April 1st, 2005


Company Loyalty

I was reading this rant on Tomato Nation, (which I'll highly reccomend to you, by the way. Funny, funny stuff, even if I disagree with her on a few points,) and it got me thinking again about my single instance of company loyalty. (Well, unless you count Treehouse, but we're not exactly a company...)

I don't normally pay any attention to name brands. Oh, there are a few things that I prefer a certain brand on, (Pasta Roni definitely beats out any other package pasta and mix out there!) and a few brands that I will avoid, (Western Family canned beets, ugh,) but as far as loyalty to any company name, brand name, or whatever, I just don't care. Most of the time one company is the same as any other. Big or small, local or with most of their emplyees in China, I don't care. I just buy whatever products I like without worrying about who made them.

That said, there is one company that has managed to earn my complete and utter loyaly. The company in question? Baen Books. It used to be that when I was book shopping I didn't even bother to look at the little publisher's logo on the spines. After all, every publisher that even carries sci-fi or fantasy has at least a couple of authors I enjoy, so there was no point in even noticing. Now though, I like to scan the shelves for stuff by Baen. I'll still get books from other publishers, of course. If I didn't, I'd have to quit reading David Eddings, Alan Dean Foster, Dean Koontz, and various other favorite authors. In fact, going by authors, Baen only carries two of my top ten, David Weber and Mercedes Lackey, and they don't even publish all of Lackey's stuff. (Nobody could, she writes too much, which is a good thing.) But if, for some unknown reason, I had to pick just one publisher to read from now on, never to touch a book by another publisher again, I woudln't even have to think about it. I'd pick Baen.

Why? Because the people at Baen seem to be human beings. Because the people at Baen appear to actually think before they do things. And most of all, because of this. Specifically, the little essay by Eric Flint found under the "home" link there. Go, click, take a look at it.

This is the philosophy towards e-books and piracy that Baen acts on. That's right. They responded to the upswing in piracy by giving away free books! I own five CDs of Baen e-books. Every single one of them is 100% legal for me to own, even though they were copied from the original CDs owned by friends, because on the CDs Baen has said that they allow, even encourage people to make copies for friends. And guess what? It works! I have actually gone and bought new books because Baen got me hooked on a series with their free givaways. And if you know me, I almost never buy new books. I get my books for $0.25 at the DI, usually, or impulse buy them for $2 when I make the mistke of going into the local used book store. But I have gone out and bought shiny new books because the folks at Baen are smart enough to encourage people to read their books, by whatever means. And you know what else? I'm going to do this again! As soon as budget permits, there is a long list of books I want to get my hands on, and all but one or two are Baen books, either sequals to books I've enjoyed, or books I just liked so much I want them in hardcopy.

And on the rare occasions when I wander through a real bookstore, looking for something good, I always scan for the Baen logo, because I feel better about buying a Baen book than any other, knowing I'm giving money to people who have more humanity and common sense than anyone should ever expect from a big corporation. And evidence is that I'm not the only one who's gone and bought more Baen books recently, because since I started looking for the logo, it's started turning up more. Yep, Baen appears to be growing fast. And as long as their free library keeps growing along with them, I'll be happy. (And so far it has. Between the last time I popped by a few months back and now they've added quite a few books, yay!)

So there you are. Ony company in all the world has managed to earn my complete loyaly. Go, read some stuff. I highly reccomend David Weber, Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, Rick Cook, and John Ringo. Good stuff there. You'll probably end up deciding to buy a few yourself, I'm betting.

P.S. Yes, I linked to Baen every time I mentioned the name. I know. That's because you all must go to Baen Books and read stuff! And buy stuff! Go, I command you!