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Logos Hears Outcry & Reneges on Shelving Logos Now, Mostly

And a great outcry was heard from the Logos forums as the masses wailed and moaned the loss of Logos Now and Faithlife Connect replacing it. Then, their outcry was heard from Bellingham and grace was issued to all.

A biblical writer might write the account of Logos Now that way, if we lived in those times. We don’t and this doesn’t rise to the level of biblical disaster, but the decision to do away with Logos Now hurt a lot of the Logos faithful and the outcry was great.

What Was Logos Now

New_Logos-Now-blog-image-1

If you’re not a Logos Bible Software user, then you may not understand what I’m talking about. The software produced by the company formerly known as Logos Bible Software and now called Faithlife, led by former Microsoft employee Bob Pritchett, began a subscription service awhile back called Logos Now. Some who disliked the idea joking called the service, “paying to beta test new features” while others liked getting the new features before a major .0 update, like the upcoming Logos 8.0, which I’d expect sometime this summer or fall.

Logos Now included a bunch of things. the customers mostly like the getting new features NOW. Hence the name, Logos Now. About every 6 weeks the developers of Logos on both Mac and Windows released new tools or features in their desktop computer software.

People like me who love getting the latest greatest enjoyed the updates. It was fun to fire up your favorite Bible program and see that it was downloading something new. I’d rush over to the forums and find out what the new update included.

A lof the new features that came out were a bit obscure and not something I really used. Occasionally they’d hit on something that people really liked.

Included in these new features were the latest greatest version of Logos. So when version 7 came out, we didn’t have to necessarily pay to get all the new tools rolled into the program. We already had some of them, but others came along for the ride in our subscription that costs about $10/month at first and then later became $99/year.

To sweeten the deal, Faithlife threw in a few extras. At least that’s the way we saw it. Here’s what we enjoyed as subscribers:

  • The new features about every 6 weeks.
  • Access to a Mobile Ed course (video course on subjects; kind of like seminary inside Logos Bible Software).
  • Discounts on new books.
  • Access to a different resource to try each month and a discount if you wanted to keep it after the month.
  • Discount when a new version of Logos comes out.

That’s not a comprehensive list, but it includes the highlights. All that comes for under $100/year. I was happy.

Faithlife’s Disconnect with Faithlife Connect

Then it all came crashing down. Faithlife employee Chris duMond took to the forums to announce the end of Logos Now and then introduction of Faithlife Connect. Here’s what he wrote about the change from Logos Now to Faithlife Connect.

How Faithlife Connect affects Logos Now and Logos Cloud customers

Because this product includes many of the same features and benefits of both Logos Now and Logos Cloud, we’re migrating everyone who has a subscription to Logos Now and Logos Cloud to a subscription to Faithlife Connect. We’ll transition Logos Cloud and Logos Now customers into Faithlife Connect over the next day or so as we configure things on the back end. All active subscribers will retain their Logos Now/Cloud benefits through their subscription period.

faithlife connect packages comparison

The change shocked many people, like me, who liked Logos Now. Why was this a problem? to get everything we enjoyed in Logos Now we’d have to subscribe to Faithlife Connect Essentials, a $19.99 subscription charged annually at about $240/year. So our subscription went from about $100/year to $240, a 140% price increase. They claimed it was better because it included services like…

  • Faithlife TV – a kind of Netflix for Christian movies and documentaries.
  • 2 video courses (Mobile Ed) per year.
  • Discounts.
  • Free eBooks.
  • Rewards of 2% – kind of like cash back or airlines miles.

Many of us didn’t see these things as a big benefit. Not enough to more than double the price. We just wanted to the new features NOW. The outcry was great, indeed. Just read the huge thread that followed the announcement.

Faithlife automatically migrated Logos Now subscribers to the new Faithlife Connect. This also angered many users who made that clear in another forum thread. Another thread stated that “Faithlife Connect punishes Logos’ best customers!”. People got angry, probably overreacted and many of us immediately went to our subscription page and turned off our auto-renew, which Faithlife automatically turned on for all customers they migrated from Logos Now to Faithlife Connect.

