Baen Books is an American publishing company established in 1983 by Jim Baen, now run by Toni Weisskopf. It publishes science fiction (largely Space Opera
and Military Science-Fiction
) and fantasy.
In addition to new works the company has regularly re-released classic older SF works. Some of the earlier re-issues of the works by Randall Garrett
and James H Schmitz
caused a huge furor, in large part because Eric Flint
, as the editor, publicly described his editing policy around 2000, earning him the nickname "Eric the Butcher". It was probably no worse than any other editing policy, but it might have shown the inside of the sausage machine too closely.
Among SF fans, the company's book covers are notorious — they're often lurid, sometimes going so far as to be contemptible
, and frequently belie intelligent and well-written contents. Apparently they sell really well, though.
Baen is also known for engaging with the customer base online, and was an early pioneer in social marketing and e-book publishing. First through the internet forum Baen's Bar, then through starting a regular and profitable e-book business. It started as "Webscriptions", but is now under the Baen Ebooks
brand. A few other small publishers also use or have used it as their e-book outlet.
As a matter of policy since the beginning, Baen e-books are available in a variety of formats, all free of DRM copy restrictions. Several titles (mostly first volumes of series) are also free as in beer
in the Baen Free Library
, updated as the writing schedule of Mr. Flint (who maintains the collection) allows.
In addition to the Free Library, Baen also has included CDs bound into the hardback first editions of certain books (usually from popular series like the Honor Harrington
or Vorkosigan Saga
novels) which feature the complete collection of novels from that series to date, along with (often) several other novels by the same author. Each CD prominently displays the license "This disk and its contents may be copied and shared, but NOT sold. All commercial rights reserved." As such, several websites have collected archives of the Baen CDs; the most famous is BaenCD at The Fifth Imperium
. Beware: the sheer number of different novels available for free on that site can cause an Archive Binge worse than discovering TV Tropes for the first time
. Yes, you read that right.
Tropes related to this publisher:
- Contemptible Cover: A full list would triple the size of this page, so just head over there.
- Designated Victim: Joe Buckley (maintainer of the abovementioned "The Fifth Imperium" website) has and continues to die in the course of books published by Baen by many of their regular authors, and in some very inventive ways.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Averted by the Free Library and the CDs.
Authors with a major publishing history with Baen: