I decided to leave this as a second post since the last one was getting a little long and separating these two will allow me to use my categories a little more.
My second most favorite collection of books from this era of my life were not even written by a single author. I guess you could refer to them as a ‘collection of authors’, but that typically implies that each of them contributed to each of the various works, which is not the case. Yes, it’s true, I am speaking of the Baen Free Library. Those of you who are unfamiliar with this lovely little development in publishing and also happen to enjoy science fiction should now take a happy-little-dance moment.
The basic idea behind this whole thing is that Jim Baen decided that as a publisher, instead of a) getting locked into an ever-spiraling cycle of more complex ebook protection from ‘those pirates’ and b) setting up his own division or company to sell books electronically, he would use what was available and get a little extra publicity for his authors. So, any author with Baen can volunteer to have their published books offered free online. A little publicity for the author, and generally traditionalists are willing to cough up money for the book once they know they like it. Writers are encouraged to give the first book in a series, but basically anything goes. And if you happen to be really cheap or in China, it works very well for keeping you stocked in quick reads. While I haven’t yet bought anything from Baen for myself as a result of the free library, my dad is now overflowing with Baen books, most of them hardbacks. Though there is a question of whether or not he was already hooked before the free library went up….
Now, I must admit that most of what’s available probably will never be called ‘literature’. Most of it is pretty heavily based on plotlines and can leave some things to be desired as far as poetic language go. But if you’re looking for a free classic, there’s always Gutenburg. Though I haven’t stayed up in front of my computer screen for awhile just to read a novel, I feel a sense of relief, knowing the free library is there for me to peruse again the next time I’m at leisure. Ahhh. Say it with me.