In defense of Faithlife, they said that all Logos Now customers would get to keep their Logos Now features until their current subscription ran out or until early November 2018 whichever lasted the longest. I saw that some had paid up through 2019, so they would get to keep Logos Now for a long time still before having to decide what to do about the new service.

Happy Ending, For Now

bob pritchett announcement

Faithlife CEO Bob Pritchett took to the forums and made a new announcement on Friday, March 2 entitled “Logos Now to continue at same price (with new name)”. He wrote:

I am sorry for how we communicated the Logos Now / Faithlife Connect change. This was my fault, not the team’s.

We have been listening to your feedback and you have caused us to change our plan.

The bottom line: We are reversing this change, and you do not have to do anything. You will be automatically returned to the situation as of two weeks ago, before our announcement.

We are effectively restoring Logos Now at the same price, only with more value. This configuration will be called Faithlife Connect Essentials (No Library), and will come with everything in Faithlife Connect Essentials (https://connect.faithlife.com/) except the subscription-based access to the library.

This is everything Logos Now was and a bit more, and will include other (non-library) improvements/benefits to Faithlife Connect Essentials as they are released.

If you were happy with Logos Now, this is the same, with no change in price. As a Logos Now subscriber, you are grandfathered into this package and price point.

The ensuing thread filled up quickly with people thanking Bob for the change.

What Should You Do?

If you were a Logos Now subscriber, you have to decide what to do next. Here’s a list of possible responses to the situation.

  • Nothing – just enjoy the new feature and stick with what you have enjoying the features of Logos Now in a newly named service called Faithlife Connect  Essentials (No library). That’s what I think most people will do. That’s what I’ll probably do. I went to reinstate my auto-renew status. I have until November before I have to decide since my current subscription does not run out till then.
  • Migrate to Faithlife Connect – for the few people who’s saw the change and loved it, take the leap and get the new Faithlife Connect at one of several levels ranging in price from the Starter package at $9/moth with no new tools unless you buy them and own them to $200/month for Faithlife Connect Ultimate which gives you everything you can get in the service.
  • Stop Subscribing and Buy –  some users feel the pain of subscription which can change on the whim of the software publisher. So, they decided to stop subscribing, but they won’t leave their Logos library behind. Instead, they’ll just buy the new features when the company releases them, usually every two years.
  • Move to Another Bible Program – a few users, even though Faithlife chose to renege on killing Logos Now, sort of, feel frustrated and whipped about emotionally. They plan to switch on principle to another program, like Accordance, WORDsearch, Bibleworks or Olive Tree. Those are the best solutions and probably Accordance offers the most since it has large library options and advanced study features. If a library matters most, then consider WORDsearch or Olive Tree. People who use mobile more should definitely pick Olive Tree, the best mobile Bible app that’s not made by Faithlife. Only consider WORDsearch if you really love a large library, don’t use mobile much, and will run the program on Windows only.
  • Stop Buying Digital Libraries – my friend and Theotek contributor LaRosa Johnson has a great blog about Bible Study in general. He recommends not building a huge digital Bible study library.

For now, I’m doing two things. First, I’ve decided to take the next 8 months and consider whether the new Faithlife Connect Essentials (No library) will best meet my Bible study software needs. Before all of this, I was a fairly committed Logosian. Now I’m not as sure and feel a little uneasy about the company. I was planning to jump ship entirely before they reversed their decision, so they did at least temporarily keep me as a user.

Second, I plan to get more proficient with Accordance Bible Software. They seem to offer the best solution for my needs.

