Last week, Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books announced that she’d inked a deal to bring Baen e-books to Amazon. This has been a deal long in the works and one that will broaden Baen’s digital exposure. In my opinion, this is a necessary move for Baen, the pioneer in e-books, if it wants to continue leading the digital revolution. Most of all, I applaud Toni for not only inking this deal but for increasing author royalties for e-book sales, something she couldn’t have done had she kept their digital sales limited to just the Baen e-books site.
As a bit of background, Jim Baen, founder of Baen Books, began selling e-books more than a decade ago. When he did, there was no Kindle or Nook or iPad. E-books were in their infancy and most everyone in the publishing industry not only thought Jim was more than a bit crazy to be embracing the technology so early on but condemned him for doing so at low cost per title and for refusing to infuse the books with DRM. After Jim’s death, Toni continued expanding Baen’s digital library. Not only are new titles being offered each month but so are backlist titles, including books by such “masters” of science fiction as Heinlein.
Fast forward to the age of the Kindle, Nook and tablets. Amazon opened the Kindle store and others followed suit. Most publishers, as they began realizing e-books were selling and were not going to disappear in a sudden flash, signed deals with Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and later Apple) to sell their e-books. Without going through the entire agency pricing ongoing debate and debacle, these e-books were initially offered at prices that rarely exceeded $9.99. That price was for the so-called “best sellers” and new releases. As a book went from hard cover to soft cover, the prices dropped and all were basically happy. $9.99 became the price point most e-book purchases were willing to pay for new releases, especially of their favorite authors.
Add to that the ease and convenience of simply turning on your e-reading device or smart phone with its app, going to the Kindle store (or Nook, etc) and finding a book, buying it and having it delivered almost instantaneously to your device and you had some very happy readers. Then the ability to preview a book was added so you could download a sample before having to commit any funds to buying a book. It was just about perfect.
For various reasons, and I am not privy to them, Baen Books was not able to get into the Kindle Store until now. That meant it was missing out on a resource that cut deeply into potential sales. People would go to Amazon or BN and look up their favorite Baen author and find physical copies of the books available but no e-books. Nothing on the product page pointed them to the Baen e-book store. Threads would occasionally pop up asking why Baen wasn’t selling digital copies of their books and, occasionally, someone would point the person asking the question to the Baen site where e-books could be bought.
Folks started asking Toni on Baen’s Bar when Baen would start selling e-books through other sites. For more than a year she’s been telling folks to be patient. She was working on it.
Then, several weeks ago, she warned everyone to download and back up anything they might want that was currently offered through Baen’s Free Library. Speculation started flying then about what might be about to happen. More warnings were issued, including cryptic ones alluding to a big announcement about to come. Even with all this, there were cries of “foul” when the Free Library was gutted and most of the books disappeared.
Those cries turned into roars when Toni made the announcement last week that Baen had entered into an agreement to start selling its e-books through the Kindle store. I’ll be the first to admit that the initial announcement wasn’t worded as well as it could have been. There were some points of confusion, especially about the monthly bundles. But Toni responded quickly, doing her best to answer the questions. And still the uproar continues. Why? Because Baen is dealing with “the Evil Amazon” and because prices are going up.
I thought long and hard about whether to address what folks have been saying about this latest development. After all, as I said earlier, I haven’t been privy to the negotiations. Nor do I particularly want to pick a fight with fellow barflies. However, some of the attacks on this move have been so asinine that I decided something had to be said. So, let’s start with the “sin” of working with Amazon.
Toni has an obligation to the people with a financial stake in Baen to make the most money possible for the company. That means making sure Baen books are available in as many outlets as possible. No one argues with the fact that Baen’s hard copy books are in the Amazon store. In fact, if you log onto Baen’s Bar and read through the various threads, you’ll see that some of those complaining about selling e-books through Amazon are more than happy to buy the hard copy versions of the books there because they can buy them at lower than cover cost. But Amazon is evil.
