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Old 10-18-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
JeremyR
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Baen Re-evaluating their Free Library

From their Facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/BaenBooks?ref=stream

Quote:
Dear Baen Free Library Readers,

As a result of the changing business climate in ebooks we have been forced to reevaluate what titles we’ll be able to offer in the Free Library. In some cases, rights have reverted back to the authors. Some authors have allowed us to continue offering their titles; some have chosen to remove a title or titles.

We are hoping to leave as many works as possible available in the Free Library, but look for some changes in the upcoming months.
...

All bests,

Toni Weisskopf
Publisher, Baen Books

Eric Flint,
Librarian
I had a feeling this was coming.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
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It's not Baen re-evaulating, it's Baen having to do what the authors want with their ebooks. Some authors don't realise the value the free library has provided in getting people reading new authors.

I'd never have bought any David Webber books had it not been for reading quite a few of them in the baen free library and fifth imperium.

Reminds me of the thread a few weeks back where an author was quoted as saying (a year or so ago) that the fifth imperium was a pirate site (paraphrased) for giving away her ebooks, despite the license agreement of the CD allowing it.

If an author only has one book to their name, then sure it would make no sense to have it in the free library, but once you start having several series to your name, there is really no down side to letting people sample the first book in a series. Get them hooked, sell the rest.

Still, nothing wrong with authors not wanting to be in the free library, it should be their choice after all. Their loss or their gain either way
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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Yep. Nothing lasts forever and authors are amazingly fearful of giving away their precious Intellectual Property (see Lois McMaster Bujold kerfuffle)

Edit: Agree with JoeD. I probably wouldn't have purchased books by certain authors if I hadn't had a chance to sample from the free library. But as Joe says, their right to deny books in the free library. Maybe their loss.

Last edited by jgaiser; 10-18-2012 at 06:35 PM. Reason: added extra comment
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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It is just like in my business. I own a jewelry store and am a bench jeweler. I do freebies all the time. It gives customer's the chance to evaluate my work and the majority become customers for life. And when they become repair customers they come back and buy finished jewelry from me too. You have to build your business on repeat customers and customer referrals.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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I think some of y'all are reading too much into this. For all we know the authors plan to pursue their own marketing strategy for the free ebooks.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeD View Post
It's not Baen re-evaulating, it's Baen having to do what the authors want with their ebooks. Some authors don't realise the value the free library has provided in getting people reading new authors.

I'd never have bought any David Webber books had it not been for reading quite a few of them in the baen free library and fifth imperium.

Reminds me of the thread a few weeks back where an author was quoted as saying (a year or so ago) that the fifth imperium was a pirate site (paraphrased) for giving away her ebooks, despite the license agreement of the CD allowing it.

If an author only has one book to their name, then sure it would make no sense to have it in the free library, but once you start having several series to your name, there is really no down side to letting people sample the first book in a series. Get them hooked, sell the rest.

Still, nothing wrong with authors not wanting to be in the free library, it should be their choice after all. Their loss or their gain either way
Ryk Spoor put his book in the Free Library. Sales were not great enough to warrant a reprint. When that happen, an Authors work just disappear. In His case, there have been a few new works bearing his name. The Free Library probably help sell those
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
I think some of y'all are reading too much into this. For all we know the authors plan to pursue their own marketing strategy for the free ebooks.
Yes I can see how that would work. Instead of a centralized place to find the authors works, let's but them on various websites and hope the readers find the free books.

Once again. Authors protecting their precious IP (why is that every time I write that I imagine Gollum?)
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:19 AM   #8
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I love their Library. I think it is a great risk-free way to meet new (to you) authors.
But I have no problem with Baen and/or the authors reevaluating the Library.
In fact, I've been expecting this for a couple years now.

Go back to the library and read a few of Flint's comments, the Palavers...
The ebooks in the library (and the promo CDs) were intended as sales promoters for print books with any added ebook sales as sweetener. When the library started (and for years since) ebook sales would be just a small fraction of the book's sales and the writer's income. The ebook edition was secondary.

