Glo: Don’t just read the Bible – Experience it! #bibleglo

gloUnless you’ve been living in the dark ages, you must have heard of Glo by now: it’s the Bible for a digital age, a dramatic multimedia presentation of the Bible supplied on 3 DVDs which — if it lives up to the hype — promises to change the way we read the Bible for ever.

Already released in the USA by Zondervan, it officially hits UK bookstores courtesy of Hodder Faith on 12th November 2009 at a special introductory price of £49.99, regular price to be £59.99. USA stock apparently sold out within two weeks, and at LST we’ve already pre-sold our initial stock order and reordered: if you plan to stock it and haven’t already placed your orders, now is the time! As I write, the introductory price on single units only seems to be available when placing orders direct with Hodder/Bookpoint: STL UK list it at £59.99, but offer the 4-copy counterpack with LCD screen at £199.96 retail. Demo CDs are also available in packs of 15, free of charge.

From what I’ve seen and the feedback I’ve heard so far from those who attended the launch event at LICC earlier this week, the hype has not been overdone: this looks like a corker of a package that — to those who can afford it — will be well worth the asking price:

All that said, however — and you just knew this was coming — I have my reservations about it, starting with the simple fact that it’s yet another edition of the Bible for those who already have more versions, translations and special editions than they know what to do with, for whom Bibles have become hardly anything more than fashion accessories: the rich continue to get richer whilst the poor continue to struggle and do without; and that, gentle reader, is plain wrong.

Not in my languageYes, I’m back on my favourite hobby horse: what exactly is going on in the English speaking world — what exactly is wrong with the church, the body of Christ in this part of the world — that makes it invest so much time and energy in producing still more English versions and hi-falutin’ editions of the Bible when there are millions of people who do not yet have the Bible available in their language?

Let’s face it: the ‘digital generation’ being targeted by Glo is not exactly deprived or needy, is it? Anyone with a mouse and a bit of nouse is perfectly capable of doing their own research and discovering most if not all of what they’ll be spoon-fed by Glo.

Then we have the unfortunate fact that it’s based on the NIV, a “demonstrably flawed translation” (Tom Wright) that really ought to be consigned to history, not recycled electronically. A longer quote:

JustificationWhen the New International Version was published in 1980 [sic], I was one of those who hailed it with delight. I believed its own claim about itself, that it was determined to translate exactly what was there, and inject no extra paraphrasing or interpretative glosses. […] Disillusion set in over the next two years, as I lectured verse by verse through several of Paul’s letters, not least Galatians and Romans. Again and again, with the Greek text in front of me and the NIV beside it, I discovered that the translators had had another principle, considerably higher than the stated one: to make sure that Paul should say what the broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said. […] if a church only, or mainly, relies on the NIV it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about. […] those blown along by this wind may well come to forget that they are reading a visibly and demonstrably flawed translation…

Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, pp.35-36.

Glo is undoubtedly an excellent resource and I do not doubt the good intentions of those who have invested so much money, time and effort in developing it. But I do think that all of that money, time and effort would have been far better spent in working with an organisation such as Wycliffe, in helping them towards their Vision 2025.

As Coldplay sing so evocatively, we live in a beautiful world: all of us are done forbecause we also live in a profoundly unjust world, and we as the church — including Bible publishers — should surely be working to counter that injustice, not propagate it by widening the rift between the haves and the have-nots. It seems more than a tad ironic that the very Scriptures that frequently cry out so powerfully on behalf of the poor have now become yet another rich person’s plaything; and as for me, stocking and selling it: the word ‘hypocrite’ comes to mind…

15 thoughts on “Glo: Don’t just read the Bible – Experience it! #bibleglo

  1. I watched the demo that my rep Ian showed me and was very impressed. This should be a great product for Nov/Dec. Looking forward to trying it.
    How much of a cut is Andrew Lacey getting!!! (GLO)

  2. Yes, indeed, there have been roars of bitter and aggrieved anger from the GLO Bookshop! My lawyers have already raised a class action against Hodder about breach of our copyright name, misuse of OUR capital letters and having a much prettier logo that we have. And, before all you Bible buffs start on me, please remember that worthy successor to ‘The Message’, the LRV (Lacey Revised Version) happily excludes that pesky verse about one Christian taking another to court. That was handy, wasn’t it?

    Seriously, we have already been in touch with Hodder about doing a bit of cross-marketing, and have no doubt we will be able to gain a bit of mileage with this product. We’ve been quite pleased how our sales of software have improved recently (considering there is so much good quality downloadable software), and see a further opportunity to move sales along. However, I think we are being a bit optimistic if we are to expect any ‘cut’!

    Purely by local coincidence, mail and phone calls for the ‘GLO Tanning Salon’ (yes, it does exist!!) in Motherwell sometimes get mistakenly directed to us at the ‘GLO Bookshop’. So perhaps Hodder should beware, in case they, too, receive last-minute bookings for spray tans, complaints about teenage girls turning orange and NHS warnings about over-exposure to ultra-violet rays!!

  3. Strangely, we have just received our mega-order of ‘glo’ promotional badges- which have a lovely little ® symbol…… serves me right for not copyrighting OUR name first- reminds us a bit of the Biblica saga…

    • I’m sure you could challenge it: prior usage and long established… ’twould be very, very sad if ever it came to that, though.

      Biblica: indeed; and they’ll be receiving royalties on Glo, of course, as the owners of the NIV. It would be interesting to know what those royalties are worth: presumably not enough to rescue STL UK from its current woes?

