Thursday, July 12, 2007

The demise of print?

There is something sensuous about reading a magazine. The act of licking a thumb to assist in turning the page, the sound of the page turning, the smell of the ink, the feel of the paper. For most readers, sitting down to read includes some form of ritual - a cup of tea or coffee, maybe a pipe, a comfy chair with good lighting nearby. Reading is cerebral, but it's physical, too. For now.

Many magazines are folding - closing up shop. In just the last few months, Jane and Child magazines have stopped print production. Publishers have discovered it's cheaper to put their magazine(s) online. No surprise there, as newspapers today are likely to have a print and online edition. Print readership is down for most magazines.

Online magazines have more room for information - terrific news for writers - more space equals more chance of being published. Web sites usually offer an interactive format, meaning that writers gain much more immediate feedback via the readers' comments. But, wait, there's more! Submissions by email offer a much quicker turn around, even if it means rejections come that much quicker. Writing web content is a slightly different animal (think horse to zebra). Web writing tends to be punchier and a little less formal. Get familiar with creating links - what's a website without clickable words? And timing, more than ever, will be everything.

With the plethora of E-readers, e-books and e-zines available today, writers will never be out of work. The words they toil over will be read in new and different formats, because people will always hunger for information. Human beings are innately inquisitive - a lust "to know".

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