April 19th, 2009 | brainjuice
Head-emptying time, somewhat random and unformed as yet, beware:
"Bookazine" is a word I’ve been seeing more and more over the last couple of years. Dennis Publishing, who have been making them since 2004, say:
Essentially a Bookazine is a perfect-bound, magazine-sized soft back book focusing on a particular subject matter. These bookazines are sold on the magazine racks and are priced between £5.99 and £9.99 with production values to reflect this price.
Mortons Media Group, who claim to have created the term, say:
’Bookazine’ (A hybrid of a Book and a Magazine) is a term we have created to describe a glossy, A4 perfect bound (stitched paged) one-off product. Bookazines generally are between 116 and 132 pages, and are all printed on very high quality thick paper, with a glossy cover. Bookazines are specialist titles covering an area or genre, which also contain a small percentage of advertising to make the product more affordable
One-off items, then. But wait. LOFT is a magazine in bookazine format. They’re up to eight volumes.
‘BOOKAZINE’ because we want to create something worth keeping. A symbiosis
between a magazine and a book that goes against the dominant trend of consuming
and throwing away tons and tons of printed matter that we could have easily done
without from the beginning.
The COILHOUSE coven never deviated from the term "magazine" for a moment. I’ve not yet seen a copy of LOFT, but their statement seems right in line with COILHOUSE’s intent — it’s an object of permanence, not transience, and it’s a great big paving slab of a bugger.
When alt.country bible NO DEPRESSION died as a magazine (due, according to reports, to declining ad revenue), the University Of Texas Press stepped in to help reanimate it as a twice-yearly self-described bookazine. (FOLIO on this and other magazines dying of ad starvation)
This led to an illuminating comment by Robert Christgau:
…a long time ago I decided for journalism and against academia in my own career because I believed journalism with its profit motives was more conducive to adventurous thinking and good writing. I’ve done a fair amount of college teaching, in music history as well as writing, and am still willing to generalize that I get more intellectual stimulation from my journalistic friends than from the people I meet in academia–though if I spend all my time in academia I’d presumably get to be more selective. Now journalism as I engaged it turns to the public tit. Something’s off there.
While it might also be suggested that the ad-revenue model is just as big a tit, and more likely to give you some disgusting mouth disease — and while I live in a country where the government essentially paid NEW WORLDS to publish JG Ballard and Thomas Pynchon, so, you know, fuck you — I think maybe there’s another point hiding in there.
One is that the profit motive is not necessarily the same as stickering hooker cards all over your object. I don’t need an internet mediated by Google Ads framing bloody everything. Yes, if you’re doing a mass-market magazine, particularly in this economy, ad sales are probably crucial to maintaining a very large staff. Hell, if you’re going for half the culture like COILHOUSE I’m not going to look askance at a handful of full-page ads that fit the theme. But if you’re doing something like NO DEPRESSION, essentially a niche publication written by and for enthusiasts…
In my head, this sort of wheels around to PrintOnDemand and the unbook. I’m okay with paying ten quid for a biannual or quarterly journal that looks like a book. Given that people who are passionate about things are going to write about them anyway, I see no reason why niche journals run out of people’s front rooms shouldn’t say fuckit and go to POD, relieving themselves of the distribution headache and leaving them to focus on 1) the content and 2) creating awareness. Call it the pro-am solution — sometimes, professional writers just want to write.
(This would also seem to be one obvious end for the sf magazine: ref. Elizabeth Bear equating short sf with the club scene, Electronic Battle Weapon POD. EDITED TO ADD: I’ve just remembered that a fairly well-known speculative fiction magazine IS going to bookazine this year, though I don’t think it’s public knowledge yet)
(Perhaps interestingly, however, NO DEPRESSION can’t generate any kind of revenue from their website and have had to delete its editorial budget.)