Keeping the literary magazine alive

As libraries drop literary magazines from their collections and fewer readers are willing to plunk down more than $8 for volumes too often filled with uneven short stories and poems, smaller literary publications have become innovative.

Some operate exclusively online. Others offer online supplements to semi-annual print publications. Literal Latte publishes in newspaper format. And One Story, which launched in June, 2002, publishes one short story in each of the eighteen issues it puts out each year.

Today in The New York Times, Dinitia Smith profiles One Story‘s editors, Hannah Tinti and Maribeth Batcha, and notes the magazine’s success:

One Story has 2,400 paid subscribers and is breaking even, too, the founders say. Part of the reason is that the labor is free. Payment to writers is $100 and 15 copies, whereas The New Yorker can pay in the thousands of dollars for a short story…. An annual subscription costs $21 (within the United States). The magazine has no ads and does not plan on soliciting any.


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