There are thousands of customers who own a copy of the software produced by my company. Each one of them have individual personal tastes when it comes to the books they use. So, even though they typically receive more than 200 titles in the box they buy, rarely are they satisfied with the selection. So what do they do? They call us or email us with book suggestions. Imagine the hundreds of wish lists we receive each week! It can be difficult to manage, but worth it in the end as we watch customers move from being one time only purchasers to committed owners of a growing personalized library.
But how to we pick which books we develop, market and sell? It’s not really all that complex.
First, when it comes to our main software packages, we aim to build a “standard” biblical reference library. Oops, did I say standard? Yes, I know, a standard library is in the eye of the beholder. But we’ve had years of experience with books and we know that to have a well rounded library you have to have the basics covered. That means multiple Bible translations, Bible dictionaries, commentaries, theologies, devotionals, Bible studies, sermon illustrations, etc. You get the idea.
So, back to the question of which books make it in the box and which don’t? It comes down to two things – coverage area and royalty costs. First, we look at the categories covered in the product and we make sure we have enough books to fill each one. We try whenever possible to have the best book in its category, but in some cases we haven’t been able to acquire a license from the book publisher for the “top” book. That’s OK, we’ll take the second or third best book in the bunch. We never stop working to acquire licenses to books so it’s likely that eventually, we’ll gain access to the best book and we’ll put it in the product.
Next thing we look at is royalty costs. If you’re already a customer it’s likely you started with one of the big 200+ book products. If you were to purchase each of those books individually you know you’d spend a whole lot more than you did when you bought the product from us. We’re able to provide a huge discount on books in the 200+ box because of the favorable royalty terms we’ve been able to negotiate. If a book isn’t in a 200+ book box, it’s probably because the royalty doesn’t allow it. Sure, there are other issues as well…but in a nutshell, that’s mostly it.
More on licensing and book choosing later in the week.