The truth of the matter is, Baen needs to be in the Kindle store — just as it needs to be in the Nook store and iTunes, etc — to expand its digital footprint. Most potential customers looking for a book in one of these venues will simply look for another book and not leave the app they are using to go to the Baen e-bookstore. It’s foolish in this day and age not to have your e-books available in the same outlets where your hard copy books are being sold.
Oh, and before anyone starts screaming about DRM, there will be no DRM attached to e-books sold through Amazon. So there is no change there.
Folks are upset because this means there will be an increase in the cost of Baen e-books. Okay, I’d like to see the e-books stay at the same price, but the fact remains there hasn’t been a jump in cost in something like 10 years. It’s past time for Baen to increase the price of their e-books. The argument that the new price of $9.99 is the same, or less, than would be paid for a paperback doesn’t fly. For one thing, that $9.99 price is for new releases — exactly what the pricing used to be on Amazon before agency pricing. Toni has also assured the ‘flies that the pricing will decrease as mmpb versions of books are released. So, if you don’t want to pay that much for your e-book, don’t. Wait six months and pay the lower price. No one is saying you have to pay that price. It is up to you if you want to buy a single title when it first comes out.
Then there’s the upset about what this does to the monthly bundles. Because of the rule Amazon — and every other major e-book outlet — has about not selling e-books at a lower price elsewhere, the monthly bundles are having to evolve. Basically what is happening is you can still buy the bundles for the very good price of $18. However, those bundles disappear around the 15th of the month before the e-books become available for sale on Amazon or elsewhere (I may be slightly off on when they disappear, but this is my understanding). The impact of this is that you can no longer go back and buy a bundle for a previous month nor can you wait for the entire e-book to be available before buying the bundle.
Oh the cries of “foul” this has caused.
Look, folks, get a grip. Toni and the rest of the folks at Baen have to worry about how to expand their sales. Publishing is in a time of transition. Every publisher is fighting to find more customers. No longer is it enough to simply work to keep the customers you have. This move to Amazon, while it does mean a modest increase in prices — especially if you wait for the initial price to go down — is well worth it if it means Baen not only continues to thrive in the future but can continue to bring us quality science fiction and fantasy titles.
I guess what really got to me in the various threads attacking this move was the accusation that Toni had basically betrayed everything Jim stood for. Here is where I call bullshit. What is she doing? Expanding Baen’s digital presence. Insuring her authors have a wider platform to sell their books — which means more money for them and for Baen.
Look, you don’t want to pay $9.99 for a single title? Then find the bundle that new title will be offered in and buy it. For $18 you will get that book and at least one other new title as well as at least three reprints. That’s a pretty damned good deal in my opinion.
Before someone starts saying that I’ve changed my stance on e-book pricing, I haven’t. $9.99 has always been the price point I’ve been willing to pay for new release books by certain authors. It’s when an e-book is more than that where I have problems.
And don’t give me the “it doesn’t cost as much to make an e-book” argument. And, yes, that has been tossed out there in response to the announcement as well. No, it doesn’t. But I trust Toni to have gotten the best deal possible for Baen, for her authors and for her readers. No one likes a price increase. However, if this is what it took to get into Amazon, to increase Baen’s e-book presence and make it easier for more readers to find them, I can live with it.
As for the Baen Free Library, that’s been explained as well. Since most of the titles in the free library will be made available for sale through Amazon, they could no longer be offered for free through the Baen site. The solution is a good one: new editions of these books will be put together, something that will make them different from the “for sale” editions. Once these editions are available, they will be uploaded to the Free Library site and made available. It will take some time but, let’s face it, there was nothing mandating Baen offer these titles for free in the first place. It was a good marketing tool for them and Jim — as well as Toni — knew it. So chill and read what you already have on your reader or computer and relax. The free library will be back.
For those of you upset because the Baen CDs “disappeared”, chill out. They aren’t gone. At least not yet. You can still find the iso versions of them through Joe Buckley’s site. The only real difference I’ve seen there is that you can’t browse the books individually nor can you read them online. You can still see what each CD includes and you can download an iso or zip file. So they aren’t gone. At least not yet.
