Baen Books

Baen Books is an American publishing house for science fiction and fantasy. In science fiction, it emphasizes space opera, hard science fiction, and military science fiction. The company was established in 1983 by science fiction publisher and editor Jim Baen. After his death in 2006, he was succeeded as publisher by long-time executive editor Toni Weisskopf.

Baen Books
FounderJim Baen
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationWake Forest, North Carolina
DistributionSimon & Schuster (US)[1]
Diamond Book Distributors (UK)[2]
Key peopleToni Weisskopf
Publication typesBooks
Fiction genresScience fiction, fantasy


Baen Books was founded in 1983 out of a negotiated agreement between Jim Baen and Simon & Schuster. Simon & Schuster was undergoing massive reorganization and wanted to hire Baen to head and revitalize the science fiction line of its Pocket Books division. Baen, with financial backing from some friends, counteroffered with a proposal to start up a new company named Baen Books and provide Simon & Schuster with a science fiction line to distribute instead.[3]

According to Locus's 2004 Book Summary,[4] Baen Books was the ninth most active publisher in the U.S. in terms of most books published in the genres indicated, and the fifth most active publisher of the dedicated science fiction imprints, publishing a total of 67 titles (of which 40 were original titles). It is difficult to judge the issue of quality but, based on the number of times a title published by Baen Books appeared in the bestseller lists produced by the major bookselling chains, it is ranked the seventh most popular science fiction publisher. In 2005, Baen moved up to the eighth position in the total books published with 72 books published (of which 40 were original titles).[5]

Electronic publishing

Initially, the company invested resources in "Baen's Bar", its online community service that provides a forum for customers, authors and editors to interact, beginning as a BBS. In the early 2000s, a blogger wrote: "Like every other publisher, Baen set up a website. But several of his authors and fan friends convinced him to put a chat client on his site. Since he was interested, and since several of those authors (like Jerry Pournelle, former columnist for Byte Magazine, for instance) were very Internet savvy, he did. The chat client grew into an incredibly vibrant community called Baen's Bar."[6]

Beginning in mid-1999, Baen emphasized electronic publishing and Internet-focused promotions for its publications. The discussions on Baen's bar convinced him to do so.[6] Baen's electronic strategy is explained exhaustively in a series of "letters" or "essays" called The Prime Palaver by Baen Free Library "First Librarian" Eric Flint, but in a nutshell, emphasizes distribution of unencrypted digital versions of its works free of Digital Rights Management copy protection schemes through Baen Ebooks (formerly Webscriptions, which was not formally part of Baen Books, but in effect an independent e-publisher). Baen and his successors believe that DRM does more harm than good to a publisher. Consequently, Baen also makes its entire catalog available in multiple formats for downloading and typically prices electronic versions of its books at or below that of paperback editions—and makes a profit doing it.[6] According to essays on Baen's science fiction e-magazine Jim Baen's Universe, also edited by Flint, the strategy is if anything, getting stronger and more fruitful with the passage of time, especially with the advent of e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle, and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Baen's Webscriptions

In addition to selling individual titles in electronic format, Baen has distributed serialized e-book versions of new books at reduced prices in monthly bundles. Originally called Webscriptions, these Monthly Baen Bundles are scheduled three months in advance of print publication. was implemented by Baen's preferred website expert, Arnold Bailey, who also sold e-books for other publishers. At the start of 2012, the website was redesigned, renamed to Baen Ebooks, and moved to Despite the new name, Baen Ebooks continues to sell e-books for other publishers, notably science fiction genre rival Night Shade Books.

Baen's standard setup is based on monthly bundles. Each month, whichever books Baen has coming out in paper (paperback or hardcover, new or reissued) are bundled put together in a fixed price (currently $18) bundle regardless of a number of books (historically 4–9 books, average 5–6). The Monthly Baen Bundles are released in installments beginning three months prior to physical publication. The first installment, released three months prior to paper publication includes roughly a half of every book in the bundle, with some books usually included in their entirety. The second installment, two months prior to print publication includes roughly three quarters, and the third installment on the 16th of the month prior to official print release includes the full text. The first two installments are generally available only as HTML, while the last includes all formats supported. Each bundle can only be bought until the 15th of the month prior to official print publication, which is about the time the printed books reach retailers.[7] (Until December 2012, bundles remained on sale indefinitely.)

