support every operating system out there. And while I agree that our web option needs work, we _are_ working on it. We are developing http://app.logos.com/ as an in-browser replacement for the Logos desktop program. A beta version is currently available for Logos Now and Logos Cloud subscribers.

      The security of the company and “all your stuff:” Bob wrote about this a recent forum post. https://community.logos.com/forums/p/121491/795581.aspx#795581
      TL;DR: In the very unlikely event that Logos goes out of business, our user base is large and active enough to ensure that someone would find it profitable to take over and run.

      Giving books to others: You certainly may transfer your library/software license to someone else. (This is a permanent transfer of ownership, not a loan.) Contact cs@logos.com if you’d like more details.

      I hope that helps soothe your mind: Logos is indeed a solid investment.

    • I’ve been thinking about this… How many people actually in real life bequeath their books to their children? How many of those children are happy to have the books? How many of those children *read* the books? I hate to be morbid, and I recognize that my life constitutes a sampling error when measured against others’, but in all my experience with the parceling out of stuff owned by recently deceased relatives, the books went to Goodwill. They were not viewed as treasures. In order for my father’s or grandfather’s books to mean something to me, we have to be in the same general field (unlikely) or have interest in the same general fields (a bit more likely). And I have to be the kind of person who values books that fall between “classics” and “brand new.” I don’t, honestly, tend to value those books. I have few books from the 1960s. I sometimes guiltily regret my chronological snobbery, my tendency to read only what’s new; but I typically assuage my guilt by pulling out true classics (Edwards, Spurgeon, Bunyan, or as recent as Lewis) rather than whatever was hot when my father/grandfather was my age.

      When I walk into the library of a pastor, and when I can tell that he finished seminary in 1976 just by looking at his books, I’m not attracted to those spine-faded books with their garish typography and no-longer-cool authors. I’m just being brutally honest in order to anticipate my own son’s reaction upon receiving my books at my decease! =) Maybe this pastor has a nicer copy of Pilgrim’s Progress than I have. I might covet that one. Maybe he’s got a set of Barth’s Church Dogmatics, something I sort of feel like I ought to have even if I’m actually more interested in owning it than I am actually likely to read it…

      And maybe I’m the only one who thinks like me.

    • Jon Morgan says:

      There is actually a physical book analogy for moving platform: moving city or even country. If you do that, your electronic books will usually transfer seamlessly. Physical books are a bit harder: I’ve heard people agonise about which things they should take, and about whether it’s really worth moving those valuable books that haven’t been used in the last few years.

    • Christopher de Vidal says:

      I just found that Logos books can be sent to Kindle.
      https://www.logos.com/training/logos6/desktop/send-to-kindle

      So your books can be in two platforms, but if you’re still worried about vendor lock-in, once in Kindle they can be exported to clear-text PDFs using tools. (Google Remove Kindle DRM.) All of my Kindles also live in clear-text, in the event the vendor should ever go away. Or as what happened to me: The eBooks just disappeared from my Amazon account for some unknown reason. I didn’t sweat it because they’d already been exported to PDF.

      This is ethical for books you already own, but please don’t pirate. “Thou shalt not steal” still applies.

      Now off to export my Logos library…

      • Boy, speaking more as a reader and Logos user than as a representative of Faithlife, I just don’t think I can recommend this way of thinking. Of course, I’m not sure why your Amazon books disappeared (I know this couldn’t happen with Logos books because your books are tied to you in the cloud), but the time necessary to export all your books, or even just the most valuable ones, is greater than the amount of money it would take to buy the books again in some other platform. At least, that’s my guess.

        I do appreciate the comment about ethics, however: I’m shocked when Christians, of all people, pirate software, books, movies, etc.

        • Christopher de Vidal says:

          No it’s painless. Kindle-to-PDF is quick as the conversions can be performed in bulk. I run the process every few weeks to convert newly-obtained books. Even if I had to re-convert my entire library it would only take about five-ten clicks.

          I see there is no bulk process for Logos-to-Kindle but it’s only two clicks per book. I don’t have thousands of Logos books; Those with thousands may find it easier to just buy new ones.

          Oh and I didn’t speak clearly; not all of my Kindles disappeared. I reinstalled my computer and when I reinstalled the Kindle for PC app I noticed my book count was down a few hundred. I didn’t know which disappeared nor did I really care to raise a stink as I had them all converted already.

