Clay Shirky on the very near future of magazines

The pertinence of this to the genre fiction scene is inescapable… from an interview with Clay Shirky at The Guardian:

If you pick a magazine at random, it will not interest you. For people who care about quality, it’s easier to find it online. If it’s a highly qualified niche magazine, something aimed at surgeons or firefighters, it’s going online. There’s no reason those things should exist.

My bold. Your comments?

One thought on “Clay Shirky on the very near future of magazines”

  1. This may be true of North America, but in Japan I wandered through newsstands and bookstores rife with niche magazines. It felt much like a living internet: DIY and cat/dog/chinchilla fanciers’ publications were everywhere. It might be that the market is shallow (a broad array of publications with tiny circulations), but my guess is that cities with massive public transportation networks still support impulse purchasing of paper texts intended for commuter readership. It may be fashionable to blame “new media” for the death of “old media,” but I think the advent of private transport has something to do with it as well — you can’t drive a car and read a book, but trains and buses support daily literacy. Obviously I don’t have the numbers to back this theory up, so I may be wrong, but I’d like to see a comparison between sales of periodicals and the upswing in three-car households.

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