Another avenue for distribution that Baen uses for some of its new titles is the offering of electronic advance reader copies (ARCs), or eARCs 3–5 months prior to actual publication. Marketed as a premium product for the fans who absolutely positively have to read it now, they are priced at $15 per single title and can differ from the final text (as they are electronic proofs). What it means is that some authors (and Baen) can get paid as many as three times for the same book: the eARC, part of the monthly bundle, and actual printed book. After print publication, the "cleaned up and finalized" electronic copy is available both on line through the monthly bundle or as a single title (priced variably $7–10, older titles are less).[7]

The electronic versions by Baen are produced in five common formats (HTML, Palm Pilot/Mobipocket/Kindle format, Rocketbook, EPUB/Stanza, Sony LRF, RTF and MS Reader versions), all unencrypted in drastic contrast to the rest of the e-publishing industries strategy. Jim Baen disliked Adobe's portable document format (PDF) for reading purposes, but Baen Ebooks offers some non-Baen titles in that format. When customers purchases a title from Baen, they can read it online or download in any format they want as often as they want. Baen instituted a parallel practice of using promotional CD-ROMs with permissive copyright licenses containing many of its stable of authors works. Whether downloaded or by CD-ROM, the source material is available in all the formats Baen supports.

The great majority of books published by Baen are still available as e-books, long after the hardcover or paperback versions have gone out of print. This is especially important for midlist titles, which rarely get reprinted. Until December 2012, it was also possible to purchase older monthly bundles.

Baen has made liberal use of free content in its marketing efforts. For example, free sample chapters of its books are typically available on the Baen Web site. The "Baen Free Library" allows free access to dozens of titles from the company's backlist, often the first book published in a series by a Baen author. Baen also provides free electronic copies of its books to readers who are blind, paralyzed, dyslexic, or are amputees.

Baen's emphasis on electronic publishing has generated press coverage for the company. In 2001, Wired magazine described Webscriptions as "innovative".[8] Charles N. Brown, publisher of Locus Magazine, has praised Baen's approach in an interview in The New York Times, saying "Baen has shown that putting up electronic versions of books doesn't cost you sales. It gains you a larger audience for all of your books. As a result, they've done quite well."[9]

Magazine experiments

Baen's first run at magazine-style book publishing took place in the late 1970s, in the form of Destinies, a quarterly 'bookazine' that featured fiction and non-fiction by well-known and new authors that Baen was promoting. It was published by Ace, where Baen was employed at the time. Under the aegis of Baen Books in the 1980s he published two more bookazine series. The first was Far Frontiers. The second was New Destinies, edited by Baen, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Michael A. Banks.

The Grantville Gazettes

Baen's began the experimental publication of The Grantville Gazette, an e-magazine anthology series specifically related to the popular Ring of Fire alternate history plenum.

Jim Baen's Universe

In the early 2000s, Baen tried magazine-like publishing again, establishing two self-sustaining e-zine enterprises with a separate staff for each, both spearheaded by Eric Flint: Jim Baen's Universe and the Grantville Gazette series, which was reconfigured after Grantville Gazette V.

The general audience speculative fiction anthology Baen's Universe is available only online. At approximately 120,000 words, this latter publication is unusually large when compared to most traditional print editions of science fiction magazines, and the average size of the newly reconfigured Gazettes is similarly generous.

Baen Digital Object Identifiers (DOI)

From 1999 to 2011, Baen's e-books were produced by Webscriptions under contract for Baen Books in various (at least five) common digital formats. Because these multiple formats complicate the issue of identifying electronic versions, Baen and Webscriptions did not use DOIs to identify their e-books (even though some of their books had DOIs). The electronic e-ARC practices also complicates things in "publications dates", since the first released text starts two to three months before the release of the print copy, though the released text is not guaranteed to be fully copy edited—and so occasionally differs from the final released fully copy edited versions. Thus, like the Grantville Gazettes the e-publication date antedates the print copy by about two months—the interval before the release of the last third and the hardcover print edition is simultaneously released.

