As someone deeply interested in the philosophy of Ayn Rand and its various implications upon my life, it drives me silly just how difficult it is to get a hold of the various lectures by Ayn Rand and Rand scholars in a format that I want and at a price that I can afford. It seems that the only option these days is to spend a fortune (for me at least) to go to the Ayn Rand Institutes' yearly conference, or pay nearly as much for the audio tape (and by audio tape, I mean actual cassettes or CDs. Heh—remember those?).
And even when the Institute outright gives away access to speech or lecture (like it does here), I can't download it to my Ipod and listen to it when I walk the dogs or mow the yard. I have listen to it while anchored in front of my computer like a big fat dummy.
Now don't get me wrong. I honor the Institute for the excellent and valuable work it does advancing Objectivism (especially for making these lectures available in the first place), but come on--we live in the Internet age. If I can buy a book by an Objectivist thinker in the $10 to $40 dollar range, how can it profit anyone to charge hundreds of dollars for an audio lecture that same book is based upon? And whatever the price it decides to charge, why can't the Institute put the audio up on iTunes?
I for one would like to see the Institute revisit and rethink its bookstore strategy, and come up with a plan that makes it easier for an even larger audience to get access to Objectivist ideas.