Thursday, April 01, 2004

In a certain sense, however, Baen's substandard binding is a dead issue. The reason for that is that company's Webscriptions model. Almost all of their new printings, for the last two years or more, have been simultaneously offered as virtual books, via a half-dozen different formats. Over the last few years, I have gotten used to reading large amounts of text on monitor-screens, and it doesn't bother me as much as it does some folks, used to the superior high-res experience of physical text. Text is text is text, in my opinion. If I'm stuck at my desk not doing much of anything, might as well be reading, you know? The one down-side to Baen's webscriptions is that I don't have a good way to make them portable. But I've lots of material I can carry around with me, to the Laundromat, to restaurants, on a long walk where-ever. I can deal with some reading material that isn't totable. And Baen's usual output is particularly suitable to the desultory reading-style that webscription lends itself to. As I said, most of their authors produce cheap and disposable pulp - space opera, low-wattage fantasy, cheap space adventures. They aren't books that you savor or relish - these are romps, for the most part, and not something you'd want to try deep-reading.

The webscriptions are damn cheap, too. I just bought Flint's latest West-Virginians-in-the-Thirty-Years-War book via the webscription model, and it's definitely worth the six bucks or so it cost. I didn't have to pay for shipping and handling, or go driving across the valley to the Barnes and Noble, or put myself out in any particular. Cheap and easy, with no poorly-bound trash-book to clutter up my tiny apartment. Not bad, not bad at all.

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