It's Hugo Award voting season again, and WorldCon (with the permission of the nominees and their publishers) has again provided a Hugo Voter Packet (available only to WorldCon members) containing electronic copies of almost all of the nominated works, including all of the novels.
Some people have complained in the past about the fact that only people with WorldCon memberships can vote for the Hugos, and WorldCon memberships cost money. But the cost of a WorldCon supporting membership is less than the cost of the books that you get for free in the Voter Packet.
At the moment, you can buy a supporting membership for US$50. Buying the five nominated novels from Amazon in paperback editions costs around US$47. Buying them in Kindle editions costs around US$34 (including the Webscriptions price for Cryoburn, which isn't available for Kindle).
Then, too, the Voter Packet includes electronic versions of excerpts or the entirety of the five Related Work nominees. The two complete books there would cost a total of US$45 in print editions (and they aren't available in ebook editions).
And it includes electronic versions of the five Graphic Story nominees. And electronic versions of works by various writers nominated. And electronic versions of the short fiction (though almost all of that has been made freely available online to everyone, not only members, so I'm not counting that as part of the financial benefit of membership). And so on.
So you could think of it as buying a supporting membership for $50 and getting a minimum of $79 worth of books for free; or you could think of it as buying a bunch of books at a discount, and getting a WorldCon supporting membership for free.
Or you could think of it as paying $50 to get both (a) a bunch of good books, and (b) a chance to help determine which works and people win this year's Hugo.
Regardless of how you think of it, if you want to buy even half of those books, and you also want to vote in the Hugos, and you don't dislike ebooks, then it's a great deal.
So what are you waiting for?
Oh, and if you often find yourself objecting to Hugo voting results? This is a great way to help make the Hugo results turn out the way you want them to. There's no secret cabal; the Hugo Awards are determined by the votes of the WorldCon members. You can participate, and get a bunch of books too.
Also, if you become a supporting member this year, you get to submit nominations for next year's Hugos. Which in some ways is even cooler than voting; if you vote, you only get to help determine the winner from the final five in each category, whereas if you nominate, you get to help determine what appears on the ballot.
(You can also, of course, pay more to buy an attending membership and actually attend WorldCon. I personally do this whenever I can, and recommend it; but I think the pool of people who might like to read these books and vote in the Hugos is potentially a whole lot bigger than the pool of people who are up for actually attending WorldCon. And the supporting membership is made for people in the former category.)
Note: I have nothing at stake here; I do not directly benefit from getting people to vote in this year's Hugos. Various people I know and people we've published appear on the ballot, or have works appearing on the ballot, but Strange Horizons itself isn't on the ballot, nor are any of our editors, nor is anything we've published. The reason that I'm encouraging people to get memberships and vote is that I believe that greater participation produces more representative results; I dislike the fact that each year, it's a relatively small number of people who determine who wins the Hugos.
(Additional note: Arguably, if more people buy supporting memberships and nominate for next year's Hugos, I do have something at stake, because some of those people might nominate works I'm directly connected to. But I feel that that's an indirect enough benefit to me that this post is essentially free of the taint of self-promotion.)