08/11/2007. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Since the recent release of the Mammoth Book of Best New SF, and its discussion of the state of the short fiction form, there has been much online debate about the readership numbers of contemporary genre magazines. It appears that reader numbers for science fiction and fantasy magazines are dwindling in all such offline markets.
In the face of this, online science fiction zine Hub Magazine have announced that since their first electronic appearance back in April 2007, readership has continued to increase. The latest issue of Hub had a distribution of just over 5,000.
It's editor Lee Harris said, "Hub Magazine is an internet-based free-to-read magazine, so it would na´ve to expect its performance to correlate exactly with that of hardcopy journals. Corporate sponsorship from Orbit allows Hub to pay its writers (both fiction and non-fiction), and readers also occasionally make donations to the magazine - all of which are plowed straight back into the commissioning of new features and reviews. Just as importantly, in June of this year Hub was able to attract a Lottery grant through Arts Council England. The grant (which lasts until June 2008) was awarded in order to assist Hub in its ambitions to significantly grow readership numbers - the target was 5,000 readers per week by June 2008. By a mixture of offline and online promotion, Hub has reached its target seven months early. There are those that would have you believe that the short form is dead, or dying. Hub is not experiencing this supposed trend, and believes that readers are still passionate about short fiction - they’re just beginning to seek it in alternative forms."
Hub Magazine is a UK-based weekly free electronic genre magazine, featuring a mix of fiction, features and reviews. Catch them over at www.hub-mag.co.uk
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