70 Comments

  1. If you buy a course from Great Courses, you get a CD or DVD and you *own* it. Are audio books via Audible DRMed?

  2. When you buy something from Audible, you own it forever. Even if you quit, even if you delete the app. Five years from now, you can re-download the app and log in with your previous user name, and the book will be there for you.

  3. B.A., If you buy something on CD, you’re not dependent on the company you bought from staying in business. If I understand you right, if Audible goes out of business, you’ve lost everything you “owned”. This has happened with books and whatever from other companies. A quick search strongly suggests that everything from Audible is indeed DRMed.

  4. Okay, so far, this is what I have discerned (for reference, I am located in Canada and have an Amazon Prime subscription):

    – I can buy the download of the audiobook of A New History of the American South from amazon.ca for $38.33 (all prices in Canada money). I can download and listen repeatedly. I do not know what DRM there is on the files, but I’ll bet there is some. I may be restricted in how I listen or on what devices.

    – I can get a free trial to Audible for 30 days of service and A New History of the American South for free as one of the two selections I am allowed for free. I can download and listen repeatedly. I do not know what DRM there is on the files, but I’ll bet there is some. I may be restricted in how I listen or on what devices. If I continue subscription, I will be charged $14.95 per month.

    Added bonus for existing Prime subscriber is that I will receive $10 credit at Amazon if I become a paying Audible subscriber (I continue past the 30 days and get billed). That means I could let them bill me for that month at $14.95 and download another audio selection of my choice to keep and then cancel, so I’d get three audiobooks for $4.95.

    – At The Great Courses I have multiple choices:

    INSTANT VIDEO ($49.95) INCLUDES:
    Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
    Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
    FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
    I would have the digital files I purchased available from TGC’s site and could be saved on a drive. I may or may not be able to burn them to CDs or DVDs to archive, depending on if they have DRM (I bet they do).

    INSTANT AUDIO ($29.95) INCLUDES:
    Download 24 audio lectures to your computer or mobile app
    Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
    FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
    I would have the digital files I purchased available from TGC’s site and could be saved on a drive. I may or may not be able to burn them to CDs or DVDs to archive, depending on if they have DRM (I bet they do).

    DVD ($69.95) INCLUDES:
    24 lectures on 4 DVDs
    155-page printed course guidebook
    Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
    FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
    Closed captioning available
    I’d have these in my possession, always available.

    – Over at The Great Courses Plus, it is a subscription service. I can get a two-week free trial, so I could listen at no cost but I would lose access after the trial, unless I started paying. TGCP currently offers me two subscription options: $19.95/month for a monthly subscription; $10/month for a quarterly subscription billed quarterly i.e. $30 on day 15, when I become a paying subscriber and $30 every three months thereafter. If I stop subscribing, I have access until the end of the period I’ve paid for, then no access at all.

    I’ve worked at home for two years now, so I no longer have the lengthy commutes that audiobooks are useful for. I have also found that I can’t listen to stuff that is really difficult or that I can about because I get distracted by whatever I’m doing in the real world and have to rewind. However, I have found myself listening lots of podcasts and such whild working. It’s hard to find ones that have just the right mix of what I want. Audio courses might be good.

    P.S. If you’re thinking that that ^^^ must have taken a long time to do, yeah…

  5. Arthur, the book is saved in your Audible app. So unless you delete it intending to re-download it later, you don’t have to worry.

    And as far as Audible going out of business, they’re part of a little company some guy named Bezos owns.

  6. Oh, there is another option which violates civil law and, in some places, criminal law as well. Selection is likely to be hit and miss, as is quality, and their is a chance the files will contain malicious code (but probably not).

    As an added bonus, since I’m posting again, here’s the penultimate para with typos corrected:

    I’ve worked at home for two years now, so I no longer have the lengthy commutes that audiobooks are useful for. I have also found that I can’t listen to stuff that is really difficult or that I care about because I get distracted by whatever I’m doing in the real world and have to rewind. However, I have found myself listening lots of podcasts and such while working. It’s hard to find ones that have just the right mix of what I want. Audio courses might be good.

  7. B.A., do you mean the same company that deleted the book 1984 from the devices of people who thought they bought it? Along with all of the notes many people had made for schoolwork?

  8. I’ve listened to some books on multiple devices. In fact, a few years ago, I had a series of problems with my phone which resulted in me going through six devices in two months. My account and my books followed me from phone to phone, and didn’t even complain.

    The DRM keeps me from listening on anything other than an Audible app, but other than that all’s good.

  9. B.A., people who bought books from a little company run by a guy called Gates lost them because the company decided to quit that business. At least they refunded them.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47810367

    Other sites selling e-books have closed, though usually allowing people to download their stuff to read offline (some with DRM, like AdobeDRM, that was still working), others DRM free.

