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Old 09-09-2009, 07:28 PM   #1
igorsk
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Thumbs up Baen's Webscriptions turns ten

I wasn't around in the beginning but it went something like this.

In late 90s Jim Baen created a website for Baen Books. That was common enough. But then he did something unusual - he added "Baen's Bar", where real live authors and editors chatted with the Readers. Just that helped quite a lot to improve sales. But then Jim talked some authors into posting snippets of "work in progress" to the Bar to let people "bug check" and build up the buzz before the finished book came out. Soon enough people got hungry for more and proposed him to put up the complete books... for money. Thus the Webscriptions were born.

According to Baen's FAQ the service was to begin on September 9th, 1999 but was delayed two days.

In the beginning only the complete bundle of books for a particular month were offered for $10 (in multiple formats and no DRM!). Later (at the readers' urging!) the bundle price was raised to $15 and the option of buying separate books was added. Afterward came Baen's Free Library and E-ARCs.

David Drake remembers:
Quote:
[...]the traditional model of electronic publishing required that the works be encrypted. Jim thought that just made it hard for people to read books, the worst mistake a publisher could make. His e-texts were clear and in a variety of common formats.
While e-publishing has been a costly waste of effort for others, Baen Books quickly began earning more from electronic sales than it did from Canada. By the time of Jim's death, the figure had risen to ten times that.
Many publishers only now discover that Jim knew ten years ago: DRM sells less than no DRM, free books help sell more books, and if you treat people as customers instead of as thieves, they pay back with loyalty and free promotion. I'm sure Baen's example will be one of the factors which will finally kill the Tower of eBabel and DRM in ebooks.

Baen Books
Baen's Bar
Webscriptions
Baen Free Library
Baen CDs
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:25 PM   #2
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Happy Anniversary! This is by far my favorite place to buy ebooks l love all the formats to choose from.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
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This is pretty interesting. Thanks for the info. I will be sure to check out Baen Books.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:24 PM   #4
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Wow, only 10 years ago. Seems longer. That's when I bought my first 'purchased' ebook (all of the Bujolds that were available at the time). I guess sometimes time doesn't fly as fast as you think!
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:26 PM   #5
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Time Flies! Happy Anniversary!!

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Old 09-09-2009, 10:38 PM   #6
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I hate to say this because I know that I sound like a broken record, but....I will not buy anythign with drm; be it music, video, or book. Bceause I want to future proof my purchase, and if the Sony 505 I have today dies, I want my books to work on the Kindle 'model name' or Plastic Logic 'Literacy 10' and so on. The message I have to publishers is simple; you have DRM? You have no sale to me.

Tom
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:07 PM   #7
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Love, love, love Baen's Webscriptions - it has been the one constant in my ebook world, as I have switched from Palm, to Windows CE, to Windows Mobile, to an iPhone, to a Sony Reader - I never have to worry about my Webscription purchases being readable. Happy Anniversary!
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:31 PM   #8
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and do you have any reason to believe that baen's webscriptions uses drm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdavie View Post
I hate to say this because I know that I sound like a broken record, but....I will not buy anythign with drm; be it music, video, or book. Bceause I want to future proof my purchase, and if the Sony 505 I have today dies, I want my books to work on the Kindle 'model name' or Plastic Logic 'Literacy 10' and so on. The message I have to publishers is simple; you have DRM? You have no sale to me.

Tom
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:40 PM   #9
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Happy Birthday to Baen Books!!!

: clown:

I'd been buying Baen books off the shelf in bookstores, seeking them out by their distinctive logo, for several year when I first discovered the free library. I fell in love on the spot and began purchasing ebooks in html format to read on my PC. I dabbled with The Bar but found it a bit awkward. When I found out that the Kindle2 was coming out and that it supported one of the formats available at Baen I was in seventh heaven. I bought the Kindle 2 as soon as it was available, re-downloaded all my older Baen purchases in prn/mobi and have been purchasing and consuming ebooks at a frantic rate ever since.

Thank you Arnold, Eric, and, especially, Jim.


Last edited by NormHart; 09-09-2009 at 11:42 PM. Reason: arrg, brownies!!!
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:52 PM   #10
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Webscriptions are always DRM free!

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Old 09-09-2009, 11:58 PM   #11
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Baen is where I spend the vast majority of my money on ebooks (I resort to DRM'ed ebooks /after/ print books, preferably second hand).

This is not-a-coincidence.

It's also lead me, via various removes, to various interesting things I've read before the public have seen them as well as the unfortunately-never-beyond-beta Legacy of the Alldenata RPG and to my work on Starfire.

Go Baen!

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Old 09-10-2009, 12:50 AM   #12
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It should be mentioned that Baen eBooks go for $6.00 a shot at Webscriptions and are released fairly quickly after the Hardcover is out. For the older titles you can still pick them up for $4.00 and the older monthly subscriptions 1999-2001 are still available for $10.00 for 5 or 6 ebooks, lots of good buys there.


Last edited by NormHart; 09-10-2009 at 12:54 AM. Reason: arrrg, brownies!!!
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:49 AM   #13
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Baen is mostly all I read in pbook. If they had Dietz, it would pretty much be all I read. Now that I have my new Sony Reader (which I prefer vastly over pbook) I don't really see myself checking out other websites ever due to the fact I am not a fast reader (1 book a week)



Hijack- does anyone know what format to download the first 2 volumes of Baens Universe in for PRS-505?

Last edited by keith_mahoney; 09-10-2009 at 04:16 AM. Reason: Hijack question
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keith_mahoney View Post
Hijack- does anyone know what format to download the first 2 volumes of Baens Universe in for PRS-505?
For the 505, you'll want either LRF or ePub formats by preference. If you need to format shift, then LIT's a good fall-back.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keith_mahoney View Post
Baen is mostly all I read in pbook. If they had Dietz, it would pretty much be all I read. Now that I have my new Sony Reader (which I prefer vastly over pbook) I don't really see myself checking out other websites ever due to the fact I am not a fast reader (1 book a week)



Hijack- does anyone know what format to download the first 2 volumes of Baens Universe in for PRS-505?
Just download lit and feed it into Calibre and convert to LRF, ePub or (shudder) PDF

Happy birthday to Baen, btw! I am a big fan and a regular buyer of the monthly webscription!

As a sidenote: There are a lot of other editors selling DRM-free ebooks. Have a look at fictionwise's multiformat books, so called because they are sold in a multidude of formats (including ePub) and without DRM.
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