Should We Be Psyched About "The Great Courses" on Audible?

Thinking about price and value.

July 8, 2013

Audible (owned by Amazon) announced today the availability of The Great Courses for download (audio only).

My first "course" is going to be The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World.   

On The Teaching Company website this title lists for $439.95 for the digital video version, $249.95 for digital audio, $519.95 for the DVD, and $359.95 for the CD. On Audible the cost is $37.06 (if you pay cash) or 1 credit.  As an Audible platinum subscriber I get 24 credits for $229.50, which works out to about to $9.50 a book.   

Perhaps the "list prices" are why I'm so excited about The Great Courses on Audible. I've anchored on the $359.95 price (CD), so $9.50 seems like an amazing bargain. We judge value by relative and not absolute measures.

At this point you are probably thinking - hello!  

Have you heard about a little thing called MOOCs? A small movement called the open education movement?

Can't you get your fill on online courses from iTunesU? Audio from Yale Open Courses? More class content than one could possible consume in a lifetime from YouTube/edu?

Well ... I'm not so sure.  For years I've seen the ads for The Great Courses, and I've always wanted to check one out.   

The biggest investment in The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World will not be the $9.50, but the 24 hours and 28 minutes that it will take to listen.  In that time I could listen to 3 books, so the opportunity cost for The Great Courses is high indeed.

Have any of you purchased one of The Great Courses?  Any recommendations?  Audible has hundreds to choose from.

What do you see as the long-term business prospects for the publisher of The Great Courses?  What does your answer to this question say about our long-term economic prospects in academe?


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