Print zine vs E-zine

I would really like any thoughts/comments on e-zines vs print zines. I made Sein und Werden a web zine for financial reasons, and to reach a larger/international audience. However, there are many people, myself included, who prefer to read on paper rather than on screen, and I am re-considering turning Sein into a print format again. Possibly alongside the web version. I’m caught between wanting an attractively presented, easily accessible printed literary journal, and having very little funds. It’s about getting the writing out there, without it looking like a junior school project. I want to give people a reason to want to buy the thing, but have something available on the web too. Do you have any preferences/thoughts? Do writers prefer submitting to something tangible? Do other editors find the cost of printing too high?

7 responses to “Print zine vs E-zine

  • C Morris

    I am under the impression that most people prefer to read print magazines instead of web versions. God knows I do, although I still read web versions now and again. Also, most writers I know prefer to submit to print magazines over web versions. (They tend to pay more, for one thing, but there’s another big reason: longevity. In fifty years a writer with a story in a print magazine can still show the tangible copy to his grandchildren. After 50 years, it seems very unlikely that a web version would still exist.) That being said, so few people read short fiction these days — in any form — that printing up copies seems only to function as a surefire way of bankrupting such a magazine. In America, much of the small fiction press has languished, with many ‘zines either folding or scaling back to appear annually or bi-annually. Have you considered creating a separate once-a-year Best Of Sein Und Werden print magazine? It would contain the best contributions to your e-zine for a calendar year. It would serve to promote the e-zine (and the e-zine would promote the Best Of). This may be the best of both worlds and may not set you back too much money.



  • seinundwerden

    It’s a shame that I can’t afford to pay, but at least if I did a print zine I could give away free copies to contributors. We’ve thought about doing a best of, and we’ve thought about putting out a separate print zine alongside the web zine. It would be different content and would be a gritty lo-res low-cost photocopied and stapled thing. But when contributors submit, they could say whether they would prefer to go in the print zine or the ezine. It would make more of a difference with fiction length as longer pieces can be printed. And artists could also decide whether to go for a black and white copy of their work or a colour web version. Anyway, we’re still looking at costs and haven’t yet made a decision.
    Thanks for your comments C.

  • Six Maps

    Running two entities (web and print) is certainly a viable option. One other e-zine has opted to go down that route recently.
    It’ll mean more work but will probably give you a greater sense of satisfaction, too, as you will be catering to two markets instead of one.

    Of course, you could go for a ‘halfway house’ approach with a collected ‘Best of …’ annually or bi-annually that also featured 50 pert cent new fiction (for which you could issue different guidelines, maybe). Best of both worlds?

  • Dan Waber

    I read far more webzines than print zines anymore. The shift for me came about four years ago. The web can do something print can’t: produce four color in small quantities. There is definitely something to be said for the printed page vs. the screen, but, there are as many counter-arguments that can be made for screen vs. print.

    One thing to consider is doing a .pdf version of a journal. This way people who wish to print it out and hold it in their hands, can. And you’re not laying in the investment in inventory that may or may not move. A beaufitully designed .pdf is every bit as readable as any print journal, and it is the same familiarly shaped container for information.

    You could even do the .pdf as a semi-annual collection of the best of what appeared on the web.

  • Joe London

    Print and Web are not exclusive of each other. Some e-zine allow to read on the Web only part of the content that is printed. As appetisers.

    I understand printing implies non-negligible costs. Perhaps an idea could be to do the following:

    1. Do a “campaign” on the Web. There are many Web site which list literary magazines, but so far I have never seen Sein Und Werden listed

    2. Be prepared to receive more submissions though

    3. Try to device a good print format that contain the printing costs while providing good flexibility and quality

    4. You could ask a few bookshops to buy a few copies, or talk to a bookshop distrubutor perhaps?

    5. Initially I think would allow to contain costs: you could purchase only a few copies for people interested in purchasing the magazine locally, others could buy it from

    6 OR people could purchase subscriptions to Sein Und Werden, from the Sein Und Werden Web site. In this way you’d know beforehand how many copies you need. Then the printing would be made with (or other on demand service) and you’d only have to send the magazine by mail. To save on postage for US subscribers, you could arrange with a US-based friend to receive a few copies and send them to US subscribers.

    Of course the more subscribers you have, the more you can manage things with peace of mind about costs. When the number of subscribers becomes pretty large, then your could even afford sending complimentary copies to contributors (the average cost of complimentary copies would of course have to be taken into account when deciding the retail cost). In turn, the fact of being able to send complimentary copies to authors (and maybe a few selected institutions) could be an extra vehicle to spread the magazine and receive more submissions and subscriptions.

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