  • Fast – starting up Accordance 12 compared to starting up Logos 7 is like racing a station wagon against a Corvette.
  • Full-featured – I can do most of the things I could do in Logos 7, albeit in different ways, using the features of Accordance.
  • Library – Accordance includes a huge library of Bible study tools that offer competitive prices and their tagging is often superior to Logos.
  • Mac-like/Windows-like user-interface – the Accordance user-interface looks more like a native Mac or a native Windows program while Logos wants to make their user-interface look the same on both platforms. This means they have used technology that creates an overlay on top of native window drawing tools in OS X and in Windows. This is why Logos runs slower than other programs. It was a mistake made in version 4 and they’ve never recovered from it. It’s better, but still not as native as other programs. Many Logos users see this as a strength, however, I’m not one of them.
  • Trustworthy – I know many of the people who work for Accordance and know I can trust that they will not make drastic changes to their policies without considering the needs of the user first, plus they work hard to respond to user’s requests, needs and concerns. Please don’t see this as a slam against any other company. I’m just endorsing Accordance Bible Software as trustworthy because of my past experience.

I still struggle with a few things. Logos syncs with other platforms except their web app exceptionally well. Accordance relies on Dropbox and on mobile you have to do this manually and their Android app’s too new to even include sync of notes, highlights and other user-created tools. The notes features in Logos are better than Accordance. They offer better text formatting and will automatically create Bible verse links when they’re typed. I don’t have to manually add the link to turn a Bible verse into a pop-up or hyperlink. The diagramming tool in Logos is great and Accordance doesn’t offer an analog.

Kevin

Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.

4 Comments

  1. I use OneDrive in our house and I’ve learned that if I put my “Accordance Files” library in that location I can access it on whatever system I am using so long as I point it to the same path (ex. c:\onedrive\Documents\Accordance Files\, or the equivalent on my mac as well). Just a thought.

  2. Hello Kevin, Thank you for keen insights. I have been thinking of investing $2-4K in logos works since Christmas. Logos has more Anabaptist and Mennonite works because of an interest that I have in that tradition.

    Would you strongly lean towards considering Accordance? Logos still has the best works. Perhaps it is just best to stay with purchased packages/works and an every 2 or 4 year upgrade to get next version.

    I have much invested in Olivetree but seems like so much more option in Logos. I am not a pastor but an interested party.

    Any additional comments appreciated from you or others.

    Blessings.

    • I can’t really tell you want you should do because I’m learning that Bible software is a deeply personal choice. People love things that I can’t imagine every tolerating and I love things that people say I’m crazy for using. As for library options the best options are of course Logos, Accordance, Olive Tree and WORDsearch. Of those three Logos and Accordance have more features in their programs, but they work very differently. If you’re happy with Logos I’d stick with it. The move to Accordance will come with a learning curve. Getting the right books in a new program can get costly. However, there are some advantages. I think Accordance moves quicker in responding to customers. They give great support in their forums and if you call them up or email them. They also seem to be very responsive to customer suggestions for features. They offer incredible price matching and cross-grade discounts if you own books in other programs.

      This recent fiasco at Logos has many people a little gun shy. It seems Logos really wants to push people in the paid subscription model and most of us don’t want to go there or don’t want to make big investments in them. Stop paying your subscription for whatever reason and you lose features that you may grow to depend on. That’s a bad thing for customers and I think a bad business model in this area. It works in Office Suite or Multimedia editing like Microsoft and Adobe, because you pay your money and you get everything. But with Bible software, you pay a little and you get less than if you pay a lot to get more.

  3. If you just need a library with low level on original languages the E-Sword is a way to go! It’s free, yes, FREE and you can add THOUSANDS of books, Bibles and commentaries also for free on Biblesupport.com . Just be fair and give them a fair donation to help to keep up the servers. Those guys there run it as a real ministry and they deserve our support. In regard to mobile app, I use Android and you can have all the books on a free app called Mysword , in my humble opinion the best of best on mobile Bible apps (just pay for the upgraded version $50,00 , it’s worth every penny). Currently, I do have a large Logos library and can’t just throw it away. I consider e-sword the best non scholar program out there, better than Olive Tree (I have it also) and better than Pocket Bible. I do have a library of the size about 7 gig on Accordance and I like it as well.
    You may try Bible Analyzer or The World, good programs as well.
    I was upset before and now a kind of cautious with logos because it is not a ministry anymore. I liked Kevin’s post.
    May God keep blessing you all!

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