Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: The elephant in the room

  1. #1

    Question The elephant in the room

    I've gone through most of the forum threads looking for a discussion on what strikes me as an obvious question: Why has BibleWorks been abandoned?

    The homepage states, "it became increasingly apparent over the last few years that the need for our services had diminished to the point where we believed the Lord would have us use our gifts in other ways."

    Forgive my bluntness, but is this homepage announcement a polite way of saying, "We were unable to generate enough sales of Bibleworks to keep the lights on?"

    I am wondering if it would be worthwhile to open a discussion on what went wrong? If lack of sales is the reason for the demise of Bibleworks, is this due to the proliferation of websites that offer free Bible searches and material to the point that people don't see any reason to spend a few hundred dollars on a product like Bibleworks? Could it be that Bibleworks was overpriced? Or too complicated for most people to use? Better software than Bibleworks out their that took business away from Bibleworks? All the above?

    Bibleworks now joins the ranks of other abandoned Bible software products: QuickVerse, Theophilus, Glo Bible, Biblesoft PC Study Bible, etc.

    Is this worth discussing? Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    439

    Default

    I remember seeing a post by Mike Bushell explaining the reasons more fully. I can't find it now; it may have been in one of the forums that have disappeared. (Likely the one that carried BW announcements.) It would be nice if that post were to be made available again.
    I remember it as being the sort of statement that had me nodding, "yes, although I deeply regret the closing, I understand why you are are doing it."
    I think I remember some of the points, but my septuagenarian memory isn't up to giving an accurate summary.
    Maybe if Mike sees this he would consider reposting the original.

    --Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    763

    Default

    I looked around in some threads and posts from around the time of the announcement, and found this one from Mike Bushell: https://www.bibleworks.com/forums/sh...5592#post35592. In it, he offers no further enlightenment on the background, but does say, " I plan, Lord willing, to keep it compatible with Windows for as long as the Lord gives me breath." This is encouraging, but I'm not sure that any of us users are likely to know the full story behind the shutdown. Other posts before and after that one in that thread offer further speculations, but I don't think much certainty.
    David Rensberger
    Atlanta, Georgia

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Wert View Post
    my septuagenarian memory isn't up to giving an accurate summary--Jim
    As I recall the turning point was not the declining sales volume. My septuagenarian memory is some fuzzy too. But I think that one of the staff, maybe M Tan, wanted to leave to preach the Gospel or return to school with that as his goal. I got the feeling that that initiated a time of considering the future that led to the conclusion to close BW. I think that other details were shared as well. The way it was written made me content with the closing. They had sought the Lord and His answer was to close BW.
    Last edited by now john; 01-19-2019 at 06:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    445

    Default

    Certainly the fact that BW was not selling in the same league as Logos or Accordance was a factor. But any comparison between the price and features of those two programs and the price and features of BibleWorks would suggest that BW was far from overpriced.
    καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    252

    Default

    While this is sensitive matters, I would respectfully like to add my two cents as well:
    - BW was far from overpriced. I know this from meticulous comparisons with Accordance and Logos as a NT-professor in charge of guiding our cohorts to make up their minds of which one to buy.
    - BW was also far from under-powered. Once you learned to use BW, its speed and ease is still up to pace with the two others.
    - But BW lost - in my humble opinion - track of the development within the computer business going from all-in-one programs to flexible apps. It began, when it was decided not to jump the app-wagon and develop a light-weight version. It was asked for many times, but the answer was that soon tablets will be powerful enough to run the full program. In my view, this was a deal breaker for many of my students. They simply wanted to be able to carry around their Bible programs in their pocket.
    - Further: BW's business philosophy was unable to adjust to the shift in the PC-business from buying programs to buying services/add-ons. This is the story of Microsoft, who had to battle for years to find a new business model now that their OS is for free. I fully respect BW's principle of not charging for Bibles and "focus on the text". Unfortunately, this had the side effect that no substantial income was generated between new versions.

