Dispatches | October 16, 2006

What’s the future of printed literary magazines? With more magazines migrating from print to online — the Loft’s magazine Speakeasy being the latest — is it only a matter of time for our literary world to be all-digital all-the-time?

Well, someday. Perhaps. But in the near term, publishers continue to place their bets, and sizable budgets, on the side of the printing press. This year, through August 2006, according to Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni, of the University of Mississippi, there have been 541 new titles introduced. (This includes one-time special interest publications.) That’s down a bit from the previous year-to-date total of 639. Still, an impressive vote for print publications.

Personally, I hope print stays around for a long, long time. I’m all for the Internet as a place for posting supplemental text and multimedia content, as a marketing tool, and as an alternative delivery system, but glowing LCDs don’t compare to the tactile and emotional satisfaction of holding the printed page. And is there some sort of statement being made by the publisher — something about the content being important enough to warrant all the expense of printing and distribution? I’m curious to know what you, our readers, think. Would you miss a print version of The Missouri Review? Is prestige associated with a print journal? Would you pay for online content? What relationship do you see between print literary journals and their websites?

Richard Sowienski

Managing Editor