          Piracy: I used to pirate music and movies as a baby Christian, then the Lord woke me up from that. It can happen to others, too. Pray for revival.

          • All right, now I have to know this. What app do you use to convert your Kindle books to PDF in bulk? I would like to do it if it’s that easy, in part because I’d like to be able to search all my Kindle books at once.

            Your book count may have been down by a few hundred in the Kindle app only because they were in the cloud, not on the device. But perhaps you’re way ahead of me on that.

  3. For clarification: You CAN bequeath your Logos library to your children when you die. You cant, however, "loan" books to your friends.

  4. Phil Larson says:

    I’m missing access to my ebooks today. We’re in the middle of an ice storm in Upstate SC without power!

    • Got me there. =) Though power outages make codices inconvenient, too, at least after dark.

      And my Kindle and tablet and phone—among the three—are usually charged well enough to last me through any outage. I’ve got a Logos book on my Kindle right now (Jamie Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom) that I’d turn to if I had an outage.

    • Christopher de Vidal says:

      Got a car? Get a cheap inverter. Viola, your car is now a generator.

  5. Adam Borries thank you for taking the time to respond! I have Logos Now, and I still get ads in my browser, amongst other issues. It is not (yet) a viable replacement for what we have in mobile apps, and on the desktop. I've been following the web work that your team has done for a while now, and it is making progress, but not fast enough to be useful for me … yet :)

    Mark: I have several friends who treasure the libraries that their parents left them. Of course, perhaps it is more important with physical books because you often linger on the notes that sometimes find their way in the books. I would love for my children to have access to all the notes I've taken in my Logos library (advantage: no marring the pages of physical books!)

    My children have been expressing more and more interest in things theological, and so I do feel like they would profit from the physical books.

    I have the opposite problem that you do. I rarely read new authors, most of the go-to folks in my library are the older saints – Rutherford, Henry, Poole, Bunyan, Edwards, Owens, Spurgeon, etc. I'm not entirely sure what being "cool" or "hip" has to do with the contents of a book. I'm grateful that the Lord doesn't evaluate things the way we do.

    But here's another question: How do I split up my Logos books in my estate? Let's say I have my four children and I want some of them to have certain of my books. I know my children will profit greatly from many of the resources I have digitally. Just not sure what the options are. Perhaps at some point, I'll contact customer support.

    Good discussion!

    • Romesh, obviously, you need to pick your favorite child before you write your will. =) (Seriously, however, I’ve asked Adam to chime back in about that—he knows the official policies better than I.)

      I’m so glad your children have been expressing interest in things theological. I pray mine will do the same as they grow older. I also admire you for reading the Puritans and other older writers. More power to you. I had my tongue in my cheek with that line about coolness, but actually you’re making half my point for me: you read the classics, not the stuff in the middle which is likely to form the lion’s share of a given person’s library. If you read very old books like that, perhaps your library will indeed be a welcome gift to your descendants.

  6. I’d like to provide another perspective.

    I’ve bounced back and forth on this over the last 5+ years. I was an early adopter of Logos (and used eSword prior to that) and I bought a Kindle and a Nook when they were first released.

    I currently own over 400 kindle books and own Logos 6 Diamond. This far exceeds my print library of about 200 books. But at this stage for my main reading platform I think I’m sticking with… Print.

    For reference work and searching, Logos wins easily. I’m still going to purchase resources on Logos, but at this stage I plan on only purchasing commentaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedia.

    When it comes to sitting down and reading through a book deeply (something I do far more often than reference work and searching) I think print is still the winner. Just this week there was an article released where a study demonstrated better retention rates for reading print material (although I don’t recall the source of article now… should have saved it in Evernote or maybe read it in print :) ). And I’ve seen other similar studies.

    I think Challies mentions some of these studies and he suggests that this is probably due to our being more familiar with print media. As we grow more accustom to reading and learning on digital devices we will see things even out. But at this point that is still just speculation. Maybe we won’t. Maybe there is something about print media, flipping through a page, underlining and circling with a pen and writing out notes that better facilitates memory. But whether we can adapt to digital media or not, at this point I just don’t want to go through the hassle. At this point I just find it easier to sit down and really focus and study with a book in hand and a pen and a notebook. I don’t have to divide my attention between trying to adapt and trying to study… I can just study.