Authors and works


Baen's authors include:


Series published by Baen includes:


  1. ^ Our Valued Clients
  2. ^ Our Publishers
  3. ^ "JIM BAEN October 22, 1943 – June 28, 2006" Archived February 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Baen's obituary by David Drake,
  4. ^ Locus, February 2005. Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 50–54.
  5. ^ Locus, February 2006, Vol. 56, No. 2, pp. 50–53.
  6. ^ a b c Walt Boyes. "Baen's Bar, A Successful Community". The Learning Fountain. Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  7. ^ a b "Baen Print Newsletter". December 2012. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  8. ^ Rose, M.j. (March 13, 2001). "Authors to Protest Amazon". Wired. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  9. ^ O'Connell, Pamela Licalzi (March 19, 2001). "Publisher's Web Books Spur Hardcover Sales". The New York Times. New York: NYTC. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.

External links

1632 (novel)

1632 is the initial novel in the best-selling alternate history 1632 book series written by American historian, writer and editor Eric Flint published in 2000. The flagship novel kicked off a collaborative writing effort that has involved hundreds of contributors and dozens of authors. The premise involves a small American town of three thousand, sent back to May 1631, in an alternate Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War.

Ashes of Victory

Ashes of Victory is a science fiction novel by American writer David Weber. It is the ninth book in the Honor Harrington series.

Baen Free Library

The Baen Free Library is a digital library of the science fiction and fantasy publishing house Baen Books where 61 e-books as of June 2016 (112 e-books as of December 2008) can be downloaded free in a number of formats, without copy protection. It was founded in late 1999 by science fiction writer Eric Flint and publisher Jim Baen to determine whether the availability of books free of charge on the Internet encourages or discourages the sale of their paper books.The Baen Free Library represents an experiment in the field of intellectual property and copyright. It appears that sales of both the e-books made available free and other books by the same author, even from a different publisher, increase when the electronic version is made available free of charge.Baen Ebooks also sells individual e-books and a subscription-based e-book program. The books in the Free Library are available via the website for Baen Ebooks in various formats including HTML, Rich Text Format, and EPUB as well as unencrypted .mobi for Kindle.

Field of Dishonor

Field of Dishonor is a science fiction novel by American writer David Weber, first published in 1994. It is the fourth book in the Honor Harrington series, the only book in the series to not feature space warfare.

Flag in Exile

Flag in Exile is a science fiction novel by American writer David Weber, first published in 1995. It is the fifth book in the Honor Harrington series. In the story, the disgraced Honor enters a self-imposed exile on Grayson.

Grantville Gazette II

Grantville Gazette II is the third collaborative anthology published in print set in the 1632-verse shared universe in what is best regarded as a canonical sub-series of the popular alternate history that began with the February 2000 publication of the hardcover novel 1632 by author-historian Eric Flint. Baen Books and Flint decline the distinction, counting this book as the sixth published work. Overall it is also the third anthology in printed publication in the atypical series which consists of a mish-mash of main novels and anthologies produced under popular demand after publication of the initial novel which was written as a stand-alone work.

Heroes in Hell

Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include one Hugo Award winner and Nebula nominee, ("Gilgamesh in the Outback" by Robert Silverberg from Rebels in Hell), as well as one other Nebula Award nominee. The series was resurrected in 2011 by Janet Morris with the thirteenth book and eighth anthology in the series, Lawyers in Hell, followed by six more anthologies and three novels between 2012 and 2018.

Honor Among Enemies

Honor Among Enemies is a science fiction novel by American writer David Weber. It is the sixth book in the Honor Harrington series. In the book, Honor returns to active duty from her political exile on Grayson to command a Q-ship and fight space pirates.

Jim Baen

James Patrick Baen (| beɪn |; October 22, 1943 – June 28, 2006) was a U.S. science fiction publisher and editor. In 1983, he founded his own publishing house, Baen Books, specializing in the adventure, fantasy, military science fiction, and space opera genres. Baen also founded the video game publisher, Baen Software. In late 1999, he started an electronic publishing business called Webscriptions (since renamed to Baen Ebooks), which is considered to be the first profitable e-book vendor.

John Dalmas

John Dalmas may also refer to a fictional character by Raymond Chandler.John Robert Jones (3 December 1926 – 15 June 2017) wrote science fiction as John Dalmas. He wrote many books based on military and governmental themes throughout his career. His first published novel was The Yngling, serialized beginning in the October–November 1969 issue of Analog.

Larry Correia

Larry Correia (born 1977) is an American fantasy novelist, known for his Monster Hunter and Grimnoir Chronicles series. In 2014 and 2015 Correia was one of the leaders of the Sad Puppies campaign to nominate works for the Hugo Award that he believed were more popular but often unfairly passed over by voters in favor of more literary works or stories with progressive political themes.

