Free Books, Free Reading, and Free Libraries.
I read three books over the winter holidays.
They were gifts of the Baen Publishing Company, given to me through the good graces of the Internet and referred to by a extraordinarily popular web comic .
If you are the kind of person who likes to read things printed on dead trees, or if you simply cannot fathom getting a thing of such immense quality for free, you should run out and buy yourself a copy of any of the Vorkosigian Saga books. They are as good as any you are likely to read. Really.
However, the folks at Baen, because they are smarter than almost all the other publishing houses combined, are cool with you not doing that. They understand that the money to be made in publishing is about more than pushing copies of Dead Trees into homes. They understand that publishing a thing is not the money making part in publishing. You were unlikely to purchase a copy of the dead tree edition of a book you've never heard of before, so the lost of a sale to you is really a non-event. Author Eric Flint put it best, though:
“Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc.”
The bottom line is that this here post is just one of the many ways that I can give back to Baen. I have enjoyed the Vorkosigian books immensely. (The three I’ve read, and I have several more to go) and I wouldn’t have bought _any_ of them if they’d not been freely offered.
If only our public libraries were so enlightened.
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