    There are usually a few advantages cited for digital books over print. I’ve actually argued for these myself several years ago… on Challies blog! But over the years I’ve come to see these as not as great of an advantage as I once thought.

    One advantage of digital books is the ability to take much longer notes that are attached to the exact text you want. You don’t have to worry about running out of space on the page or cluttering the page with your notes or having a separate notebook. But here’s the counter-argument that I currently find persuasive: (1) writing by hand facilitates memory, I know of no study that shows typing has similar mnemonic benefits. (2) Trying to take notes on an e-reader, like the Voyage or Paperwhite, is extremely clumsy and frustrating. This could be circumvented by reading on a laptop or tablet with a better keyboard, but this means you have to give up the comfort of having an e-ink display and leads to the disadvantage of eye-strain and device-connectivity distractions.

    Another advantage of digital books is, as mentioned in the post above, the ability to search for text and find it. This is a clear advantage that there is no way for print media to compensate for. But there are some possible draw-backs. I’ve seen articles (again, don’t recall the sources) which cited studies that argued that our reliance on digital searches (e.g., Google) is effecting our ability to remember things. We no longer make the effort to memorize the substantive information, we just rely on our ability to “google it later”. I’m afraid we may be doing the same with digital books. Instead of actually focusing on and re-reading a really great point in a book we just highlight it and tag it and trust that we can find it with a search in Evernote later. I don’t think this is a very effectual way to retain and apply what we’ve learned from reading.

    Yet another advantage of digital books is lower price. This also can’t be beat by print media and unfortunately print media may be artificially inflating the prices of digital media. But this is also an area that Logos can’t compete in. Because Logos adds a lot of functionality that other digital books (like Kindle) don’t add the prince advantage is negated and sometimes it is even reversed: Logos digital books can be more expensive than print books.

    Challies and others have listed other advantages (and I’ve spelled out almost all of them in the past as I’ve argued for digital books), but the question is whether these outweigh the utility of studying and deeply reading with print books. To my mind they do not. I’ll revisit briefly the advantage mentioned above about note-taking. One interesting avenue that is now possible but hasn’t been explored yet is the ability to dynamically annotate and highlight a text. With the advent of digitizer pens on devices like the Surface Pro or the iPad Pro it’s possible to take advantage of the memory-facilitating exercise of note taking, circling words and drawing lines of connection, etc. This would, I think, wipe out the advantage that print media currently has in this area… and I think it’s a big one when it comes to deeply reading and interacting with a book. But so far neither Logos nor Kindle nor any other digital device has explored this possibility.

    • Remington, I will never discourage anyone from thinking carefully and at length through these pros and cons as you have. You’ve done very well. I genuinely do not believe that everyone will—or should—come to the same conclusion regarding what works best for them. I can never quite get rid of the nagging feeling that Nicholas Car was right, and Google (and, by extension, all digital reading) is making me stupid. I’ve already written here and elsewhere about the way ereading has gotten me through more material, and yet it is a very fair question to wonder how much of that material has really gotten through me—or into me. But I’ll tell you what spiritual/intellectual discipline I’ve undergone to fight back against the tendency for ereading to go in one eye and out the other: I write. I’m pretty religious with my Goodreads usage; I write reviews for my blog which distill what I got out of books (and for these I rely on highlights I saved); I write emails to good friends. I also record my thoughts in Voice Memos on my iPhone and save them for later possible use as posts. Even if those ideas don’t get used, the act of distilling them tends to make them stick better.

      Perhaps it’s time for dedicated digital readers to hew to the original, etymological meaning of “blog.” I use my blog more than anyone else does; I search it ( with keyword “b”) all the time, because it’s a “weblog,” a journal or repository of my reading and thinking. Tumblr is also a good way to do this, I’m told ( I love Alan Jacobs’s Tumblr site). Even Pinboard.

      What do I expect out of a book? Depends on the book. But frequently, what I really expect to remember five years hence is one thing. If all my hours in that book yield me that one thing, my money and time were well spent. Books that give me ten things, like Lewis’ books or Andy Crouch’s books or Al Wolters‘—those are worth rereads. As of right now, the benefits of getting through more material—in order to get to those successive “one things”—have made digital reading superior to paper for me. I ride the bus for an hour and a half each day and have other reasons for preferring the convenience of digital, however, so once again I speak as me and do not expect all others to follow suit.