    These two issues would be my explanation: the lack of an app-solution and the lack of a flexible business model. To this could perhaps be added the general feeling of lack of update to a modern program layout. The windows 95-feeling has never left BW.

    But please let me add: I still use BW every day - as I do with Accordance. There are things that BW does better and faster.
    Let me also add: I am not saying that BW "failed". They chose a path based on convictions (ie. not to sell Bibles/God's word) and possibly possibilities (developing a true app-solution, a steady flow of commentaries and so on would have meant a heavy increase in staff) - and did the very best from within these limits. They have served us all very well from this perspective. And Mike's insistence on keeping BW "afloat" is simply humbling admirable.

    So let me end with a "thank you BW" for what you have provided us with - and for the decision to continue to do so for the foreseeable future (we hope)!

    Morten

  7. #7

    Default

    I don't think it is an elephant in the room. The post Jim referred to (I don't know where it is either) sent by Michael last year was (to my recollection) pretty thorough in explaining why he was making the decision. If memory serves me correctly, he even alluded to something about seeing what the future holds for BW, not wanting to discount something happening with BW in the future. Like Jim, I too read it and thought, "okay that does make sense."

    Anyhow, I'm sort of glad we're talking about this again. I never did send my thoughts about how much BW has meant to me in my last 20+ years of pastoral ministry. BW has been my mainstay Bible software for almost my entire ministry. It'll be a strange world without it, if it should ever cease too function for some reason. I thank God for the vision of the BW staff and their dedication to serve the body of Christ with what is IMHO the best Bible software on the planet (& I too use Accordance and Logos).

    Blessings and Peace,
    Dave
    David Spear
    Calvary Chapel of Manassas
    Manassas, Va. 20110
    http://www.calvarychapelmanassas.org/
    KJV Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without (apart from) the deeds of the law.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    275

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MortenJensen View Post
    While this is sensitive matters, I would respectfully like to add my two cents as well:- BW was far from overpriced. I know this from meticulous comparisons with Accordance and Logos as a NT-professor in charge of guiding our cohorts to make up their minds of which one to buy. - BW was also far from under-powered. Once you learned to use BW, its speed and ease is still up to pace with the two others.- But BW lost - in my humble opinion - track of the development within the computer business going from all-in-one programs to flexible apps. It began, when it was decided not to jump the app-wagon and develop a light-weight version. It was asked for many times, but the answer was that soon tablets will be powerful enough to run the full program. In my view, this was a deal breaker for many of my students. They simply wanted to be able to carry around their Bible programs in their pocket. - Further: BW's business philosophy was unable to adjust to the shift in the PC-business from buying programs to buying services/add-ons. This is the story of Microsoft, who had to battle for years to find a new business model now that their OS is for free. I fully respect BW's principle of not charging for Bibles and "focus on the text". Unfortunately, this had the side effect that no substantial income was generated between new versions. These two issues would be my explanation: the lack of an app-solution and the lack of a flexible business model. To this could perhaps be added the general feeling of lack of update to a modern program layout. The windows 95-feeling has never left BW. But please let me add: I still use BW every day - as I do with Accordance. There are things that BW does better and faster.Let me also add: I am not saying that BW "failed". They chose a path based on convictions (ie. not to sell Bibles/God's word) and possibly possibilities (developing a true app-solution, a steady flow of commentaries and so on would have meant a heavy increase in staff) - and did the very best from within these limits. They have served us all very well from this perspective. And Mike's insistence on keeping BW "afloat" is simply humbling admirable. So let me end with a "thank you BW" for what you have provided us with - and for the decision to continue to do so for the foreseeable future (we hope)!Morten
    I think Morten's post sums things up quite well, in particular for the second point. One additional point could be added to this, i.e., the crossover to Mac. Apple's share of the market has changed a lot since the mid-nineties, going from a fairly small niche in the desktop/laptop market to being a major competitor to Windows and having the edge in several areas. I myself changed over to Mac about 10 years ago. BW never really got on board, IMO, to the Mac world, either out of choice or because of ressource constraints. With the CodeWeaver emulation, BW10 works pretty well—but has never felt like a native Mac app, and it could never be used, as is, on iOS devices.

