The Future of Magazines

To start with a statement. Modern society is perpetuating an insatiable drive for innovation and new features in the digital world. This demand shows no signs of slowing down, but is change always the best course of action? In the magazine market, let us indulge ourselves for a moment in musing about what may come in the next ten years — more video content, better audio capabilities, personalised integrated ads, compatibility with new technology such as VR, etc. It is easy to become excited by these ideas, just for the sheer novelty factor, but in reality, the discussion would benefit from everyone taking a step back and viewing the history of the magazine afresh.

Think of a magazine, any magazine, print or digital; what is the first thing that comes to mind? The front cover, right? Think Vogue. That iconic choice of font, the recurring layout, the photography. The cover is the entryway to your favourite periodical. Once you’re beyond the cover, then you’re reading the content, which is the flesh and blood of any magazine. Without good content a magazine won’t sell subscriptions, that’s a fact. Magazines can import as many gimmicks and new features as they like, but without consistent, high-quality content they will not survive. The point is that there exists a core set of principles which define and constitute a magazine. These principles are timeless and should not, and likely will not be forsaken for new gadgets. For example, we have long had the capability to import videos into digital magazines, but it remains an uncommon practice. Why?

article imageWell, to put it simply, they’re not needed. That is not to say that digital is the enemy. There have been many amazing features added to magazines in recent decades that have only been possible because of the development of new technology. New audio capabilities and text-reading technology have been used to develop tools that assist disabled persons in accessing magazines. This text-reading software also means that archives can be searched by keyword, which in turn allows the indexing of the content, increasing discoverability and usability in one fell swoop. Citing and sharing articles via social media has never been easier, creating a self-sustaining marketing to attract new subscribers. You will have noticed by now that none of those features alter the content of the magazine in any way, they solely facilitate the reading and distribution of the magazine.

Commercially, perhaps the two most important changes have been the digitisation of archived issues and the development of dedicated apps for magazines. Most periodicals now have their own apps and/or digital version. This portability has opened up a brand new market for magazines, as well as allowing longtime subscribers the freedom to read their favourite magazine wherever they are. Working in tandem with this is the increasing desire for old, archived issues which have been gathering dust for years in libraries and private collections. Scanning technology has meant that magazine owners have been able to bring the past into the present. This has hugely increased the value of magazines as academic resources and as unique windows for our cultural history.

To conclude, there is clearly a digital presence for magazines. Yet there are still print loyalists who have not embraced the demand for online resources. Signs indicate that publishers who build their digital archives and make them available to current readers and subscribers are making their magazines into digital survivors. Many magazines will be lost because they have not invested time and money into making the digital archive work now. It is a matter of foresight, publishers should always keep one eye on the future. A reactionary policy is a dangerous game, and even with a reactionary policy, publishers must realise that we are now living in a digital world. By crystallising their archives publishers would be guaranteeing their content is available for future generations, and as previously said, preservation of good content is the paramount aim of digital publishing.

Subscribe to the Digital Edition of Stand Magazine!

Stand Magazine, a quarterly publication which features the best in new writing, is now available to buy in the Exact Editions shop.

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First published in London, Stand moved to Leeds in 1957 after Editor Jon Silkin had been Gregory Fellow in Poetry there. Since then, Stand has played a major role in bringing the work of Russian and East European writers in translation to an English-speaking audience. Recently, Stand has promoted contemporary Chinese poets, and will soon publish poetry and prose fiction from Indonesia and Singapore.

Stand has always promoted work by new and established poets, short-story writers and critics, and continues to do so. The magazine has published work by writers who have gone on to become established figures – Ken Smith, Tony Harrison, Michael Hamburger, Geoffrey Hill, and Douglas Dunn. Twice winner of the Booker Prize, Peter Carey, first appeared in the UK in Stand. Some of Terry Eagleton’s most acute reviews appeared in many issues of Stand.

To purchase a digital subscription of Stand Magazine click here.

If you would like to purchase a subscription for your institution, please head to the institutional shop page.