      • Mark,

        Thanks for your reply and I think you make a good point about how, even if it is the case that our digital time spent reading doesn’t lend itself to exercising our memories as it should, we can in fact compensate for that. But like diets, I doubt many have the discipline to stick to a feasible plan for that :)

        There is at least one other thing I wanted to mention above, but I got distracted by computer problems :)

        One advantage that print books have over digital books: availability. Unfortunately the sort of books available on Logos are pretty scant, even when you’re talking about *theology* books that should be the bread and butter for Logos. For instance, I can list off the top of my head a number of books which have been released in the last few months by some top notch authors in theology that aren’t available in Logos. And the consumer has no idea whether these books will ever come to Logos or when (some have been “under contract” for a *very* long time).

        That’s a pretty big disadvantage for digital. How long should I wait or will I have to wait for Logos to get a book that was released several months ago in print and that is stirring up a lot of discussion in the relevant field (e.g., a recent book on justification)?

        Furthermore, when a digital book is released in Logos format (or any digital format) there can sometimes be less functionality than a print book. For instance, several good books that I can have in Logos are actually only available through Vyrso. These books lack all page numbers and even lack all location referencing… so the book becomes even less functional than if I had bought it in Kindle where there is at least some attempt to create a reference system for digital books that don’t have page numbers. But this is still a big problem for Kindle books too. More often than not there are no page numbers in my Kindle books and when there are page numbers it’s impossible to tell where exactly the page ends and the next one begins (Logos doesn’t have this problem).

        There is less often perhaps an even greater issue than just this though. For instance recently Logos released a version of John Frame’s book on the history of philosophy. This books has gotten a lot of positive attention from the relevant crowds, so it’s great that Logos was able to acquire this book. And even though the Logos edition came out several weeks later than the print edition, it wasn’t a significant gap in time and at least the consumer knew that the Logos edition was coming before the print edition was released. However the Logos edition is stripped of all pictures and diagrams!

        So instead of just weighing advantages and disadvantages in the abstract we can take a concrete example:

        John Frame’s A History of Western Philosophy and Theology.

        I can buy the print edition for $45.64 or the Logos edition for $47.99. Winner: print.

        I can easily search and find passages in the digital Logos version, not so the print. Winner: digital.

        I can view all the diagrams and illustrations that the author originally intended in the print edition, not so in the digital edition. Winner: print.

        The digital edition might weigh as much and take up as much space as my Kindle Voyage, assuming Logos enables the send to Kindle feature, or at least as much as my laptop, not so the print. Winner: digital.

        etc…

        In a concrete case like this there is no clear winner outside of what reading medium I prefer, though missing diagrams and pictures will be a deciding factor for many. Unfortunately it’s still true that in many other cases there may not even be a contest since there is no digital edition available. I realize that this isn’t the fault of Logos (or FaithLife) and that the fact that Frame’s book is missing pictures and diagrams is also not the fault of FaithLife since I’m sure they would have acquired the rights to this had it been possible or feasible. But from the consumer point of view all that matters is product availability, not whose fault it is that a product isn’t available.

        • Well-considered comments. Again, I don’t think I can complain if someone reasons this carefully and then lands differently than I do. It is actually my experience that most readers are thinkers, so they do think this carefully. It may help some people beginning down this ebooks road (as so many are) to read the thoughts of those who have spent some more years—and more dollars—on it.

          You are right that publishers do limit what we can offer; my feel (not speaking for the company here) is that it will take a whole generation before traditional publishers and digital platforms establish a smooth way forward which allows readers who prefer digital to get what they need in a reasonable time span. Nonetheless, we have something not too dissimilar in the classic hardback-to-paperback route many books take.

          And as to Frame’s book, it would be impossible for me to address the value of every individual resource in Logos format. You will always need to evaluate the pros and cons. I applaud your efforts to do that and hope others will follow suit. I have found that—especially for biblical texts and reference works like commentaries, journals, and dictionaries/lexicons—the value of Logos has been far above what I paid.

