Baen Free Library
Featuring: Weber's Honorverse
& Hell's Faire
& The Drake Disk
& There Will be Dragons
& This Scepter'd Isle
The RIAA doesn't get it.
The MPAA doesn't get it.
Garth Brooks doesn't get it.
Baen Books does get it.
When I was in high school, and college, money was tight. I shared books and music with friends, and I borrowed tons of both from the school and public libraries. There was only one used book store within the twenty mile radius that I considered easy bicycle distance and the pickings were slim.
Years later I'm out of school, money isn't as tight, and I still love to read and listen to music. When I was living in San Francisco there were two good used book stores and one used music store within walking distance of my apartment in the Haight. Where I was frugal in school, I was positively indulgent in the real world. But, as anyone who has shopped one knows, used music and book stores can't be counted on for finding that recent release, so I bought my fair share of new items as well. I wanted it, I bought it, I didn't think a lot about it.
This is where Baen gets it... Hook people on the stories, the authors, the style, and they will purchase when they are able. They won't think about it, they'll let the impulse take over.
Baen wants you hooked, and they are willing to spend money to do it. They've worked with some of their best authors to publish free CD collections of books in a variety of formats. No proprietary readers, no restrictions on making copies for friends. Just one incredibly reasonable restriction: Copy, but do not sell.
When I received a copy of the Honorverse CD, the first thing I did was put it on my web server so that I could read it from anywhere. Before long, others were reading from my site. I was happy to be spreading the joy. When some of the clever folk out there started hitting the entire site with tools like wget so that they could have local copies, I zipped up the entire CD so they could get it in one file. My site has been mentioned on a Baen discussion board, and in discussion threads on slashdot. So far, the traffic has been light and I can afford to keep the site up for others to enjoy.
A couple of weeks ago, at a Sci-Fi convention called
Necronomicon, I was given There Will be Dragons by a book vendor. This is apparently the fourth free book collection that Baen has released on CD. As a result of the added content, I have decided to rework the layout of the site to accommodate the addition of current and future releases.
This site is free, and will remain on-line for as long as I am able to afford the bandwidth. I can easily support the bandwidth of a large number of casual readers, but I have had to remove the zip archives of the CDs. They are just too big to allow people to pull down on a regular basis. (The first one was 181 Megs, and the new one is 517 Megs. Zipped!) If you have the space/bandwidth and want to host your own copy of the Baen CDs, I will happily provide you with the zip files and add you to the mirror list. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (remove the six sixes!)
Update [12/06/2003] - As a side effect of being /.'d I now have Hell's
Copies of Baen CD collections hosted on Ghostwheel:
The Drake Disk (Baen 3)
There Will be Dragons
This Scepter'd Isle
Wind Rider's Oath **NEW**