Yeah, yeah, Baen, its publisher and a fair number of its stable of authors have been “in the news” of late concerning everything from award politics to ummm, politics.
But that should not distract us from the fact that what we all really come here for is the fiction.
And on that note, Baen has been a leader in the field for quite some time.
One of the places that they’ve led has been providing online forums for the direct interaction between readers and authors (Baen Bar) – one of the first such social engagements in the SF field online; an early adopter of ebooks, Baen championed the idea of selling and distributing electronic books free from digital rights management restrictions.
They also fully embraced the concept of using excerpts, free books and various other product – related “loss leaders” combined with the reach of the internet to promote and distribute their works.
Which of course reaches its full expression through the Baen Free Library offering we’re profiling here.
You can get FREE STUFF there every day of the week! AND I hasten to add, there is no need to register or give up personal data in order to avail yourself of these freebies. It’s as simple as walking into the library and pulling a book from the shelf.
They’ve got everything dialed in; Heck, you don’t even have to download a selection to read it, you can just select the read online option. But if you do want to actually possess and own a copy (as opposed to <em>renting</em> one), the Baen Free Library supports just about every format and reader I can think of.
I admit I may be a bit biased. After all, Baen has championed the return and support of one of my favorite authors of all time – A. Bertram Chandler and his seminal <em>Horatio Hornblower of Space</em> character, John Grimes (yes, I know they use that tagline for a different author these days, but for me it will forever be wedded to John Grimes and his adventures on the Rim worlds). (Though, at the risk of injecting myself too deeply into this promo, I wish someone over there would get back to me about using the Chandler Concordance materials I’ve offered them to enhance their AB Chandler offerings.)
You’ll find sample works from their headliners, authors like Drake, Flint, Hoyt, Ringo, Weber and more. Even some surprises, like Andre Norton, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller and
a whole slew of non-fiction offerings that cover everything from writing advice to (yes, not kidding) classroom reading guides for Heinlein juvenovels.
I think it important to note that in these troubled times of fannish political discord, perhaps one of the best things the Baen Free Library offers is an opportunity for curious readers to check out their works without offending political sensibilities. Reading some of these stories is <em>sampling</em>, not endorsing.
Who knows? You may find a novel or author that you really like. Expanding the range of your science fiction repertoire is ALWAYS a good thing.
And if you don’t, you don’t. But with the Baen Free Library offerings, there’s absolutely no reason not to try!