  7. I agree with Romesh. One of my issues is the cost between Logos books and real ones. There isn't any. I live in Austalia and I can buy a book for about the same price as a digital one. And that includes shipping plus real paper! If digital books were way cheaper that would make choosing a lot easier

  8. I can’t tell you what it’s like to come back to Thailand after being on furlough for a couple of months, and discovering that thousands of dollars of books have become termite-digested sawdust. But you can probably imagine… That made my mind up from that point that I would purchase digital unless I had no alternative.

  9. Adam Borries says:

    re:splitting up books
    Essentially, you have to transfer the books in your Library in the same groups that you got them. If you bought, for example, Anchor Yale Bible: Romans individually, you can transfer it individually; but if you bought as part of the full series, you’d have to transfer the whole set together. For more details, again, it would be best to contact Customer Service.

  10. It’s an interesting excercise to challenge my habits, one that makes me develop. For me, reading patterns, especially speed reading, is my biggest obstacle. A smaller issue is what’s being discussed at length in these posts and comments about choices of platforms or formats and how to decide on a per-book -basis.
    I tend to remember some details that I’ve read, like most people perhaps not exact quotes. But I haven’t felt a difference depending on platform in whether a book makes an impact on me and whether I find that “one thing” in it.
    This is how it works for me: I pick up a book and usually I will utilize it well enough and read a large part or the most relevant parts for what I’m aiming at, but the problem is usually speed: I haven’t got rid of the habit of thinking about pronunciation. But I’ll be uping my pace of how many books a Month I read and perhaps I’ll start noticing a difference some time this year. Whether the thinking-of-pronuncation habit comes in the way doesn’t seem to depend on format, possibly on if I tell myself to read or skim a few pages in a couple of minutes – then I possibly do less of that WHEN I’m in the middle of a task of producing an immediate result an not that stressed, just slight positive stress. When I think about the pronuncation it feels like I’m at the same time thinking about what the word means in the context – i.e. whether I’ve understood how the context may totally alter what a word means. I think it’s a misguided will to understand what the rulesof language say and what the author means, because I really shouldn’t let this process slow my reading down too much, at least not as frequently or continuously as it still usually does. Back to what I started saying: so I pick up a book, next I go with the book to where I think I will get some reading done. In this regard I really should follow my father’s example more: he sits down at his desk to read. That’s really what’s been missing and why I haven’t got through or more than glanced most of my books in Bible Study softwares: I haven’t been in front of my desk enough time just to read books or use Bible Study software features (all of which I have in two softwares).
    If I’ve picked up a book I get through it in a matter of hours, Days or Weeks, depending on how much time I decide to free for reading the book and also depending on what hours of the Day I dedicate to reading: the latter depends on how much intelligence reading the book requires from me: I’m more of a Morning and Day -person, I can stay awake and somewhat alert in the evening IF I don’t have to do something that really challenges my intelligence.
    Someone said on the Forums that he sees books that are publised in print making it to pre-pub Gathering Interest stage in Three Months. I can see that people who make that kind of comment mean books that are brand new today. But it feels like it takes about a year for scholarly monographs by publishers that publish dissertations, to even get a new pre-pub product page, they are often bundled in huge collections (which I don’t necessarily object against as they are occasionally attractive and I only want the VERY occasional several-hundred $ or a couple-of-thousand $ collection), it takes ages for some pre-pubs to make it into production (which is inevitable as Faithlife seems to pay less and less attention to what kind of material would derve an electronic publication in the platform considering that if a resources makes it out of pre-pub or CP it has only very barely paid it’s immediate costs and none of the long-term costs), and then if having to wait for the collection to be split up – it can take traditionally anything from about ½ a year to about four or five years – at which point I will probably have had to buy several of the individual volumes in PRINT (definitely not Kindle), most of them as soon I’ve discovered them or found out about their uniqueness.
    Every now and then I do end up duplicating, whether needing to have a resources in two softwares or one software and print. Sometimes it’s no problem at all and only makes my more productive, sometimes it necessary but rather expensive – perhaps in the above case about collections: I’d prefer being able to wait until I’ve saved up for the collection which I have to lock in at the lowest price in order to even be interested in and get the collection straight through pre-pub, rather than having to take specific and limited smaller (still a bit large) sub-collections which none of them contein some very important monograps which can at the point only be had either through the large main collection (they are exclusive to it) or of course print.
    That’s the kind of things that drives my investments.
    In the other software I often cherry-pick more, actually not having to bought even a mid-range equivalent of a base-package of theirs as even their smallest pretty scaled down one contains all software functionality.
    I’m in the process of trying to obtain BAGD (the previous Edition from the late ’70s) – I’m hoping some books I’m wanting to use in Verbum reference/link (to) it. Other than that I just have the L4 Original Languages Library which didn’t really contain any current lexicons with wealths of nuances. Lack of motivation to get the biggest lexicons and original language dictionaries, lessens my reans to get a huge bulk of for example monographs or even duplicates of individual commentary volumes. This is a two-way approach of mine, I’m wanting to restrain myself and to wait if and what more books area released on the other platform.
    Like the blog author I also enjoy writing.
    There’s a big reason for why I don’t adopt the newest Kindle technology (actually never had a Kindle device and I have a grand total of one books and I think that one is registered with “my” junk email address): I don’t want to consume rare earth minerals more than necessary so I really avoid all types of touch-monitors. Also having a hard time imagining how someone will attach a physical keyboard to a Kindle device and sit down in the bus or train typing fast. Perhaps You can type as You walk or stand, but I really can’t type AT ALL on a 5½” touch monitor.
    Yes, laptops are a bit bulky and heavy, I really try to use them as much as possible anyway and I have an attitute of not being bothered by that fact. The worst thing is instead that they can’t take the cold Winter wather.
    Which leads me to my final point: I do read actual paper books as well beause I feel I can plan one day: before I leave my home I feel fairly certain what book I’ll need to or want to read that day and usually bring a couple plus a Bible (usually the 1971 RSV, also used the 2010 NABRE OT of some time) and an additional New Testament, sometimes the Old Testament Deuterocanonicals as well all in print – this really doesn’t weigh that much more than a cheap laptop (I also have a current laptop with AMD CPU, which is thinner). Perhaps I miss the extra-Biblical references to be looked up though – should remember to download some of those next time I update one o my two identical old Nooks. Much of what’s currently in the Verbum store (that I’ve looked at) is (by a hunch) from about 1991-2013, really deficient in anything older than that, and much comes in collections: You evaluate it before purchase of course but much of what You buy gets partially forgotten, and because of the sheer number of books it will take some time, maybe 1½ more years minimum, before I’ve laid out and executed a satisfying tagging-system. Print books I know how to use today, to properly use sofware I have to organize them myself so that I can search within user made collections.

