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The Lost Art of Reading From Paper

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The premier heroic fantasy magazine in print, Black Gate - Adventures in Fantasy - has stopped printing paper magazines. Less specific has been Aurealis who have also apparently made the move.

By crom I am glad Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine still exists in print and they have not taken up the truly messed up mail cost policy their aforementioned Australian publication has enforced - thus excluding foreign buyers on a cost basis.

The why - easy - money! Sprout forth as much as you want about saving the rain forests. Paper is not made from rare species of de forested amazon basin trees. What it is made of are pines and bluegums etc whose growing lands may at one time have come from cleared natural growth. (So invent a working time machine and go protest - I will of course want a go free and gratis.)

More important now is likely the chemicals and water used in paper making that contribute to pollution and water waste.

So paper is not as clean as it was when egyptians pressed it out of papyrus (which barely exists on the nile these days).

And worse! It costs huge money (and exhaust gas pollution) to post paper magazine around the world as we all want everything yesterday so a sailing ship would not do.

So a paper magazine is a no no apparently. A dinosaur of a long dead great age of pulp.

So we are stuck on money more or less.

Or are we?

You are probably reading this on an electronic device. That device does not power itself. As green as you think you are the electricity you are using uses some sort of force to be produced. From coal powered stations to hydro electric, it all comes with a cost. Don't be fooled with hydro, there is a cost of changed river flows. The pollution cost of building the dam and its infrastructure.

So what's the problem? Both "channels" have an environmental cost but electronic is cheaper?

This is not a thesis on power, more a wake up call for people who think something electronic is better. Price wise for sure, but be honest and stop there. Don't try and be all "for the environment etc" just admit you are a cheap geezer whose hand muscles have atrophied through excessive hand held device usage and cannot grasp a paper periodical anymore.

And the verdict?

Your call I suppose. I am just annoyed that I can't get a paper Black Gate. On the other hand I have many a back issue of Andromeda to catch up with.

Why did I write this?

Simply the alarming demise of paper and me being an old school ludite get me wondering in ideas of some sort of solution, that will solve the cost to carry and hold large volumes while still keep the august paper form in print. Boxes of printer periodicals in a store room are worthless until they realize their value and are sold for cash.

Similarly the publishers cash flow is restricted while the magazines wait for a chance buyer to order a back issue. Not so much a problem if its a hobby sideline but if its your bread and butter it can become a nightmare. I doubt many banks will accept an issue of your august publication in liey of a home loan payment.

A special mention here must be Something Wicked who locally succumbed to apathy. Maybe that's the real problem...

What next. Well I propose to write, and hopefully elecit comment from people experienced in the field, about the pitfalls and possible alternative solutions to this problem. (Of it becoming near impossible to produce a long liver paper short story magazine). Watch this space.

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