Your Obedient Serpent (athelind) wrote,
Your Obedient Serpent

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The Baen of Electronic Publishing

For years now, Baen Books has been thumbing its collective nose at the bulk of the eBook industry (and the protectionist schemes of the entertainment industry in general) by offering the Baen Free Library, a collection of science fiction novels both new and old, offered freely, in a variety of formats.

Despite the conventional "wisdom" that every freely-swapped file is food stolen from the mouths of the children of industry middlemen writers, musicians, and artists, Baen has found that listing a book in the Free Library actually increases its sales, and generally increases thesales of the author's back-list, as well.

Eric Flint discusses this at length on the site, both on the home page and in his irregular "Prime Palaver" columns.

Recently, though, Baen has raised the stakes.

Yesterday, quelonzia and I were wandering through Borders, and found a hardback copy of There Will Be Dragons, by John Ringo. The book itself seemed intriguing enough, but not so intriguing that we wouldn't normally wait for paperback. However, after reading the back cover blurb, we decided we simply had to buy the hardcover:


Inside you will find a CD ROM that contains over 40 full-length novels, with no encryptions or other schemes to make you feel dumb and incompetent. You can just click on a title and read it or print it out. It gets worse: there are also pictures, short stories, a wargame, and other tasty items. But be very wary. The publisher did not provide this out of the goodness of his heart, if he even has a heart. He figures you will start reading many of the genuinely first-rate novels provided herein, and discover that you really don't want to continue reading on a computer screen. So what will you do? There are several million words here, so it is pretty likely that you will stop reading, and since the accompanying artwork is very memorable andcan be found on the cover of the associated novel, he thiks it is liktely that you will notice it the next time you see it in a bookstore--and that you will Buy the book! Could there be a more dastardly and nefarious scheme for increasing profits? Just remember: You have been warned.

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