    • Since I wrote my comment on Jan. 22. I’ve tried adapting my reading speed to a level where I don’t miss what’s being said when I read and found that I was able to speed up my reading. I needed to try to read faster. If I read too fast (which is normal reading speed for most who have spent the kind of money on books that I have) I only skim and not even in an effective way – not grasping anything.

      I wrote: “Lack of motivation to get the biggest lexicons and original language dictionaries, lessens my reans to get a huge bulk of for example monographs or even duplicates of individual commentary volumes. This is a two-way approach of mine, I’m wanting to restrain myself and to wait if and what more books area released on the other platform.”
      … there was a mis-spelled word “reans” – by which I meant “dreams”.

      The reason I consider a large bundle of monographs (yes, by an European publisher), is because it’s about as cost-effective as base-packages, and I don’t want the latter since there’s way too much filler in them – in fact I very rarely want any level of a base-package. An alternative to upgrading to L7, is to keep subscribing to Logos Now – which adds the benefit of the Web App. An alternative might be to change my annual Logos Now subscription to a Monthly one this Summer, and keep subscribing continuously until L7 is released to get a small discount on for example L7 Anglican Silver (which is the most recent base-package I bought apart from the Feature Crossgrade). Stop the Logos Now subscription right after the upgrade. And after some time when the Web App is REALLY needed subscribe again – then an alternative MIGHT be Logos Cloud although I really don’t like the idea of not keeping books so it would only be in order to eventually by ownership licenses to some very select individual titles in it, so it’s really not a cheap option – therefore Cloud would only be an option if I KNOW I’ll have a really intense period when I’ll look at some interesting books together with a friend with similar interests. I’m yet to see if I can become friends with anyone with enough interest.
      Just saving all my money for the large bundle of monograps seems like the best idea, would still need to evaluate how much I save though, as I can’t or won’t ever utilize a large part of what’s in it due to that even after many years I’ll still probably lack som training plus lack interest in many of the specific topics seeing other topics not covered by the bundle as much more important. So if I spend on the bundle – where’s my budget for additional books? The bundle really should answer a large part of question I may have at some point, in order to be a good purchase.
      So the fact that there are a few essential titles in the bundle is not enough reason to get it, even though like I said in my previous comment there’s a price-inaccessibility to get them individually (in print, not offered as indivual volumes nor even in smaller bundles in the Faithlife stores).