    I seem to remember reading in one of Mike Bushell's posts last year that sales had been decreasing for the last ten years or so. My subjective impressions were that, at the time BW9 came out, the three leading software programs were pretty much equal, with BW having a big advantage over Logos in terms of speed and other capabilities (not to mention the major advantage of the major NT manuscripts and the CNTTS apparatus, among several other things). However, by the time BW10 appeared, Logos was clearly ahead in terms of market clout and has continued to gain momentum since. Unfortunately, it's true that with a philosophy of not making a priority of add-on modules to ensure regular cash flow and focusing mainly on original language texts, the potential market shares have become more and more limited.

    I've focused on Accordance since the demise of BW and have found their business philosophy and their concern for customers similar to BW, which is refreshing.

    That being said, I continue to use BW, though not as much as before.I've already expressed my deep gratitude to the folks at BW for all they did and for their motivation to make a Bible program that could be in the service, first of all to the Church and Christian pastors/scholars and, most of all, to the King. In a world in which Christian companies often differ little in their sales philosophy from non-Christian companies, it's not easy to allow the ideal of selfless service to guide business decisions. That, for me, should give pause as to what we should be doing as Christians and as the Church, but that's another subject... I think! I do wish there had been a greater desire to pass the baton to someone else so that the next generation of users could benefit from BW in some form or another. But that's a choice that has to be respected, even if one can regret it.

    I too will sign off saying thanks, again, to M. Bushell, M. Tan, and the others at BW. I remain grateful for their labors and ministry.

    Don Cobb
    Aix-en-Provence, France

  9. #9

    Default Sensitivity doesn't help

    Christian para-ministries can be terribly frustrating. So many go out of business because their boards of directors are all friends of the ministry and ministry oriented. Letting BW go under isn't the unforgivable sin, but it certainly wasn't good or necessary. Many of us could see this coming years ago when BW failed to offer up the products that their core user base was begging for. In the software space, if you lose the word of mouth momentum, you lose quickly.

    BW needed way more accountability. Someone(s) with enough gravitas to push them into the new world. This may sound harsh, but I was on staff when a multi-million dollar book printer (Christian ministry) went out of business unnecessarily and 80+ people lost their jobs. (That can hardly be called a ministry!) Once a ministry begins offering a product or service, I think new rules need to be followed. Rules like, "No sweet founder/owner, we won't let you sit back and watch it sink. Either sell now while there's still momentum, or get back in the ring and fight."

    I'm still hoping someone buys (acquires?) the rights and relaunches this tool. There is still a demand for a basic search engine that displays all relevant resources instantaneously. Either Logos cannot do this or it's too difficult to use, because I've been trying for months now to make it even half as helpful as BW.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    295

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmyktaylor View Post

    BW needed way more accountability. Someone(s) with enough gravitas to push them into the new world. This may sound harsh, but I was on staff when a multi-million dollar book printer (Christian ministry) went out of business unnecessarily and 80+ people lost their jobs. (That can hardly be called a ministry!) Once a ministry begins offering a product or service, I think new rules need to be followed. Rules like, "No sweet founder/owner, we won't let you sit back and watch it sink. Either sell now while there's still momentum, or get back in the ring and fight."

    I'm still hoping someone buys (acquires?) the rights and relaunches this tool. There is still a demand for a basic search engine that displays all relevant resources instantaneously. Either Logos cannot do this or it's too difficult to use, because I've been trying for months now to make it even half as helpful as BW.
    I do not feel that accountability is at all the issue. BW owners made choices of their conscience and stuck to them. When they decided to close they did so in a manner that kept the product alive for their customers, for at least a time. It is not correct for us to try and make assumptions at this point as it is not constructive. There is no elephant in the room because the closure was transparent to all who were on the forums at the time. Your "rules" are an over simplification of the issues and the decisions made.

    Sorry if my tone appears harsh, that is not intended, just direct.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •