Logos on Kindle

by Feb 23, 2011Bible Software, Books, Culture, Tech3 comments

A friend linked me to an ongoing discussion about reading Logos Bible Software books on the Kindle. That discussion took a major turn I didn’t expect: a number of commenters are arguing that exporting Logos books to be read on the Kindle is a violation of the Logos EULA—and, even worse, is outright theft.

This is Logos co-founder Bob Pritchett’s response:


Bob Pritchett Replied: Yesterday 3:41 PM

Logos does not yet have an official position on putting books on the Kindle.

We definitely do not support your distributing or re-selling the books, but we design our software around a "purchase once, use anywhere" model—for the original purchaser. Personally, I’d like us to have an "Export to Kindle" feature built right in.

I have no idea who this will antagonize or not. Some publishers, for example, are happy to support "buy once, read anywhere," others are not. (We can’t even enable some books for iPhone access because of publisher restrictions.)

So at this point, there is no official policy but your own interpretation of a complex stew of licenses / fair use / legal precedent / etc. You won’t make me upset if you read it on a Kindle yourself; I would consider it inappropriate to give the content to someone else, to share licenses, to redistribute the content, etc.

I hope we’ll have better support for e-ink e-book devices in the future, and we’ll probably have to adjust that support to varying (and changing) publisher opinions.

— Bob

I found that candid and helpful, and I hope Logos is able to do what he suggests. As for the more formal legal demands that we all need to abide by, here’s a thought: the Kindle is capable of surfing the web. Most book publishers have allowed Logos to use their materials on Biblia.com. Why would reading that material on the Kindle, just getting it there through a slightly different means than over the web, be wrong?

My more basic argument for my continuing to export my Logos books to my Kindle device reflects what Bob said. I paid for individual rights to the electronic texts of a number of books. I did so in order to read these books on whatever screens I could, even and especially my Kindle. I do not let others borrow, let alone have, these books. I purchase a book once, and I use it anywhere, just like the Logos model dictates.

It may take a number of years for these issues to shake out across the publishing industry. My bet is that we will reach a non-DRM model like that now used for most MP3s. Buy a book in any electronic format, and you can read it on nearly any major device. And type of device—laptop, desktop, tablet, e-ink reader, cellphone, brain implant chip…

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  1. Sam Sutter

    for me this is a HUGE factor – i have not bought Logos because I read on my kindle, not so much on my computer. It doesn’t make sense for me to by books on Kindle and also on Logos – so I just buy books for kindle.

  2. Mark L Ward Jr

    Sam, watch for an upcoming post on this issue. I think Logos and Kindle can and—as Pritchett’s words indicate—likely will go well together. If Pritchett gets to do what he wants to do, Kindle will be a great complement to a Logos library.

  3. Randy

    Hopefully everyone knows by now about Logos and Kindle Fire. Also, I realize this is a long time after but just in case you’re still sitting on the fence, Sam, remember what the primary purpose of Logos is: Bible study and research, not merely a collection of books to read. The tools within Logos are designed help you research biblical passages, do original language word studies, search your entire library for any word, topic, or scripture reference in seconds, gather your research material together…the list goes on and on and on. This is ridiculously powerful stuff. It’s the difference between reading a paper or viewing a presentation and having Microsoft Office and the ability to produce them. Over the years, as titles available for Logos proliferated–particularly books of prose and not reference works–there was a growing frustration with the ability to simply sit down and read some of the books in one’s Logos library. Which brings us to where we are now. Hopefully things work out for a more fluid reading experience; I like the above mp3 analogy.