This next bit of news should come as no surprise, though it still deserves notice as marking the end of an era. Baen Books has officially announced that they will be distributing their ebooks to the Kindle Store, with the first titles showing up on Saturday 15 December.
Toni Weisskopf, the Publisher at Baen, posted the news earlier today in the Baen’s Bar forum. Along with the new outlet, Baen is also going to be making a number of changes.
eBook prices are going up, both at Baen’s own ebookstore and at Amazon. Gone are the days of the $4 to $6 ebook; instead Baen will adopt a multi-tier pricing strategy which will be tied to the release schedule of the paer editions. An eBooks which is released at the same time as a hardcover will cost $10, alongside a trade paperback it will cost $9, and finally when the mass-market paperback is released the ebook will cost $7.
Bleh. I know that Baen is merely increasing prices to cover Amazon’s cut, but the increase is likely going to make me more cautious about experimenting with new authors.
Luckily for me, Baen won’t be completely doing away with their monthly bundles, though they will change in form, and Baen will also continue to sell the eARCs to those of us who simply cannot wait to find out what happens next.
And like I reported a couple months ago, Baen is also going to be reorganizing the Baen Free Library with some titles going away and other titles being added. I’ll admit that I didn’t realize at the time that the changes to the BFL indicated that Baen was considering such a radical change as to sell their ebooks in the Kindle Store, but given the size disparity between Baen’s customer base and the Kindle Store it makes a lot of sense.
On a related note, Baen’s news does not bode well for other smaller niche ebookstores, including any hoping to copy Pottermore’s model as well as the ones which launched this year. Zola Books, for example, is expecting to draw people in to their store because they have exclusive content.
Baen, on the other hand, has decided to give up the exclusive conditions they had in order to join the party. They went to where the customers are rather than expect customers to come to them. If Bane sees exclusivity as a poor model, what hope could the new and smaller stores have?
In any case, this does mark the end of an era. Baen was the last of the early ebook pioneers, and now they have transitioned to the modern era.
If you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy up the rest of Baen’s monthly bundles. It looks like the current bundles will be going away soon (it’s not clear), so I want to buy them before it’s too late.
via Baen’s Bar