Making a magazine? Part 2

In this post, Confluence’s editor, Barry Fentiman Hall discusses why we decided to make a printed magazine, when it’s so much easier to go online-only.

A book (or magazine) is a perfect technology. I am not the first to say this by a long margin but a truth holds no matter how many times it is said. All that it requires is a light source and the time to digest the stories that it can hold within its covers. It cannot run down. It cannot lose its signal. It is pretty much 100% recyclable. It needs no oil to make its casing and no planet sucking power to charge it up*.


It goes at your speed. It is perfectly allied to the human mind that wants to flick to the end of the chapter. And it has weight. It is permanence. I have been published in one or two online journals and I am very proud and thankful that they did but those words will never gather dust on a shelf.


Websites end. I have a disintegrating 1889 copy of the collected works of Wordsworth on the shelf above me. It has survived more than a century via many hands and ultimately a garden centre to get to me, but it has made it. Online publishing has not existed for a fifth of the time that that book has existed, and there are no guarantees that it will in its current form. The internet as a place for stories and poetry is a possible future, but it is not one that is in any way set.


Books work. They feel good in your hand. And they have a permanence that pixels have not yet proved themselves to have.


*Of course resources are expended in the book-making process, but we make sure our publications are as environmentally friendly as paper products can be; we use recycled paper, we only work with ISO 14001 suppliers, we use vegetable based inks, we don’t use coated papers which are difficult to recycle, we print only the quantity of publications that we’re planning on selling.

From Issue 5, we changed the look and printing production methods. The zine graduated to a magazine. You can purchase back copies here

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