The Importance of Modern Archives

What is the ideal scenario for a librarian when it comes to purchasing an online serial? I think it usually comes down to three major factors; Is the access IP authenticated? Is the access unlimited? Does the subscription include access to the complete archive?

With Exact Editions, librarians can rest assured that we will always meet the first two requirements. However, as much as we always strive to meet the third, occasionally there are barriers which restrict our ability to offer the complete archive. The reasoning varies from case to case, sometimes it is financial, sometimes it is licensing, and sometimes it is exclusivity. Whatever the cause, all is not lost.

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The Modern Archive of TLS includes every issue as it is released

In those cases where we are unable to acquire the complete archive, we still aim to provide what we are now calling the ‘Modern Archive’. This remains a very rich and attractive proposition for libraries, namely because of the fact the archives on the platform are always rolling, and therefore expanding. The best recent example of this is The Times Literary Supplement, which joined the platform only last week. We are in the fortunate position of being the sole institutional provider of the archives from 2012 — Present. As expected we immediately received a storm of interest from universities around the world; the modern archive of TLS is a much-desired resource (especially with the promise of a new issue every week) and will supplement current library holdings.

Library holdings bring me to the next point, the problem of ‘fixed’ archives. This happens when online providers will only secure a deal for certain years of an archive, e.g. 1980–2015. Now this will obviously be a powerful resource with 35 years of content, however, students will be missing out on recent and future issues, which are often very important as they are culturally current. Exact Editions has always leaned away from these ‘landlocked’ archives, instead opting to always offer institutions an archive which is going to grow and bring the latest content.

“Can I check: does it mirror exactly the latest printed content of the TLS, so that guaranteed access to the current issue is provided?” — Interested librarian

This question we received from a potential institutional subscriber illustrates my point exactly. Librarians are always keen to secure content which is at the forefront of its field. When archives are growing organically they are pushing the user and their research with them into the future — not just providing retrospective glimpses of what once was there.

Any comments or suggestions? Please feel free to get in touch via info@exacteditions.com

TLS Launches Modern Digital Archive

 

The Times Literary Supplement has launched its digital modern archive, dating back to 2012, and comprising over 300 issues.

Originally published as a supplement to The Times, in 1902, The Times Literary Supplement (or TLS) became a publication in its own right in 1914, and since then has evolved to become the world’s leading literary journal, featuring reviews and features from a whole host of distinguished writers, poets and scholars. Not only does the publication offer comprehensive coverage of important new releases, it also serves as a unique recording of literary culture across the generations.

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The Times Literary Supplement is published weekly, which means that subscribers to the digital edition not only have access to a wealth of archival content, but will continue to receive issues once a week, which they can read on their phone, tablet or desktop device. The Exact Editions platform features an impressive and advanced search tool, so users can dig out and peruse articles by their favourite writers and contributors. Other features, such as sharing and citation tools, are useful for academic students, who want to reference the TLS in their essays.

The Times Literary Supplement is filled with content by authors and scholars alike, featuring names such as Italo Calvino, Gore Vidal and Seamus Heaney. The publication also provides an immense selection of detailed book reviews, to guide readers through a sometimes murky literary landscape. It is a publication that will continue to attract readers, of all generations, and to appeal to literary minds.

To buy a digital subscription to The Times Literary Supplement, which includes access to the modern archive, please visit our shop page.

If you are an institution, and would like to trial a subscription, please click here.

 

 

Jewish Quarterly Re-Launches with Complete Digital Archive

Jewish Quarterly has re-launched its digital edition, along with the complete archive, dating all the way back to 1953.

The digital archive includes more than 200 issues, accessible across web, iOS and Android platforms.

For 65 years, Jewish Quarterly has been renowned for its fine writing, quick wit and rigorous thinking. It is a journal of essays, reviews and opinion pieces, which provides a vibrant Jewish perspective on contemporary ideas and culture, as well as perpetuating the best of the Jewish intellectual tradition.
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Jewish Quarterly continues to be the proudly independent voice of British Jewry. Users can now access over 60 years of articles, which embrace the richness of Jewish life, culture, and controversy.

Subscribe to the digital edition of Jewish Quarterly, which includes free access to the digital archive, today!