  10. Well, if people got refunds, they didn’t lose anything, so all’s good.

    If you’re questioning whether Audible works offline, it absolutely does: It’s great for long plane flights.

  11. B.A. I’m not the one so worried about it. It seems Arthur is the person who is really concerned about owning physical objects. I understand the trade-off between convenience and ownership. I love books, I also have at least 2000 too many in my home. So being able to read the contents without having to bring a physical object into my home is a great idea. For special things (art books, special editions), well, I would buy that. I love music but haven’t bought a CD in ages (except a few from small indie artists when I went to their shows). I subscribe to Google Play Music streaming service and I find that the convenience of it is worth the modest fee and not adding to the 500+ CDs already in the house is great (and it will work offline, as long as remember to download the album or songs before I go into the subway). As for video, I’m quite a cinephile, but the streaming services offer a service that is quite good and convenient. For stuff I really care about, I’ve purchased discs (4K remasters of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner) and they’re mind blowing. I also purchased a complete Columbo set of DVDs because I couldn’t find such a selection streaming. So I have 101 hours of Columbo I have to get started on at some point.

  12. Too hard to keep track of who’s worried about what!

    All I know is, as evil as Jeff Bezos is, when I had to escape from New York last week (think Kurt Russell, except in a Toyota), I was thankful to have months worth of books and audio books already “packed” in my phone’s Kindle and Audible apps.

  13. Re: “a moral element to enslaving human beings (and their progeny in perpetuity).” — I think that should read “an amoral element“, but I also wanted to mention an article about “The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson” that recently reappeared in the Smithsonian’s RSS feed. Basically, Jefferson sacrificed his moral objections to slavery after he discovered “that he was making a 4% profit every year on the birth of black children“, and later advanced “the notion that slavery presented an investment strategy for the future“. The article is a fascinating study, but contains a number of nasty details.

  14. Kilby. what I wrote is correct (had to check myself because I’m not good at editing my posts here). Look at it in context:

    “All that said, there is certainly a moral element to enslaving human beings (and their progeny in perpetuity). To believe something is wrong in principle and still benefit from that thing is not principled.”

    Prior to that paragraph I’d been discussing the economic reasoning behind slavery and acknowledging that Lincoln’s circumstances meant slaves would not have been economically beneficial to him. Then I went on to saying that one could not discuss slavery without discussing the morality of it. It can’t be purely a discussion of economics. And I’d call the practice of slavery immoral, not amoral. I know that is an edgy and controversial stand, but that’s me. 🙂

    Thank you for the link I’m looking forward to reading that.

  15. Okay, in the end I got the Amazon Prime-linked Audible trial offer (30-days free trial, 2 free audiobooks and a $10 Amazon credit if I become a paying customer). And with all this talk about it, the first audiobook I took was A New History of the American South. B.A., I’ll let you know if I like it in 10 hours and 45 minutes. 🙂

  16. Coincidentally, today for the first time (or maybe I just didn’t notice before) I received an emailed ad from Audible mentioning Great Courses.

  17. The only Kindle books I have gotten from Amazon so far have been free ones. An easy way to find those is to do your normal search and arrange from lowest cost.

    Most of the e-books I get are from the public library’s Overdrive system. That’s extra handy now that they physical library is closed. That must be hard on people who relied on it for computer and wifi access.

  18. I use an ePub reader because public library here doesn’t do Kindle format. Borrowing books online from the library is cool, yes, but don’t forget the magic of Project Gutenberg. It has freely downloadable, no-DRM versions of books that have passed into public domain. Volunteers clean them up to take care of some of the worst formatting errors caused by the scanning. It’s a great way to catch up on all those books you “should” have read. There are Project Gutenberg sites for many countries and in many languages. I go to the Canadian one because I am in Canada. If you are a USer or EUer, please don’t go to it, because copyright protection in Canada is shorter (life of the creator + 50 years) than in USA and EU (life + 70 years). If you visited the site that me and my fellow Canadians use, you might accidentally download something that is still in copyright in your location, such as James Bond books, or Hemingway novels. So, only visit this link if you are in Canada or another life + 50 jurisdiction. Otherwise, find your country’s link.

    http://gutenberg.ca/index.html

    Also, don’t forget many libraries offer video streaming services, music streaming, and online magazines to members.

  19. As I understand it – from reading articles about it – with a DVD (CD, Beta tape,VHS tape, vinyl record) and your family can use the material also or they can be lent or given to someone – even after you shuffle off this mortal coil. However, online accounts are yours and yours alone – and cannot be used by family members or anyone else as it is only for your use.

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.