I guess what has really bothered me about all the uproar is the sense of entitlement I’ve seen in so many of the comments. There have been the Amazon haters who have said they will not be buying anything else from Baen because of the new agreement. Others who are upset at the increase on price for new releases so they won’t be buying as many, or any, more e-books. There was even one who said this price increase would lead to more piracy of Baen e-books.
Look, no one is saying you have to buy from Amazon. The Baen e-bookstore isn’t going away. That’s still where I’ll be buying my Baen e-books. You don’t like the increased prices, then wait for the prices to come down. But get the hell off your high horse and give the new agreement a chance.
Most of all, remember that this change helps the authors we have all come to love, including our own Sarah and Dave. By getting Baen e-books into the Kindle store, the potential audience is increased not slightly but greatly. So are their potential royalties.
No one likes change and I’ve never seen anyone who likes price increases. But costs do increase. Prices do raise. At least with these you know they will come down and you can plan accordingly. Sure, it would have been nice if there had been more notice so we could have grabbed past monthly bundles before they became unavailable. Yeah, there should have been a way for PT to have sent out notice to all prior e-book purchasers of the upcoming change and there could have been a warning put up on the Baen site. But, for whatever reason, this wasn’t done. It still shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for those of us who buy Baen e-books.
So, for everyone slinging condemnations at Toni and Baen, get over yourselves. This is something that needed to be done. If it means not putting off buying a bundle, then mark your calendars so you don’t forget. Don’t want to pay $9.99, wait for the price to come down. It will. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to pay a bit more if it means the authors I enjoy have the chance of selling more books because more books means that author has a better chance of getting another contract with Baen.
Amanda, I’m not surprised in some ways that the Bar seems to be going nuts by what you’ve discussed here. (It’s been months since I’ve been able to access the Bar for whatever reason, and I’ve grown tired of trying to fight whatever technological issue it is, so that’s the best I can say as I haven’t any direct observation here — though I emphatically trust your observational skills, in case that wasn’t obvious.) People dislike change. And paying $6 for an e-book was definitely a bargain.
My problem isn’t that I don’t want to support Baen’s authors. My problem is that the economy is truly awful where I live. So for me, a $6 e-book was barely within price range. A $10 e-book ($9.99 by any other name) is not. I’d rather save up the additional $5 or $6 and get the hard-copy book in that case, and if people were making that argument I could at least follow it.
I have bought one or maybe two e-books in the past year so it’s obvious Baen hasn’t been making any significant money from my business. And I suppose review copies can still be requested as a professional courtesy, too, as most of the books I read I review over at Shiny Book Review (as you know). So I probably will still get access, one way or another, or I’ll just have to save up for the hard copy or wait for sales (down the line, there will be sales on some things as there already are for hardcover books, no doubt).
At any rate, people dislike change. They also will hit out at someone — in this case, Toni Weisskopf — if they feel the change is great enough that it will inconvenience them. The nature of the business world does not apply to most people; they feel personally betrayed because Baen’s always been different, and as you said, a pioneer — and they’d rather stay in that rosy-hued universe because it’s easier, or maybe they’re just frustrated because they could buy a $6 e-book but really can’t afford a $4 price-jump for each e-book (even though the bundles are still a good deal and that’s another way out of the mess, as you said before).
In a sense, Ms. Weisskopf has done them a favor for the last several years as the price has been quite low for an e-book. Everything else went up; Baen’s e-books didn’t really go up much, if at all. So some long-term ‘Flies started to believe that the price point would always stay exactly where it was, and maybe it got tied up in their minds to some sort of homage to Jim Baen for all I know, too. (This is merely one of those SWAG things, so please feel free to disregard if it goes too far afield.)
As for the people going after Ms. Weisskopf or saying stupid things about how she’s supposedly betrayed Jim Baen’s memory — well, when, pray tell, did Jim Baen become anything less than a levelheaded businessman? I mean, he was a very good editor and publisher and had a good career and left behind a good business, and many people remember him with fondness.
But he wasn’t a saint.
And he assuredly didn’t want his beloved company to be put at a competitive disadvantage, either.
I’m sure Ms. Weisskopf made the right business decision. And down the line, some of the pricing issues will shake out.
