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Baen Books

Webcomics: Another new medium of the digital age
August 25, 2014 | 7:09 pm

schlockNew media for broadcast create new forms of media for consumer consumption. The invention of the cinema led to short films, newsreels, serials, and feature films. Later on, the emergence of television largely killed all the forms but feature films, but it brought TV series—like serials but they could keep going for years. Computers brought video games, and of course e-books. The Internet…well, the Internet has brought a number of new media forms. Blogs, fiction mailing lists and newsgroups, social media, YouTube videos…the list goes on and on. But the one I’ve been thinking about today is webcomics. ...

Dumping DRM is not a panacea
June 20, 2014 | 12:23 pm

As I’ve watched the e-book market develop, I’ve gradually lost a good deal of patience with the argument that DRM is the thing keeping people locked into the Amazon Kindle ecosystem. The latest example to pop up comes via Cory Doctorow’s latest column in The Guardian (found via BoingBoing). Doctorow feels Hachette is hoist by its own petard because of the DRM it insists Amazon (and the other e-book stores) use. It’s an old, old argument. And make no mistake, I don’t like DRM myself and would be just as glad if it all went away tomorrow. But Doctorow...

LonCon Hugo Voter Packet now available for download to paid members
May 30, 2014 | 5:47 pm

Origin 5302014 52336 PM.bmpFor those who signed up for LonCon membership to get the Hugo Voting Packet containing free e-books (such as almost all of Wheel of Time), LonCon has made the packet available. Go to the Voter Packet page. You’ll need your LonCon membership number and PIN, which should be in an email in your inbox with the subject line “Loncon 3 PR3 and your Hugo PIN.” Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be presented with the options to download the category material shown at right. (And if you haven’t signed up yet, it’s only about $45 for a voting membership,...

Publishing consultants want to foster competition among retailers by making consumers miserable
May 29, 2014 | 6:40 pm

I’m not a publishing industry “insider.” I admit that. I know I pontificate from time to time, and have opinions very strongly expressed, but sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m “just” a consumer and a very interested onlooker who’s been observing the field from the outside for the last ten or fifteen years. From my perspective, it often seems like publishing industry folks don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Nonetheless, you know the old saying about what is done by those who can and those who can’t. I keep telling myself, this is how these...

Whither the Kindle Killer?
May 29, 2014 | 7:01 am

Broken-KindleFound via Slashdot: Larry Press plaintively wonders why nobody’s come up with a “Kindle Killer” yet. He notes a whole host of ways the Kindle falls short of perfection—lack of voice recognition or full interface capability with a computer, for example—and thinks such a device really should be a “low-hanging fruit” for one of the big device makers. I’ll tell you why, Larry. The demand isn’t there. Maybe folks like you who like to get the most out of their devices would want such a thing, but the vast majority of the lowest-common-denominator general public—the ones who actually buy...

Which Hachette books are affected by Amazon spat, and why Kindle users are locked in
May 29, 2014 | 6:34 am

Here’s some more assorted Amazon/Hachette coverage. First of all, Gizmodo has some examples of the books you find on “Amazon’s hit list,” with charts comparing pricing and availability at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The article itself is rather slanted, concluding with the call to action, “Amazon has every right to fight dirty. And you have every right to show them the consequences.” Nonetheless, the charts are interesting. It’s also interesting to look at at where the story slants are. You see plenty of pro-Hachette/anti-Amazon stuff in the media and the commercial blog networks (Gizmodo, GigaOm, etc.) and the...

E-book review: The Chronicles of the Kencyrath is fun, dark fantasy
May 26, 2014 | 2:22 pm

godstalkIf you’re looking for something interesting to read, I’m going to talk about an underappreciated, inexpensive series of e-books from Baen that I’ve grown to love. It’s called the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, and the first book, God Stalk, was written by Patricia C. Hodgell back in 1982. Go and buy and read it right now, links are at the bottom of this post. You want me to tell you more about it? What, don’t you trust me? Well, all right. I first came across God Stalk back in the late ‘90s, as one of the top-ranking books...

Ryk Spoor launches Kickstarter to fund new Oz novel
March 15, 2014 | 5:27 am

polychromeHere’s a worthy-looking Kickstarter project. Ryk Spoor, one of the Baen stable of authors, is looking to self-publish Polychrome, his modern-day pastiche on the public-domain Oz setting. He’s already offered it to multiple publishers, but none of them seems to have been able to figure out quite what to do with it. He hopes to raise at least $5,000 to cover the cost of having the book professionally edited, formatted, and polished up for self-publication. Of course, you can make the argument that he could just self-publish it as-is, for free; if it’s good enough for a zillion other...

Surprise! Most consumers buy e-books from a single retailer
January 22, 2014 | 5:33 am

At Digital Book World, book industry research firm Codex Group has some news for you that will completely shock and surprise you: in a survey of just over 2,000 people who buy e-books, 86% buy them from only one retailer. Those who buy books from Amazon tend to keep buying them from Amazon, etc. Oh, wait. Maybe that won’t shock and surprise you after all. Maybe it’s completely what you expected given that most major e-book vendors have erected walled gardens around their content to keep you from taking it out to another garden. If you buy books from...

Baen’s new mobile site and app show promise
December 23, 2013 | 4:51 pm

Screenshot_2013-12-23-16-09-21Today I was reminded that Baen has a mobile version of its website and mobile apps under development. I’ve been trying out the Android version, which can be found in the “Baen Mobile” forum on the Baen Bar. It offers some interesting features, but is a bit rough and unpolished as of yet—it is early beta, after all. The app promises a convenient way to access both your library and the Baen Bar, but it seems to have some way to go yet. The feature that lets you download books into the app to read them there has a...

Fiction Bundle joins the DRM-free pay-what-you-want e-book bundle crowd
November 30, 2013 | 9:54 am

Fullscreen capture 11302013 94959 AM.bmpThe Humble Indie Bundle has done a lot to put independent and even some big studio software titles on many people’s virtual gaming shelves, but I haven’t seen all that many game bundle sites spring up in imitation of it. I can recall maybe one or two, but not more than that. But once the idea jumped over to e-books, it seems as though you hear about a new e-book bundle every other month. Humble has done it not just once (raising a respectable $1.2 million!) but twice, Storybundle has done it a few times, and Snug Nugget, Tomely,...

Refurbished Nook Simple Touch: $40 on eBay
September 24, 2013 | 4:48 am

If you’re looking for a good cheap e-reader, an eBay seller is running a $40 with free shipping special on refurbished Nook Simple Touch units. This is B&N’s 2011 model, a 6” 800x600 unlit Pearl e-ink reader that can do EPUB, including Barnes & Noble’s and Adobe Digital Editions’ DRM. It has 2 GB of onboard storage, plus an SD card slot for loading more media. If you’re invested in Barnes & Noble’s content ecosystem (for example, you have a lot of e-books from eReader/Fictionwise that got imported to B&N after it shut those stores down), or just want something...