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Old 12-11-2019, 03:23 AM
Little Nemo is offline
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What happened to Great Courses?


I got a catalog from them and I was thinking I hadn't bought anything from them in a while so I looked through it. And I was surprised to find that they're now only selling their products on video. You have to choose between either buying a DVD or downloading a video.

I checked their website and found it's not only the newer stuff. Even their older products, which were available as CD's or MP3 files in the past, are now only sold in video versions. The only sound option being offered is rental of the older audio versions via Audible.

I listen to these courses while I'm driving. Which means I have no use for video versions. Surely I'm not the only person who buys audio course for the car. Why would the company abandon such a large market?

I guess I won't be buying anything from them in the future.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:52 AM
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I got a catalog of there's recently and they had plenty of audio options, however I can see them transitioning into video for class room/educational use since that seems a far more lucrative field than audio-books. Also they sell the video versions for a lot more so I imagine if they're recording the audio anyway they might as well add some post-production and add a visual element.
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Old 12-11-2019, 06:08 AM
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How do you know that it’s “such a large market”? It’s probably not profitable or profitable enough for them.
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Old 12-11-2019, 06:34 AM
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That's not what I see on their website.

If you go here they have what they call "Instant Audio." That is not just Audible. They make the audio courses available through four streaming services. You can also download for offline use when you can't stream.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Even their older products, which were available as CD's or MP3 files in the past, are now only sold in video versions. The only sound option being offered is rental of the older audio versions via Audible.
Audible doesn't do rentals. Anything you get from Audible is yours to keep.

One issue is that some of The Great Courses are so visual-dependent that they're only offered in video format. This has always been the case.

The courses that are available in audio format have been available to purchase through Audible.com for a number of years now. They're cheaper that way if you're an Audible member, since 1 Audible credit costs less than what The Great Courses has almost always charged to buy directly from them (and sometimes Audible has had special deals or sales where they've offered some titles even cheaper).

Not too long ago, The Great Courses apparently decided that (1) there wasn't enough demand for CDs for them to keep selling courses in that format (and they'd long since discontinued audio and video tapes), and (2) it was apparently easier just to let Audible.com handle sales of their audio content.

Audible has also recently started selling the audio from some of their previously video-only courses. According to some reviews I've seen, you sometimes miss a lot this way, so buyer beware.

Quote:
I listen to these courses while I'm driving. Which means I have no use for video versions. Surely I'm not the only person who buys audio course for the car. Why would the company abandon such a large market?

I guess I won't be buying anything from them in the future.
The only market they've abandoned is customers who want physical audio media (like tapes or CDs), and those who want downloadable audio but don't want to go through Audible.com.

Your options include buying used CDs from other sources (e.g. Amazon), buying video and just listening to the audio portion of the video while you drive, or going through Audible.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:08 AM
Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DinoR View Post
That's not what I see on their website.

If you go here they have what they call "Instant Audio." That is not just Audible. They make the audio courses available through four streaming services. You can also download for offline use when you can't stream.
My mistake. You are correct.

As I said, I looked through the catalog and saw that none of their new products was being offered in an audio only format. This made me curious to see if they were still offering it in their older products. I went to the website and checked a few courses which I knew had been available in an audio format because I own them. And none of the ones I checked was still available in audio. But apparently I didn't do enough sampling; the ones I looked at must coincidentally all have switched over but after reading your post I went back and looked further and found several that are still available as audio files.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Your options include buying used CDs from other sources (e.g. Amazon), buying video and just listening to the audio portion of the video while you drive, or going through Audible.
Keeping an eye out for used courses is what I have been doing (which is why I missed the switch over until now). I can still do that but I'm now facing a potential wall; there's going to be a point where I've bought all of the old courses I'm interested in and won't be able to listen to any of the new courses because they won't have ever been released in a audio format.

I have no interest in subscribing to Audible. Maybe it's just a sign that I'm old-fashioned but I feel I should just be able to buy a product that I want - be it a book or a tape or a disc - and shouldn't have to pay some "content provider" service like Audible or Netflix or Hulu.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 12-12-2019 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I have no interest in subscribing to Audible. Maybe it's just a sign that I'm old-fashioned but I feel I should just be able to buy a product that I want - be it a book or a tape or a disc - and shouldn't have to pay some "content provider" service like Audible or Netflix or Hulu.
I'm old-fashioned enough myself to understand and sympathize with this attitude, even if I don't 100% share it. But it sounds like you may be conflating two or three different things:

1. You want physical media (a book or a tape or a disc) instead of something strictly electronic that you just download?
2. You want to buy and own individual items rather than pay a monthly fee to have temporary access to a library of titles?
3. You don't want to have to join or subscribe to anything in order to have access to what you want to read/watch/listen to?

If it's #1 that's your main concern, you may be out of luck: the wave of the future seems to be that fewer and fewer things are released on physical media, and some formats (e.g. audio and video cassettes) are pretty much obsolete by now. One downside to this is that there is no "used" market for purely digital media; but one upside is that you can often get really good deals on digital content, because there's essentially no marginal manufacturing or distribution cost.

If it's #2, your concern is misplaced in the case of Audible. It's not a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu (or The Great Courses' own "Great Courses Plus"). Anything you buy from Audible is yours "forever" (but the files you get are formatted and DRM'ed so you have to use Audible's app to listen to them).

If it's #3: it is possible to buy things from Audible without joining/subscribing/being a member, but it's usually significantly more expensive that way.
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