As for the uproar, let’s hope some of that calms down as people remember that Baen Books, for all its authors and fan-friendliness, is still a business. And must be run as a business.
If Ms. Weisskopf did not run it as a business, *that* is when Jim Baen, I feel, would be most likely to get upset if he were somehow still alive but not in charge anymore of Baen Books.
Barb, I get the not being able to afford the $9.99 price point. That’s why I like the fact that Toni has said prices will drop when the mmpb comes out. If I remember correctly, that price point will be $6.99. That is doable, especially if I plan for it. Also, the $9.99 price makes the $18 bundles such a great buy, especially if you don’t have several of the other books offered in the bundle.
My big problem with the “discussion” is that there has been no discussion. There’s been a lot of name-calling and foot-stomping, usually by those who either hate Amazon or read the first paragraph of the announcement and jumped to conclusions.
Like it or not, this was a move that had to be made. As with any change, there is bad that goes with the good. At least the bad is outweighed by the good, at least in my opinion. It just means I have to be more on top of what comes out when and I have to budget a bit better.
I agree, Amanda, and I’m sorry that people are just jumping to conclusions or getting upset. Sometimes I wonder if people are upset about other things and that’s transferring to whatever their pet peeve of the week is — but even if that’s the case, knowing it won’t help right now.
Anyway, I think the business decision was the right one to make. And I hope some of the furor will settle down, soon.
Barb…it could be. I know my tolerance for dealing with other peoples stupidity…is nil…where I used to have at least some.
Completely understandable, Sean. And I sympathize.
I can only speak from my own perspective. I think I’ve bought one or two books from the Baen store. It was just too much hassle. I’m a programmer, I can go through the steps, but it was just too much bother. I wanted to read, not do tech support. I had to really want that book to go through the effort.
Meanwhile, on kindle, I buy them faster than I can read them — even after telling myself I’m buying too many books. Click! There’s another one. Click! Another. Click! Click! Click! There are basically no barriers between my impulse and the purchase.
I understand why others are concerned. Nobody likes a price increase. But this move is an attempt to capture a lot of new readers like me who would buy more if the process were easier.
Full disclosure: I have no financial interest in this decision today; but if I ever get off my duff and finish my novel, a Baen editor has asked to see it. So it might be argued that I hope to have a future interest here.
Meanwhile, I’m gonna buy a lot more Baen books now. Toni could make my week by announcing that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was available for Kindle. I’d pay MORE than $9.99 for that one!
YES on TMIAHM!
Martin, that ability to do impulse buying and click, click, click is why this move to Amazon is such an important business decision — and necessary one — in my opinion. Same applies when Baen if finally on the other sites as well, something I assume is in the works based on what Toni has alluded to.
Hear hear! (both to you and to Barb)
I should note that, courtesy of some accidental posts on the Lois Bujold mailing list from herself, it seems that Baen’s previous royalty rate for ebooks had become perceived as too low by some authors and that authors were frustrated that their books were not available on Amazon etc.
Baen HAD to get its books onto Amazon and it had to raise its ebook royalty rates. if it wanted to retain good authors beyond those, like Sarah, who felt they owed a debt to Baen for giving them a chance.
And while I too like paying less for ebooks (who doesn’t) given that the prices of everything in the physical world have risen significantly over the last 2-3 years I have no problem with Baen putting up prices too.
And I happen to know what you’re saying about the royalty rates is true — but not just for Baen. Authors across the board are starting to realize they should be getting higher royalties, especially for e-books.
No one likes paying more. But if it comes to paying more or waiting a few months to pay only a few cents more in order to keep getting the kinds of books I want, I’ll do it.
Thank you! 🙂 And the additional information is also appreciated, as it makes perfect sense.
A. I don’t like the price increase, and I think Amazon is shooting itself in the foot for insisting on it.
B. Amazon is a much larger marketplace, and Baen would be idiots for not trying to take advantage of it (whether Amazon is teh ebil is a different topic altogether). I also hope now that they’ve finally nailed down an agreement with Amazon, they can work with B&N, etc.
