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Monday, November 17, 2008

Pulp Fiction in trouble

I was reading this article about the state of Pulp Fiction magazine sales, and it does not look good. They've been bleeding subscribers heavily, despite being profitable because they have very low costs. My conversation with the publisher of F&SF, however, indicates that they don't understand electronic media, and are being dragged kicking and screaming there. F&SF, for instance doesn't publish on the Amazon Kindle. Worse than that, both F&SF and Asimov's Science Fiction both charger higher for their subscription prices to the electronic magazine than they do for the print version! Electronic publishing and distribution is even cheaper than the pulp magazines. Charge $1 an issue on the Kindle, and you'll get a large number of subscribers. Fictionwise sells the DRM-free e-magazines for the outrageous price of $4-6 an issue.

I was an Asimov's print subscriber. Obviously, the subscription didn't move with me to Germany. The electronic version has the potential to move all the way to Germany (or all over the world for me), and it annoys the heck out of me that these guys don't understand the potential of electronic subscriptions and devices such as the Kindle. I suppose they'll keep ignoring it as their subscribers age and their magazines fail, since that's the way of the business.

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