Prometheus Award

The Prometheus Award is an award for libertarian science fiction novels given annually by the Libertarian Futurist Society, which also publishes the quarterly journal Prometheus. L. Neil Smith established the award in 1979, but it was not awarded regularly until the newly founded Libertarian Futurist Society revived it in 1982. The Society created a Hall of Fame Award (for classic works of libertarian science fiction, not necessarily novels) in 1983, and also presents occasional one-off awards.


Sassinak is a science fiction novel by American writers Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon, published by Baen Books in 1990.

It is the first book in the Planet Pirates trilogy and continues the Ireta series that McCaffrey initiated with Dinosaur Planet in 1978. McCaffrey wrote the second Planet Pirates book with Jody Lynn Nye, the third with Moon.The novel features the personal battles that Sassinak must wage within herself and the determination she develops to rid the universe of the scourge of piracy. The four parts include her enslavement and schooling, her first assignment, her promotion and her first ship, and the discovery of the Dinosaur Planet and its survivors.

The Enchanter Reborn

The Enchanter Reborn is an anthology of five fantasy short stories edited by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Christopher Stasheff, the first volume in their continuation of the Harold Shea series by de Camp and Fletcher Pratt. It was first published in paperback by Baen Books in 1992; an ebook edition followed from the same publisher in May 2013. The book has also been translated into Italian. All but one of the pieces are original to the anthology; the exception, de Camp's "Sir Harold and the Gnome King", first appeared in the World Fantasy Convention program book in 1990 and was then published as a separate chapbook in 1991.De Camp and Pratt's original Harold Shea stories are parallel world tales in which universes where magic works coexist with our own, and in which those based on the mythologies, legends, and literary fantasies of our world and can be reached by aligning one's mind to them by a system of symbolic logic. In these stories psychologist Harold Shea and his colleagues Reed Chalmers, Walter Bayard, and Vaclav Polacek (called "Votsy", a nickname derived from the Czech pronunciation of Vaclav, approx.: VAHTs-lahff), travel to a number of such worlds. In the course of their travels other characters are added to the main cast, including Belphebe and Florimel, who become the wives of Shea and Chalmers, and Pete Brodsky, a policeman who is accidentally swept up into the chaos. In The Enchanter Reborn the series is opened up into a shared world to which other authors were invited to contribute. In addition to stories by de Camp and Stasheff, who collectively oversaw the project, it includes contributions by Holly Lisle and John Maddox Roberts, both of whom worked from outlines provided by the editors.

The initial impulse for the continuation may have been the successful adaptation of the characters into a gamebook adventure (Prospero's Isle, by Tom Wham, published by Tor Books in October 1987), to which de Camp had contributed an admiring introduction. This may have encouraged him to wrap up long-unresolved loose ends from the original series, such as the stranding of Walter Bayard in the world of Irish mythology, and to resolve the unaddressed complication introduced by L. Ron Hubbard's "borrowing" of Harold Shea for use in his novel The Case of the Friendly Corpse. Both of these goals he accomplished in "Sir Harold and the Gnome King" (1990 chapbook). When the decision was made to continue the series further this story was revised slightly to reconcile it with the other new stories, though the fit is somewhat awkward.

Once the loose ends are resolved, most of the action in the second sequence involves Shea and Chalmers' quest across several universes to rescue Florimel, who has been kidnapped by the malevolent enchanter Malambroso. Milieus encountered in the stories of The Enchanter Reborn include the worlds of Irish myth and of Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem the Orlando furioso from the original series, revisited in "Professor Harold and the Trustees," L. Ron Hubbard's setting from The Case of the Friendly Corpse and L. Frank Baum's land of Oz in "Sir Harold and the Gnome King," the world of Taoist legend as portrayed in Wú Chéng'ēn's classic Chinese novel Journey to the West in "Sir Harold and the Monkey King," the romantic fantasies of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (with the unique twist of its being Quixote's version of reality rather than Cervantes') in "Knight and the Enemy," and Virgil's Graeco-Roman epic the Aeneid in "Arms and the Enchanter." The last two stories appear to have been transposed as published; the opening sequence of "Knight and the Enemy" refers to Shea and Chalmers has having just come from the world of the Aeneid, which is the setting of the story following it in the collection.

