Paper or laptop?
by Features Editor Shelah Miner
My husband has been spending an awful lot of time lately looking at the newest version of the Kindle at Amazon.com. A few weeks ago, he made me sit through the entire promotional video. There are things I love about the Kindle– I love that it’s so light (when I go on vacation, the books I take along add substantially to the weight of my luggage. I can manage with two pairs of shoes for a week, but not two books), that users can either read or listen to the books they purchase, and that it’s virtually immediate. When I want a book I wouldn’t have to hunt it down in bookstores or wait for a week for it to arrive from an online source. But I know I’d miss the tactile quality of the book and the statement that all of my favorite books make in the bookshelves of my home.
I know that some independent Mormon journals (like Mormon Artist and Exponent II) have gone the way of the Kindle– they’re exclusively online publications. At the other end of the spectrum are the journals that have print-access only (like Irreantum). Still others (Sunstone and Dialogue) offer selected articles online at no charge (Dialogue also has an online subscription, for an additional fee), and others (Segullah) have both a print journal and a complete free online edition.
I’m curious about how each publication ended up with its particular print and online presence, and whether the editorial staff of the journals feel comfortable with the access their readers have or don’t have. I know that I personally like to read the article for the first time in a print journal, but it’s much easier for me to access it again if it’s online, since I tend not to keep back issues. Has online publication of your journal helped or hurt your subscribership?