Baen Free Library

I couldn’t wait to get started on my website, so this is getting posted a bit prematurely, but I had a few things that I absolutely had to put up and explain.

If you hadn’t gathered already, I’m a huge fan of Sci-Fi. One place I regularly get my fix is from Baen books.

Why?

Well, I like their stuff. My reading covers a broad range and their stuff often satisfies my cravings for adventure, military action, pulp, etc. when I’m not looking for something more overtly ‘thoughtful’ like Neal Stephenson’s (Snow Crash, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon) or Dan Simmons (Hyperion).

My favorites? Overall, John Ringo, whom I’ve met, and even provided an illustration in one of his books (Hells Faire). Also included are John Dalmas, Dave Weber (known for the “Honor Harrington” books), David Drake (Hammers Slammers), and others. Though heavily ‘conservative’ and libertarian, it’s not exclusive and there is an interesting mix of political viewpoints in the mix along with a vast backcatalog that has accumulated over the years.

So why do I know so much of their stuff is stuff I like, and if I’ll likely enjoy the book or not before plunking down cold hard cash?

Simple.

The publisher has a dirty little secret.

Wait for it…

They give books away.

That’s right.

Go online here and you will see their “Free Library,” with many many books from their authors available for free download, to put on your Palm-pilot, your computer, a CD-ROM, print out, whatever.

Interestingly, not only do they not make it difficult to make backup copies for yourself, or for your friends, they encourage you to do so. Check out the notes on the back of There Will Be Dragons or several other recent Baen hardcover releases which include a CD full of free, unprotected material that they beg you to hand off to your friends.

Their “webscription” e-books are also similarly unprotected, and almost any title has a significant chunk of the book online even if it isn’t in the free library in its entirety.

They do this, interestingly enough, because it makes them money.

I enjoy it because it gives me the chance to check out new authors and freely carry along electronic copies of books I’ve already bought from the convenience of my laptop, my palm pilot, or anywhere I can get on the internet. They treat me like an honest, valuable customer who will pay them a reasonable cost when I can, are willing to cultivate my business when I can’t, no strings attached, and open my eyes to new things at their expense.

And that is why I spend my cash on them, and how they make money.

Check it out at http://www.baen.com.

UPDATE: Due to their deal to get books published via Kindle, most of the library has been taken down, and is slowly being rebuilt out of new editions specifically for the library, so as to not conflict with Amazon pricing requirements.

It is still a great resource, and you can find a lot of the older free library stuff as well as images of the CD’s included for free distribution in many of the Baen hardcovers at the Fifth Imperium.