Well, that’s different. We’ve been working on the new design for several months and I’m very happy with how it looks and reads, although I would expect some small tweaks and twiddles over the next few months. Much, much kudos to Avram Grumer for his inspired work on this. Let us know what you think.
David and I had first discussed revamping the magazine in a larger typeface, oh gosh at least a decade ago, but the increase in printing and especially postage costs made it financially impractical to the point of impossibility. Now we have no postage costs, so we can pass the eyeball-savings on to you! Our print-on-demand copies will see no price increase in cost—going from 48 pages to 64 adds about 25 cents to our raw cost, and the POD copies are less of a revenue center and more of a favor for those who really like saddle-bound magazines.
I’m also happy to announce that we are on stable enough financial footing that we can resume paying our contributors in actual cash money! From the founding of the magazine, we have felt it our duty to repay our contributors for the honor they do us by contributing, but the combination of the decline of paper magazines and the miserable economic conditions (that continue, almost unnoted, today) brought our subscriber base, and our revenues, down to the point where we could only offer payment in copies. But the aforementioned savings on paper and postage has returned us to true semiprozinedom.
(One of the underreported effects of economic downturns is the permanent damage they do. Magazines lose subscribers; stores lose customers; nonprofits lose backers; endowments lose value. When their steady but not rock-solid support is exhausted, institutions if they’re lucky contract and otherwise disappear.)
On a cheerier note, hey—we’re paying again, and we can always use more articles. Essays, reviews, random thoughts, musings, personal essays of your relationship with the materials or culture of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the just plain quirky—we offer a fine audience deeply engaged with the field.
And speaking of the audience: the response to our birthday giveaway last month was enormously gratifying. You-all have downloaded the issue more than 8000 times. Let me just say that again, because I’m gobsmacked: 8000 times. The well-wishing we’ve received has been a comfort in the cold Autumn nights.
Thank you, all of you. And thus begins the second quarter-century!
—Kevin J. Maroney
and the editors