Realms of Fantasy Preparing to Leave the Realm of Paper…again?

Realms of Fantasy magazine is (again) in danger of going under, according to a recent editorial by Douglas Cohen. The nitty gritty:

As some of you are aware either because you received the notice or because you read about it in various corners of the web, a subscription notice recently went out for RoF. In it, our publisher wrote that he wanted to make our subscriber base aware that, as things currently stand, subscription renewals have been insufficient to support the magazine.

The key phrase here is, “as things currently stand.” Like, if RoF pretends it’s still 10+ years ago and e-books are still a joke. Short stories and novellas are, as several readers have pointed out, perfectly suited for digital distribution. This is a great opportunity for plucky magazine publishers to jump on a market that’s growing in a time of shrinking newsstands, dwindling shelf-space. Print media is expensive, and the format is, in many ways, constricting, especially on a budget—and not only for publishers, but for readers, too. Many of us no longer have the space we used to in which to store our treasured volumes. We’ve had to cut the fat, selling or giving away what won’t fit. It would be a shame if we slowed or stopped our book spending simply because we have to choose between a year’s subscription to RoF and alarm clock space on our nightstands.

To that end, RoF, making readers aware of your situation and trying to boost subscriptions is a good first step, but don’t stop there. Get those issues accessible on the newsstands and on the Kindle, the nook, the iPad, etc. And for Spock’s sake, start reviewing e-books (relax, you don’t have to review mine). It wouldn’t kill you.

Pioneer the digital frontier.

(Hmf. It seems I’m closing my blogs with song lyrics now. New low.)