Warren Ellis runs the numbers on the dismal state of science fiction magazines -- Asimov's circ is down 13 percent; Interzone is running 2,000-3,000 copies per issue; Analog (which should really change its name back to Astounding) is selling through at 32 percent. This is pretty depressing news.
I think the biggest impediment to the magazines' sales is that there's no easy way for people who love the stories in them to bring them to the attention of other, potential customers. By the time you've read the current issue and found a story you want everyone else to read, the issue isn't on the stands anymore and the best you can do is to try to get your pals to shell out to pay for an ebook edition.
Contrast this with the online mags, whose stories stay online for months -- sometimes forever. If you love a story in Strange Horizons, you can paste a quote from it into your Livejournal, use the first line as your sig, email the URL to your brother, print the first page and tape it up in the toilet at work.
Is it any wonder that the online mags dominate the awards?
If I were running the mags, I'd pick a bunch of sfnal bloggers and offer them advance looks at the mag, get them to vote on a favorite story to blog and put it online the week before the issue hits the stands. I'd podcast a second story, and run excerpts from the remaining stories in podcast. I'd get Evo Terra to interview the author of a third story for The Dragon Page. I'd make every issue of every magazine into an event that thousands of people talked about, sending them to the bookstores to demand copies -- and I'd offer commissions, bonuses, and recognition to bloggers who sold super-cheap-ass subscriptions to the print editions.
Sure it's lot of work, and a huge shift in the way the mags do business. But hell, how many more years' worth of 13 percent declines can the magazines hack?
Someone recently said to me, “Well, what could you do to save them?” And I said, well, no-one’s asking, but there’s probably about twelve things that could be done. And they said, “Well, maybe, but what I really meant was – why try? Why not just bury them and start anew?”
And then someone else asked me why there’s still an sf magazine called “Analog.”
Photographer Chris White takes readers behind the scenes of making his surf photography book Dark Light.
Eric Schlosser’s book and film Command and Control look at the terrifying prospects of nuclear friendly fire, where one of America’s nukes detonates on US soil. It also looks at what might happen if a false alarm gets relayed to a trigger-happy general or President. He starts this New Yorker piece with a terrifying story […]
Published by the fine fringe culture explorers at Daily Grail, the new essay anthology Spirits of Place features stories by the likes of Alan Moore, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, Iain Sinclair, Mark Pesce, and many other mutant thinkers riffing on how we connect with the locations we inhabit. You can […]
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]