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Ezines Make Money?

No doubt you've seen the links around to Simon Owens piece of ezines, and if they will prove profitable. Here's a quote from the end:

When I asked [Nick] Mamatas, who reads submissions for Clarkesworld, about the probability of ezines becoming profitable, he gave a sobering reply. “I think it’s important to note that most fiction magazines in the print world are either university-backed non-profits, labors of love, or the least successful of a cross-subsidized bundle of properties that are kept around because fiction copy is much cheaper than non-fiction copy,” he said. “In the periodical trade in general, churn is also very high. Magazines come and go all the time, regardless of their subject, market, or demographic. The magazine business is ultimately the business of selling people disposable content. The challenge of the ezine isn’t all that much different than the challenge of any other magazine, except that if anyone knew what the “best bet” was, they likely wouldn’t try it out on SF ezines when they could launch another massive slick with 75% ad pages.”

To underscore this point, let me leave you with a telling figure. Ralan.com is a website that tracks short fiction markets for writers, mainly in the speculative fiction genre. In a section of Ralan called “dead markets,” it lists all the genre magazines that have folded and ceased publication over the last few years. Many, if not most, of those listed are genre ezines.

The number of dead markets listed?


I feel cynical today, obviously.



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Feb. 12th, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)
It's an interesting article.

The problem with e-zine profitability, I think, is that it's a Catch-22. By the time there's some decent form of convergence of portable devices that will make accessing and reading an e-zine on the move significantly easier, there'll also be a better market for readers to buy individual stories direct.

Mobile content is going to be huge so the competition will be between popular e-zines and high-quality, easy to use aggregators that can supply content direct. I suspect an ezine that could quickly produce content in English, Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish could support a lot of advertising. But that's expensive to run compared to a Google-type aggregator that sells individual stories for 69 cents a pop and takes 9 cents off the top.

I already purchase most of the major genre mags that I read from Fictionwise. But funnily enough - to keep the file size as low as possible, they strip out all advertising from the PDF. Hardly a model advertisers would be keen on.
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