Interview Toni Weisskopf, publisher of Baen Books

Teleread has a very good interview with Toni Weisskopf, the publisher of Baen Books.  Now, as those of you who have followed my ramblings for a while know, I’m a fan of Baen and their policies on e-books.   Go read the whole article, but here are some of the “money quotes.”

TW: Well, part of the “secret” there is that we don’t pay for expensive DRM (“digital rights management”) schemes. I’ve never understood why we should add to our costs with the sole outcome that it’s harder for readers to buy and read the books we want to sell. On the contrary, I want to make it as easy as possible for my readers to find, purchase and read my books. That goal influences every publishing decision I make from our marketing to what typefaces we use.

Specifically, I think ebooks will extend the market for books, not reduce it. But then what I am selling is good stories; I don’t care what medium I sell those stories in. If my readers tell me they want it chipped on stone, I will find some way to do that. If they want me to beam the story directly to a chip in the brain, I will do that.

In a nutshell, the problem of the midlist author or publisher is not piracy, but lack of exposure.

The other side of the coin is that Jim Baen didn’t believe our readers are thieves and neither do I. I believe they will buy the book when they have the money. And I don’t believe our readers are ignorant. The understand TANSTAAFL. Our readers understand that we can’t continue to find great books and the authors continue to write them if we don’t get paid. So we don’t treat our readers badly by trying to micromanage the use of the ebooks, and we have been amply rewarded for that trust.

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