Sparrow on The Future of Lit Mags

Overland editor Jeff Sparrow has come out swinging in a piece for New Matilda about the future of journals.

Despite the “slow-moving hurricane currently wreaking havoc across the media landscape”, Sparrow’s portrait isn’t entirely dark. He says that Overland now puts every issue online in its entirety to spread writing to a wider audience than its printed product currently reaches.

Sparrow believes people will still buy the physical version of Overland because reading longer form articles onscreen is remains difficult. He argues “Even the cheapest paper provides a better experience than the most expensive screen” so the print product has a future in the short term.

Overland is no longer just a printed publication. Sparrow sees it as “a project as much as a journal, in which public events, festival appearances, a group blog, and Twitter and Facebook accounts all play a part”.

There is a small irony in that Sparrow’s celebration of non-print content is presented on an online magazine that recently called it quits because of financial woes. Will web-based journals ever prove to be profitable?