Behind the Scenes at Asimov’s on the Sofanauts

People interested in the ongoing discussion about the future of short fiction may be interested in the most recent episode of The SofanautsThe Sofanauts is usually a show about current events in the SF field, but this week’s episode is a special with writers Jeff Vandermeer and Jeremy Tolbert and Asimov’s editors Sheila Williams and Brian Bieniowski, discussing the state of Asimov’s in particular and the print markets for short SF in general. Among the interesting things on the program is an explanation for why the seemingly precipitous decline in subscriber numbers over the last couple of decades, commented on by Warren Ellis and others, is a misleading artifact of a changed marketing model.  (I’d actually like even more detail on what the old model was and how it contributed to inflated numbers.)  Also, Sheila informs that subscriber numbers have risen 10% in the last year, lead by electronic subscriptions through the Kindle. Jeff and Jeremy take Brian and Sheila to task for the state of Asimov’s internet presence, and Sheila reveals some behind-the-scenes information about the contraints that come with being part of a larger organization.  A very interesting 90 minutes for people following the “are the magazines doomed or aren’t they?” debate.

2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes at Asimov’s on the Sofanauts

  1. Regarding the numbers “inflation” of the 80′s–my impression is that advertising dollars were much stronger at that point; so it was worth “selling” subscriptions for nothing or next-to-nothing through places like publisher’s clearinghouse for the raise in subscription numbers that then correlated to a significant raise in advertising dollars.

    At some point, the amount lost on the fire-sale subscriptions no longer equalled the amount gained from advertisers, and they let that trick go…

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