C. Most of my Baen e-library is stuff I either got as gifts or from the Free Library, so they aren’t going to miss my money anyway.
I haven’t been saying anything over at Baen’s Bar, I mostly just lurk there anyway. Probably what it amounts to, is that I don’t wholly approve of this deal, but I can’t in the slightest blame Toni, et al, for making it.
I don’t like the increase either but, frankly, ten years without increasing prices was something that had to come to an end. As for Amazon shooting itself in the foot, nah. This is the standard agreement they have with publishers that don’t go with agency pricing, to the best of my understanding. It’s worked for them before and it will work here. I’m just glad Baen will be able to lower the price of books as soft cover editions become available.
I’m glad the Free Library will be returning and I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes. I’ve gotten a number of books from there in the past and it has started me reading authors I might not have otherwise.
There is no change so unequivocally salutary that some will not bitch and moan and complain about it.
Do I want to see prices rise? Of course I don’t. But if $3.99 for six months is the price of getting Baen eBooks into the Kindle store and improving the royalties paid by the only semi-traditional publisher in the world that isn’t totally and completely devoted, day and night, to finding new ways to screw over the authors who write for them? Yeah, that’s a compromise well worth making.
I’ve bought more than a few eBooks from the Baen store, going back to when I used to read them on my Palm. I’m devoted enough to it that I’ve always made sure my MicroPay balance remains sufficiently positive to make an impulse buy or two. I have no actual complaint with the store. And yet, every time I go to buy a book, I still go to Amazon first. And if I see, instead of a Kindle link, that annoying text box with “Tell the publisher you’d like to read this book on Kindle”, I still had that moment of annoyance, where I had to go find out whether the publisher was being stupid, or whether the publisher was Baen. _I_ cared enough to go to the Baen store and buy anyway. A lot of folks don’t. But those folks still want to read the books, and are still willing to pay for them (elsewise, why would they be on Amazon?). Isn’t it nice, that Baen and the authors no longer have to throw those sales away? (‘Cause guess what…lazy and uninformed people’s money is just as green as TruFan(tm) money, and there’s a lot more of it out there circulating around.)
Never been a patron at Baen’s Bar. Sometimes I’ve considered it. Now, I doubt I’ll ever go, if that sort of bitching predominates in response to this announcement.
Perhaps I should go find Toni Weisskopf’s email address and send an “attagirl!” thank you.
Don’t let this keep you from trying the Bar. While it’s not as vibrant a community as it once was, it is coming back. It’s just that there are a couple of folks who have been very vocal and, in a couple of situations, rude about the announcement. Most everyone who had a knee-jerk reaction about Toni’s initial announcement came back with an apology after she clarified a couple of things.
This post was prompted by those few who continue to dig their heels in and threaten to never buy another Baen e-book because of either the price increase or because Baen is going with Amazon and isn’t instantly in the other stores as well. They tend to forget that negotiations are best done in private and there are often non-disclosure clauses involved. But these loud mouths are the minority.
Of course, that said, if you do join the Bar and don’t want confrontation, steer clear of Blazes and Politics.
Most of my purchases will still be through the Baen storefront. Although I am glad to have the option of buying from Amazon off my Kindle 2 if I’m away from the internet and needing to find something to read.
Don’t let this one post give you a false preconception of the Bar, bubba. As a long time fly…I love the bar I don’t spend as much time there as I used to, because the Baen’s Bar like the company now…has gone through a few changes and growing pains. So most of us fled to facebook. til the software problems were fixed. plus there’s a thriving community of regulars on AIM. Baens Bar has it’s own chatroom on the AIM servers. Got good stable easy to use software now, and I’m back on the bar on a regular basis. Please check it out. Read the FAQ’s forum first and then…pick a forum…we’ve got 56 different forums. Some of them aren’t as active as they used to be but they’re their. One of them is that way because it’s the Memorium Forum…a memorial for the company’s found Jim Baen… That one will be there til either Baen books is no more for whatever reason or the sun explodes. whichever comes first. I’m personally betting on the latter.
As a Baen author, I can only say “this is the day the Lord has made and it is wonderful in our sight.”
Look, about half the readers for DST — if I track by fan letters, at least — are ROMANCE readers. This means Baen means nothing to them. I could track the transition from paper to ebook as primary reading means in real time by the number of PRISSY letters I got asking me why there was no ebook of Darkship Renegades. And when I explained the answer was always “I don’t need another account. I hope they put it on Amazon someday.”
As someone in the same situation most of these people are I can’t blame them. (In these unstable times, we might need to move. Fact of life. If husband’s job goes away, we need to find another or seriously downsize. While — fingers crossed — this hasn’t happened it has been a possibility for two years. And we CAN’T move across the country with the — rough estimate — 400 boxes of books we own. So we’re going digital on EVERYTHING that’s offered digital.)
So… glad Baen is on Amazon.
As for the prices… it’s counter intuitive and I’m cheap, but until people talked me into raising prices on my shorts, I wasn’t making much at all — and now I”m selling more PER SHORT. Low priced novels are valued low. Trust Toni to know what she’s doing.
Sarah, thanks for chiming in, especially about the pricing. I’ve been seeing more and more e-book purchasers saying they won’t buy an e-book that costs less than X-amount because they figure if if it priced lower than that it isn’t “pro”.
Yep. Being a skinflint and having two boys in college, this BOGGLES my mind, but people WILL do it.
Oh the only bitch I made was that I personally didn’t catch the warning…because I wasn’t paying attention and by the time I caught it…the free library was already gutted. Well that and I was wondering how it was going to affect the Planet Baen game and the coupon rewards we get for playing. Since I’ve been making a nice tidy pile of them since the game started and amassing a nice tidy pile of ebooks I otherwise might not have bought, either because I didn’t like the premise enough to pay for them or because it was either them or the newest one from one my favorites in he barn stable of authors; but with the coupons didn’t have to make the choice…just went and got em. 🙂
Wolfie, I’ll admit the notice was short and not very well worded initially. I’d have loved to have had more advanced warning. Fortunately, I did see the notice and managed to grab the books I wanted. I’m glad it won’t impact Planet Baen and I am looking forward to the Free Library returning.
I, being a ‘fly myself, even if I am more of a lurker, am going to take exception to the statement that Jim Baen would be upset about his company. The man was a marketing GENIUS. He was the first into e-books as a reason. The Free Library was a tool for making money. He made that clear. Read Eric’s post about the free library if you don’t believe me. He got his authors to collaborate to create a readership for his newbies. It works.
My first Baen author was David Weber. This annoying twit that I used to work with would not shut up about the Honor Harrington novels. Yes, I love the novels but he’s still an annoying twit. At any rate, Honor led to Bahzell led to Prince Roger. Prince Roger (co-authored with John Ringo) then led to the Council Wars and the Posleen/Aldenata series. Posleen led to Tom Kratman. Then I discovered this place called Baen’s Bar. My first day in the bar I read a post about how all of the fantasy fans on the bar liked to congregate in a forum named Sarah’s Diner. So, being a fantasy fan, I slipped by the Diner and asked which book to try first. The author herself then suggested that I try her new one (at the time) and I picked up a copy of Draw One in the Dark. Later on I would find about another fine author by the name of Larry Correia. His stuff is on Baen too.
To me, this just seems like the next logical step. The only thing better for a publisher than an increased audience for their new authors is an increased audience for their OLD authors. I mean, think about it. How many Honor Harrington books are there now? Something like elebenty jillion? How many copies of that will sell now that wouldn’t have before? How many more people are going to go down the road I’ve travelled now because of this? How much more money are my favorite authors going to pocket? And yeah, the stockholders of the company will too. Except that they’ll probably be forced to give Toni a raise. I don’t think they’ll mind though.
But Jim! I had to trudge to school through the snow uphill both ways back in the old days! How dare you give these young whippersnappers snowshoes, skis, even a snowbuggy! Dang it! You think they’re going to pay for all those extras… huh, you might be right. Hey, what about a ski-lift? And maybe a Starbuck’s at the top for the cold?
Heh…Weber was my intro to Baen as well, then Prince Roger…I didn’t discover Bahzell for a while. then the Aldenata books and…forget the progression from there.