The Enchanter Reborn was followed up by a sequel anthology, The Exotic Enchanter (1995), which featured more stories by de Camp and Stasheff, together with additional new authors.

The Exotic Enchanter

The Exotic Enchanter is an anthology of four fantasy short stories edited by American writers L. Sprague de Camp and Christopher Stasheff. The Exotic Enchanter is the second volume in the continuation of the Harold Shea series by de Camp and Fletcher Pratt. It was first published in paperback by Baen Books in 1995; an ebook edition followed from the same publisher in September 2013. All the pieces are original to the anthology.

De Camp and Pratt's original Harold Shea stories are parallel world tales in which universes where magic works coexist with our own, and in which those based on the mythologies, legends, and literary fantasies of our world and can be reached by aligning one's mind to them by a system of symbolic logic. In these stories psychologist Harold Shea and his colleagues Reed Chalmers, Walter Bayard, and Vaclav Polacek (Votsy), travel to a number of such worlds. In the course of their travels other characters are added to the main cast, including Belphebe and Florimel, who become the wives of Shea and Chalmers, and Pete Brodsky, a policeman who is accidentally swept up into the chaos. The Exotic Enchanter continues the new format of the series introduced in de Camp and Stasheff's previous volume, The Enchanter Reborn (1992), in which it was opened up into a shared world to which other authors were invited to contribute. In addition to stories by de Camp and Stasheff, who collectively oversaw the project, this volume includes contributions by Roland J. Green and Frieda A. Murray (in collaboration) and Tom Wham. Green and Murray may have worked from an outline provided by the editors as in the previous volume, though this is not stated. Wham's contribution is a distillation into concrete story form of his earlier authorized Harold Shea gamebook, Prospero's Isle, originally published by Tor Books in October 1987.The action in the first two stories concludes the quest by Shea and Chalmers to rescue Florimel that began in the previous volume, where she was kidnapped by the malevolent enchanter Malambroso. Their mission takes them into the worlds of the old Russian Tale of Igor's Campaign in "Enchanter Kiev," and that of Bhavabhuti's Baital Pachisi (or "Vikram and the Vampire"), a proto-Arabian Nights collection of Indian tales, in "Sir Harold and the Hindu King." After Florimel is finally recovered Shea and Belphebe must undertake a similar mission to Edgar Rice Burroughs's fictional version of Mars in "Sir Harold of Zodanga," this time to recover their daughter Voglinda, likewise seized by the unrepentant Malambroso. "Harold Shakespeare," the final tale, sends Shea and Belephebe on an unrelated adventure precipitated by the foolishness of Shea's colleague Polacek, into William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

The Paladin

The Paladin is a 1988 fantasy novel by science fiction and fantasy author C. J. Cherryh. It was published by Baen Books and was nominated for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 1989. The book features no actual magic or supernatural occurrences, and is considered an example of the low fantasy subgenre of fantasy fiction. It takes place in a fictional country modeled upon China of the Tang Dynasty.

The Scapegoat (Cherryh novel)

"The Scapegoat" is a science fiction novella by American writer C. J. Cherryh, set in her Alliance-Union universe. It deals with a war in which the two opposing species do not understand each other and do not know how to stop the fighting. The work was originally published in the 1985 anthology of military science fiction Alien Stars and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novella.

The Shiva Option

The Shiva Option, published by Baen Books, is the sequel to David Weber and Steve White's military science fiction novel In Death Ground.

Toni Weisskopf

Toni Weisskopf (born December 12, 1965) is an American science fiction editor and the publisher of Baen Books.

Weisskopf is an alumna of Oberlin College, from which she graduated in 1987. She was immediately employed by Baen Books, where she served as executive editor until the death of founder Jim Baen in 2006, at which point she took over as publisher.She has edited a number of their anthologies under the name T.K.F. Weisskopf, and won the Phoenix Award in 1994 for excellence in science fiction, the Rebel Award in 2000 for lifetime achievement in Southern Science Fiction Fandom, and in 1994 she was also awarded the tongue-in-cheek Rubble Award, given out annually to a fan or pro who has "done something humorously ignominious". In 2015, Weisskopf was nominated for a Hugo Award. She was awarded the Neffy Award as Best Editor in the same year.

Weisskopf was the editor guest of honor for the 2010 North American Science Fiction Convention, ReConStruction.

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