I downloaded the Logos iPhone app during Bob's talk so that I could have a better feel for what he was describing. You might think it's nothing more than an ebook reader like Stanza but there's more to it than that. It comes with a number of books built in, including a few Bibles. If you're using one translation and you wonder what the same verse looks like in another translation, just touch the verse number, select one of your other Bibles and the app takes you right to that same verse.
Seems pretty simple, right? That's just the start. Curious to learn more about a person, place or word in the Bible? Just touch and hold and the Logos app lets you search for it throughout the Bible or in a seemingly endless list of other Logos products.
This is the "network effect" Bob referred to in his session's title. You start reading the Bible in the Logos app but before you know it you've hopped to several other resources, clicking from one link to the next, learning more and more along the way. It's similar to when you start researching something in Bing or Google and a couple of hours later you realize you're 20 links deep; you have no idea how you got there but every link has added to the journey.
When was the last time you had that feeling with an ebook or app? Have you ever had that feeling in an ebook? I haven't, and that's because most publishers are just selling an individual ebook, not a network of content. What makes the Logos product so powerful is that they've spent a lot of time curating their content, building links across products and thinking about how their customers can get the most out of it. They're not selling individual titles as much as they're selling access to their larger service.
That brings me to "value", the other key takeaway from Bob's session. It's important to note that this isn't just a bunch of related books that have been slapped together. Logos has taken the time to leverage the content, add value and build on the network philosophy. Most publishers are complaining about the $9.99 ebook model but Logos is doing something about it. They're offering their content in a manner where the total is far greater than the sum of the parts.
You might think this is a model that only works with reference content that doesn't change over time. You'd be wrong. The "total-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts" model can be applied to just about any type of reference, how-to and even fiction material. And when it is, the resulting product has far more value than what you get from a quick, standalone print-to-e conversion.
Download the Logos app, spend some time in it and see if you don't agree. It's time to stop thinking about standalone ebooks and focus more on the larger network product opportunities.