Things have changed.
Print sales are dropping, especially in paperback format.
We've been told that in some genres like romance ebook sales constitute well over 50% of a sales. SF may be that way and if so, BAEN is likely in the lead in ebook/pbook ratio because of their policies.

For some of the lesser-known authors, it is quite possible that the monthly ebook bundle alone constitutes a significant portion of their sales. Certainly, ebooks are no longer a sweetener or a secondary edition. eBooks are quite possibly the main product for some.

So it is reasonable for authors without a deep catalog or long series to reevaluate their library presence. The trade-off between the promo value and the "lost" sales. After all, BAEN obviously knows how many downloads each library title gets and they probably have no problem reporting those numbers to the authors. Faced with a changing marketplace it is only a matter of due dilligence to consider the possibility that for some authors the library promotion may have outlived its usefulness for *them*. The library isn't all that different from pricing ebooks as free at the big ebookstores, except those are usually temporary promos.

The free library is ten years old by now; a lot of things have changed.
The library may have outlived its usefulness in its current form.
It really was just a matter of time.
Hopefully most library contributors will keep their books in it but it wouldn't surprise me if some titles move to a rotation system where they are only free for a few months out of the year. Some authors might choose to offer different titles at different times. Others might come and go entirely.
New times, new rules.
Nothing good lasts forever.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:25 AM   #9
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Some authors I have noticed will offer the first one or two books in a series to get customers hooked then charge for the rest of the series. That's called a loss leader and David Weber does that with his Honor Harringtion series. I can see that and I like being able to see if I like an author's writing style before I commit my hard earned dollars.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:11 AM   #10
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Some authors I have noticed will offer the first one or two books in a series to get customers hooked then charge for the rest of the series. That's called a loss leader and David Weber does that with his Honor Harringtion series. I can see that and I like being able to see if I like an author's writing style before I commit my hard earned dollars.
The Honorverse series runs 16 books so far; release one or two as free intros is fine. But what of a writer with maybe three standalone books? And the BAEN ebooks are DRM-free.
As Bujold is about to discover, once those things are out on the net they never go away.
Free is good, free is useful.
But not always, not for everybody.
(Example: Putting a Keith Laumer in the library makes sense: a great writer with a deep catalog that is often neglected. Putting Tom Goodwin? Not so much.)
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:36 PM   #11
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Yes I can see how that would work. Instead of a centralized place to find the authors works, let's but them on various websites and hope the readers find the free books.

Once again. Authors protecting their precious IP (why is that every time I write that I imagine Gollum?)
Stupid authors, giving away an ebook in an ebookstore right next to the new one which just came out. What could they possibly be thinking?

/sarcasm

And that's just one example of an alternative method to give away free ebooks. This issue is not nearly as black and white as you might think.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:45 PM   #12
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This issue is not nearly as black and white as you might think.
No, it is not.
For that matter, BAEN tends to have pretty fixed prices in their bookstore.
Most are a flat $6 with no sales or freebies.
The re-evaluation might be to move freebies from the Library to the ebookstore, as you suggest, or to price them at $0.99 or another nominal loss-leader price.
And then, the re-evaluation could result in no changes for some or even most authors...
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:36 PM   #13
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No, it is not.
For that matter, BAEN tends to have pretty fixed prices in their bookstore.
Most are a flat $6 with no sales or freebies.
The re-evaluation might be to move freebies from the Library to the ebookstore, as you suggest, or to price them at $0.99 or another nominal loss-leader price.
And then, the re-evaluation could result in no changes for some or even most authors...
There is a 'donate' button next to the 'free' title in their book store.
For many of the books that I did NOT own the dead tree version, I did use that button.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:14 PM   #14
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When I read this I decided I'd better download the ones I'll want to read, but http://www.baenebooks.com seems to be down now. I hope this is an unrelated hiccup?
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:18 PM   #15
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When I read this I decided I'd better download the ones I'll want to read, but http://www.baenebooks.com seems to be down now. I hope this is an unrelated hiccup?
It's working for me.
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