Monday, February 16, 2009


The excellent dark sf/horror sf magazine Apex, which went from being a print digest to an online magazine, is now also available in PDF form and can be ordered for $2.o0 on their website. Editor-in-chief Jason Sizemore kindly let me have a look at the PDF version of their February issue. It is handsomely designed and looks just like a print digest. For readers (like me) who don't mind reading on-screen but like the publication to look and read something like a real book or magazine rather than a web page, this is a good way to go. But one might ask, why buy this PDF from Apex if they're going to put up for free the same content on their website? A couple of reasons spring to mind. The first is the same reason that I charge a subscription fee for the PDF version of M-Brane: the magazine needs to have at least enough income to pay the writers. The cheap amount that I charge for the zine can cover this and still provide a lot of value for money to the reader. I barely pay anything, but Apex offers a pro rate to their writers and needs to raise those funds somehow. 

The second big reason is that the notion that all content distributed via the internet ought to be free just isn't viable for short fiction magazines and e-books (at least if we want a future of good ones), and I think it is coming to pass that some sort of subscription or donation model is going to be standard for magazines like this as print periodicals gradually die out altogether, readers get used to getting their fiction on a screen and start expecting the publications to be as good as the print ones that they used to enjoy. I don't know what the best way for the future is. Maybe it's an "all-of-the-above" approach with different sorts of subscriptions or single-issue sales supplemented by donations and advertising. Apex takes donations and ads in addition to selling their PDF edition, while Jim Baen's Universe charges a pretty good-size subscription fee for access to their webzine and solicits high-end donations to their "Universe Club." I, for one, will be working on a lot of options in the next few months, both in the way of raising funds and also getting the zine onto more distribution platforms such as the Kindle. 

Click here to go to Apex.  Browse around the site, too, because they offer a lot of other products besides the magazine. I will also keep a link to it all the time in the links list way down there under the posts (I know that area of the page is getting untidy--I have on  my "list of things to do" putting the links into some kind of organizational scheme).

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