  4. GLO has arrived. In order to be able to demonstrate this to customers I have got a copy for the shop so I tried loading it on my laptop. This is a new laptop running Vista with loads of disc space and memory. In total it took several hours to load it, especially with all the additional programs that I had to install and then loads of updates to download. It would seem that the shipped programme is already out of date and I wonder why they haven’t used an up to date version?. By the time it finally loaded and was ready to run it was bedtime.
    So this morning I have loaded it on my shop PC (It runs XP with 3GB of memory and a Pentium 4 processor and a fast 8MG broadband connection). Here is the progress. The computer was not doing anything else:
    9.05 Start. Needs .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Update
    9.15 have to restart after this is installed
    9.18 start again. It finds a new version of GLO updater. Do I accept licence
    9.22 System not running the latest Direct X End User Runtime frames. Install
    9.26 SQL Server Compact – Install
    9.27 Finally ready to install . Extracting CAB number 1 to 10
    9.50 Insert Disc 2. Extracting CAB 1 to 11 from Disc 2
    10.31 Insert Disc 3. Extracting CAB number 1 to 9 from Disc 3
    10.54 Downloading updates 1 of 8 and extracting
    11.03 ready to run. Press ok. But it finds an update for NIV(B) Bible Translation
    11.04 Finally ready to open the start screen

    I used it for a few minutes before I clicked something and got a fatal error

    So my experience with loading is that this must take the record for a programme to load. 2 hours!!!

    My problem – I feel I will need to warn customers how long it takes to install.

    Does anyone else have experience with this?

  5. Hi Geoff,

    This is Ken with Immersion Digital, the company who created Glo. I’m really sorry to hear you had a tough time with installation. We’ve had a good rate of installation success, but a handful have had trouble. We want you to have the best experience possible. If you or your customers run into further technical issues, please email and they can quickly (and remotely) help to fix your issues.

  6. Oh dear….. one of my pet hates seems to be raising it’s head…. software that takes a much time & frustration to load… I, too, would be interested to hear of any experiences…

    Out of interest, we thought we would be smart and order direct from Hodder, and GLO would be the first in the UK to have ‘glo’. And, of course, they haven’t arrived (although our mega-order of ‘glo’ badges has- customers are queuing up to buy them at £60 a time….). So, when I got the email from Biblica to say THEY had ‘glo’ in, I thinks “Ah ha! where’s MY stock!! It takes STL that long to process things through the warehouse there must be something wrong!!!” And being a pro-active retail manager, I got on the blower to Hodder Faith Sales to be informed by an answer phone that there was no-one there to take the call due to holidays- and recommending (in case of urgent query) I phone the number which I had just called. Surely this must be Hodders major product launch of the year- if not the decade?!

    Not a very auspicious beginning, Hodder!

    PS what a speed of response from Ken Keim, though….. he must be sitting somewhere in the States frantically googling ‘glo’ to see what people are saying about his software!! Can we have your mobile, please?

    • Our stock – from Hodder – arrived on Monday. Or rather, some of it: I’ve ordered a couple of the 4 packs with fancy counter display + some of the individual units. Glad I ordered both: the individual units arrived, but no sign of the display packs yet.

      Checking just now, both STL and Bookpoint say they have the individual units in stock. Good to see STL have updated the price to £49.99.

      Now waiting for them to bring out a Mac edition, but not holding my breath…

  7. Our apologies – clearly various teething troubles!

    Glo does take a while to load (though it’s much smoother and quicker now than when I was loading it on my laptop a couple of months back) – but it’s so good once you’ve got it loaded that we do think it’s worth it.

    There are a few reasons for the time it currently takes to load up:

    * This is brand new tech which Microsoft hadn’t even finished before Immersion turned up wanting to use it – so some of the updates are Microsoft-driven improvements to the way it all works (it’s pretty amazing for the Christian world to be leading the way with something like this!)
    * There are 3 DVDs with a total of 18GB of data to be loaded up, and since one of the key benefits is that you don’t need to have the disks in to run it, all 18GB needs to get onto your hard disk. (I’m not 100% about my maths but I reckon if it takes an hour and a half to load the DVD parts your DVD drive is running at an average of 10x standard speed)
    * Lastly, Immersion are continually adding and refining the content, and this too takes time to upload – including the British text NIV which they have been racing to get ready in time, since we only had our first meeting with them in the summer.

    (NB. They’re after more British-sourced content too so if you have particular suggestions of what would work well do feed that through.)

    And the counterpacks are coming soon…


    Ian Metcalfe
    Publisher, Bibles and Digital
    Hodder & Stoughton

  8. Just a note to say that Jean from Hodder took the time to phone me today (Saturday) and that was much appreciated. We had only ordered the ‘presenter packs’ and it seems there have been difficulties with the packs- so the single software packs have released to the likes of STL but not the associated cardboard & plastic presenters. So Jean is sensibly going to release the singles to us, and the cardboard & plastic will follow in due course.

    In terms of loading, we shall just have to wait & see- certainly, it seems that our old PC we use for displaying software to customers will probably NOT be suitable. But, then, maybe someone is looking for a Commodore 64 for a museum exhibit….the tape drive still works, if anyone wants to make me an offer?!

    I also stand gently corrected- it seems that the Hodder office was, indeed, short when I phoned on Thursday morning but this was due to holidays and illness, and it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve suffered that problem…..

  9. Pingback: Jean Whitnall leaves Hodder and Tom Wright returns to academia « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  10. I have tried everything trying to log in ,and have even tried to enter the serial number but am unable to open the extra features such as timeline,atlas etc,its just not accepting email or password

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