      I’m starting to become aware of that it’s somewhat unfeasible to keep duplicating some books that I have so that a friend who will read/research them together with me (one that I don’t yet have, as I said above), so print which can be loaned to anyone at anytime is an option, it just bothers me not necessarily being able to read at the same time. And that a friend will probably not want to budget buying own copies lots of the books to be read herself/himself.
      Really, my main funtction in a friendship may be that I have evaluated some and keep evaluating many books, I will guide about what should be read together. At the same time I’m humble and wise enough not to suggest that a book should be bought (as a duplicate) upon a friend finding common interest in the book, because few books are worth buying if not getting any discount, and some publishers won’t even allow any discount when a customer calls to negotiate the price with a sales representative. And the usual 25% discount is quite little. Some books, some of them expensive, have later long after I’ve purchased them been sold to anyone for twice as good a discount or almost half the price compared to what I got when I originally purchased, I’ve lost hundreds of $ on premature purchases.

      A virtue is really to wait and see if You can actually afford and will use a purchase which at this moment is more like a nice-to-have/nice-to-own-from-an-early-point-in-time. Therefore I should stop predicting what large bundles and what number of individual titles and small bundles I will be able put on my wish list in a serious mood or pre-order. What I have to do is to write a small notepad document where I’ll put all the pre-pubs and wish-list items that I could live without either because their bundled price is high or because I have a hunch that I have other, better, priorities such as paying for self-publishing a book in the future, together with the campaigns, listings and stock of print books needed.
      Regarding publishing a book: the dilemma is that if I don’t have a lot of books it greatly reduces how much quality books I can cite. Therefore this is a real balanace act.
      But the kind of money I used to put into small purchases is unsustainable, I just don’t get a lot that way, not that the books wouldn’t be great – in fact I’ve rated most of my purchases highly, it’s just that they can rarely be had at good discounts, especially the really high quality ones.
      Additionally, if I don’t look at what’s new in the pre-pub -program I get less tempted to buy more.
      Amazon also has pre-pub for print books. But if it’s in a series I’m unfamiliar with or by an author I haven’t heard of nor have anything by the author in Verbum, it’s pretty tricky to see the value and about impossible to get any kind of reviews since it’s probably by such a recent author that he/she is not mentioned anywhere in for example journals I have (which I have mostly in Accordance).

      Let me further point out that I don’t have much problems with either print or Faithlife books, especially not regarding what it’s like to read through them. I have read a larger part of my print library. But I’m determined to sit a lot at my desk reading, so it will change. Little-by-little I’m growing tired of surfing instead of reading books on the monitor.
      What I need to do soon whenever I have several hours or preferably days of time, is to find a good aproach to find wortwhile books that I should read or use for particular topics and issues, among the books that I already have in Bible Study softwares. On the forums crowd-sourced custom collections, and individual tagging-systems are the most common approaches. I’m not sure either one is the right option in the near future. Tagging is good, I agree, but I won’t have the time to outline a thorough-going system in the near future. Instead I might for example look at which books or pages are referenced an awful lot, and choose that to read first.

  11. Romesh Prakashpalan, obviously, you need to pick your favorite child before you write your will. =) (Seriously, however, I’ve asked Adam Borries to chime back in about that—he knows the official policies better than I.)

    I’m so glad your children have been expressing interest in things theological. I pray mine will do the same as they grow older. I also admire you for reading the Puritans and other older writers. More power to you. I had my tongue in my cheek with that line about coolness, but actually you’re making half my point for me: you read the classics, not the stuff in the middle which is likely to form the lion’s share of a given person’s library. If you read very old books like that, perhaps your library will indeed be a welcome gift to your descendants.

  12. One advantage to ebooks, when you move you don’t have 20, 200 lb boxes that the bottoms fall out of. Just pick up your computer and go.

    • Christopher says:

      This! :)

      Seriously, My family just moved into a home we are still renovating. I’ve got boxes and boxes of books in a trailer parked on the driveway. And some of those boxes are H-E-A-V-Y!

      My goal over the next umpteen years is to jettison the number of books I have. Although, come to think of it, if you place multiple bookshelves on a wall, fill them with books, the sounds emanating from the other sides of the wall are reduced greatly. Hmmm….

      Never mind, I’m keeping the books for now and using them for sound deadening properties! :)

  13. I believe where Logos to close, they would as in old days provide us with CD's of our books. At least that is my hope!

  14. Can you write a post about how to easily extract highlighted quotes from a Logos resource? I agree, Logos is far better for searching your resources, but Kindle's functionality on being able to see all your highlights for a resource in one place is a game-changer. Is there a similar function within Logos that I'm just not aware of?

  15. I have gone to a lot of e-books, mainly for storage reasons (no more room for bookshelves!)

    …One thing that I've found that was unexpected – my brain does not retain, store, and/or organize things as well with an e-book. It's not just where a thing is on a page; it's also how far into the book, how far into a chapter, etc. My brain just kind of lumps it all together. (Looking at the percentage numbers into the book doesn't help.) So it's not an ideal solution to me just from that point of view, but I don't have much in the way of options for storage reasons…

    Cindy Gooch

  16. I am a pastor and have been a very satisfied Logos customer for 14 years. In many cases, if I like a book in print — especially if it is a reference work — I will invest in the Logos version as well. Logos 6 did an amazing job with their 'Export to Kindle' feature. Now we just need an 'Export Highlights to Evernote' feature, and my world will be complete.

  17. There is. You can set your highlights to be saved in a resource-specific notes document. I hope to write a post on this, but here's a discussion on the forums: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/106967/739861.aspx.

  18. I hope to write more on this, but here's a start: https://community.logos.com/forums/p/106967/739861.aspx

  19. Has Logos ever spoken to their rationale for not allowing books to be loaned to someone for a short period of time?

  20. I have a question, how did you find the passage in the end? I am also considering getting more ebooks, but because the search engine (in kindle) isn’t great, I am very unsure about getting ebooks of titles I know I will want to make reference in the future.

    How would you suggest coping with this issue?

    • In the end I looked at the table of contents and figured out which part of the book dealt with the same topic as the quote (as I remembered it). I read a few pages till I came to the quotation.

      At that point I did not have access to a Logos version; as I wrote this post I checked in Logos to see what my searches would have gotten me, and that’s how I came up with the “tar*” example.

  21. Great information. For me I have children and grandchildren that are wanting my collections of print and electronic books. It is a sizable investment and it is very important to be able to pass them on to another generation and two of Bible preachers and teachers.

  22. Mark Ward That would be great since the forum isn't specifically helpful. I use Logos as a resource engine; I do not use the notes at all, so it would be great to have a step by step tutorial on how to do this. Or is there one out there that already exists that I can reference?

  23. How does one get their Logos books to a Kindle?

  24. Paul L. White says:

    One of the reasons I treasure my print library is the *viewpoint* in the various volumes which pre-date the 1960s. I have books my mother read as a teenager, before the more liberal, anti-God, anti-morality perspective took over our media.

    The other value I believe a Pastor can have with print books is to take one to church, put it on a table opened to a particular page, and let the congregation see the actual passage that he quoted in his presentation from some author. It gives the Pastor credibility, instead of demanding that people trust him.

    For research, however, and discovery, how on earth can you beat the electronic analyses available thanks to Faithlife Corporation and Logos Bible Software? There is just no way!

    Paul L. White
    Satisfied Logos User Since 1.6

  25. Stephen Steele says:

    Hi Mark

    Faithlife employee Angela Murashov said recently that new books no longer work with the send to kindle engine and there was no ETD as to when the engine would be updated (https://community.logos.com/forums/p/117957/774365.aspx).

    Is send to kindle still a priority?

    • I believe she was referring specifically to the Concordia commentaries mentioned in that forum thread. The feature still works apart from some excepted resources such as those.