I discovered Baen books when I found a remaindered paperback copy of Mutineers Moon in a discount bookshop in Covent Garden in the mid 90’s. There were urls for webscriptions and the bar in the back and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I entirely agree with your final paragraph Jim – this is the inevitable and essential next step. I’m sure Toni has got the best deal she could and in the long term it will benefit us readers as well as authors and the company.
Melvyn, I’m sure you’re right — at least that’s my impression based on how long it has taken Toni et al to come up with an agreement. Frankly, I’m glad she worked hard to get an agreement that didn’t kill the bundles and will allow for them to lower prices the longer a title is out. It would have been so easy for her to have simply inked a deal that could have done away with the bundles — especially when you consider how often the “when will Baen be on Amazon” question came up the last few years.
Jim, absolutely. I stumbled across the Bar by accident. Well, not so much accident but by following the link in the back of a book. I lurked for a long time before starting to post. But during that time, I was reading Weber and Ringo and this new author with Baen by the name of Hoyt and that led me to Dave and other Baen authors. But I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve talked to who have liked a Baen author but haven’t been able to find their e-books and who wouldn’t jump through the hoops of either emailing a title to their e-reader/smartphone or side-loading a title. This move to Amazon is a very good thing, imo, and will hopefully soon be followed by a move to BN and iTunes.
My husband and I are thrilled to see Baen making this change. We don’t have Kindles, so we can’t do Amazon, but we know that B&N and the Nook app can’t be far off. Baen is by far Steve’s favorite publisher, and we have often wondered why this didn’t happen earlier. But, yay!
Actually, Linda, you could as long as you have a Kindle app registered with them. Of course, to put it on your Nook, you’d have to run it through Calibre to do the conversion and if you’re going to do that, you might as well just buy direct from Baen. But, from what I’m reading between the lines of what Toni’s said — and I could be wrong — it sounds like she is busy working on something with BN as well. Hopefully that will come to fruition soon.
An old bush pilot I know and highly respect (one does not get to being an old bush pilot without being very good, very wise, and rather lucky), is fond of saying “The only people who like change are babies with wet diapers. And even they cry about it.”
Change is always painful, more for some than for others.
I’ve been a bar fly since back when Ringo hung out there and Jim was still with us. I remember when the monthly bundles were $12 and gritted my teeth when they went to $15 but still bought just about every one. Then something like late 2011 they went to $18 and I started getting more selective. This new policy will only serve to make me even more reluctant to invest in anything I’m not sure of. Sadly many more of my new to me books will be half off cover from the used paperback store though I know such sales profit neither Baen nor the authors. This from a guy who used to snap up every eARC by Ringo, Weber, or Correia.
I’m sure it was the right financial decision for Baen and Toni made the appropriate choice, but it will take me some time to adjust.
It’s going to take all of us time to adjust. I hate the price increase as much as the next guy. What I’ll probably wind up doing is buying only a few titles when they first become available. Between what I already have in the to be read pile and work, I can wait a few months for the price to come down to the $6.99 level. Since that is squarely in my acceptable price point, no sweat. I’ll also be looking more closely at the bundles to see if there are any that will pay for themselves with new — or at least new to me — e-books.
What gets me are the folks who are stomping their feet and canceling their wish lists for Baen e-books because of the change. Do they do that every time bread or gas go up in price? Frankly, this is one of those occasions where we probably need to sit back and wait to see how everything shakes out. Someone on the Bar came up with a good idea — I just don’t know if PT has the programmers/resources to carry it out. They suggested Baen implement a program similar to what Amazon uses to search out what prices Baen titles are being offered for and then match them in the e-bookstore. That way, if Amazon — or another outlet once Baen expands into them — puts a title on sale, Baen will know about it and match it.
In the meantime, I’m going to sit back, read what I have and wait to see what happens next.
Absolutely off topic, but why not piggyback on the amazon searches? Ask them to feed their results back to Baen? I know, I know, I’ll try to remember to post it to Toni, but it seems like something that Baen could ask for, now that we’re working together?