Five Reasons to Buy Logos

Several concerned friends have contacted me about a blog post detailing Five Reasons Not to Buy Logos.

I urge everyone considering such a purchase to read the five reasons, but you could save about 80% of your time reading that post by being a regular reader of βλογάπη! I’ve made a lot of the same points:

  • BibleWorks focuses on the Bible text while Logos is a digital library. It’s clear which is more important and therefore ought to be purchased first!
  • Don’t have a baseball-card-collecting mentality when it comes to Logos books, because you won’t use—and shouldn’t use—a lot of the fluff they put in their packages.
  • Before you buy, add up the actual Amazon value of only the books you will use and compare it to the cost of the package or set you are considering.
  • Logos can give you an overwhelming number of hits, lessening the value of its easy searchability.
  • Be aware that Logos simply can’t make the claim to likely permanence that physical books can. Will you be able to access those books in America’s dystopian apocalyptic future, when the Democrats finally rule us all with an iron fist and Centrifugal Bumble Puppy is the only game in town?

Although I’m not willing to call Logos “deceptive,” I agree with nearly everything else he said. I genuinely hope some people choose not to buy Logos because of his post. To me, this is especially true of “non-professionals” who don’t have as good an idea of the value of what they’re getting in a given package. Sorry, Logos!
Even so, I’m prepared now to offer…

Five Reasons to Buy Logos:

1. The Math Might Work Out Differently for You

This blogger admits he didn’t do the math. I did. Before I purchased any package, I sat down and made a chart totaling the value of the books I would use vs. their cheapest price on Amazon. Logos, for me and my particular needs as a seminary student and doctoral candidate, came out ahead.

2. Portability Does Have Significant Value

And not just for missionaries. I find that the “portability” of having all the resources I actually use—mainly commentaries and a few reference works—available to me on all my computers and devices is a significant benefit. Now if only I could stop letting those devices distract me with their other bells and whistles… (Seriously, that’s a con you should consider.)

3. Good Deals Do Exist. Sometimes. On Leap Year. When Certain Planets Align Properly.

Logos’ new purchase model is a great convenience to customers: you buy something and it downloads to your computer instantly. No fiddling with product codes. I love it. But it also cuts out some middlemen who somehow managed to offer good deals—like that guy at Rejoice Christian Software from whom I purchased several commentary sets and reference works for excellent prices. I stopped watching Logos’ Pre-Pub and Community Pricing deals a while back. They flooded my Google Reader with too much stuff I wasn’t interested in. But someone in a different stage of his library-creation may not consider that wasted time. If you have a lot of patience you can still find some good deals. One time I got the whole WBC from an Australian bookstore for $250!

4. The Benefits of Immediate Access May For You Outweigh the Risk of Losing Your Library In 20 Years

When I bought the Logos Gold package (and later Platinum) I knew I was about to write a dissertation in a year or so. I was going to have a brand new, beautiful wife that I wanted to be around. Working in my home office by using my own library was a huge help to us, because it meant I was at least at home with my bride even if I couldn’t be sitting on the couch with her. I feel I got my money’s worth from that factor alone, and if I lost it all tomorrow I’d be upset but not gipped. Additional benefits have arisen: now that I finally have an iPad after two years of fighting covetousness, I can do sermon prep on the couch and in a comfortable position. We like this.

5. All the Cool People Are Doing It

I couldn’t think of a more attention-grabbing heading, because this is really a small point: notice that this blogger still has purchased something from Logos: the Theological Journal Library. Just because you pass on the packages doesn’t mean you can get no benefit from Logos.

Conclusion

Biblical scholars, certainly—and preachers, too—need to consider that the shortcuts provided by Logos may not be beneficial. They can and do encourage, as that blogger pointed out, a superficial engagement with your library. That’s the nature of the medium. I am trying to fight this, but it’s hard. For others, maybe it isn’t a fight because they’re already so self-disciplined. Fine. But I’m guessing that most of us need to think carefully through pros and cons like these before plunking down any money. That anonymous blogger has done us all a good service.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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