Why we publish on paper
A literary magazine’s wave against the online tide.
Masturbation is a solitary business, writing a public one. This pretty much sums op the poetics of Strak, the illustrated literary magazine I run with author Jeroen Aalbers since this year. Every six months, we publish a collection of short stories and poetry, without too much poppycock.
Above of all, we want to give the readers a good time, because other literary magazines or weblogs bore them enough with dear diary poetry and whiny literature. And what to think of all those reviews and interviews?
‘Skip that secondary shit’, the reader says. ‘If I would’ve wanted to read that, I would’ve enrolled in literature class at University.’ So none of that in Strak.
We do use a lot of pictures, because, like Alice already said: ‘What’s the use of a book without pictures?’. Hunter S. Thompson thought the same, so who can disagree with us?
Besides these guidelines for our contents, Strak also publishes – other than most literary magazines nowadays – on paper. So no PDF or EPUB, but an old-fashioned offset printed booklet in sparkling black-and-white with one offset colour. Why?
On the one hand, because we are romantic. The magazines of my teenage years consisted of copy-pasted DIY-zines. I still have each and every one of them and I will not easily throw them out. Those booklets are mine, whereas a story on the internet is everyone’s. Internet is the culture of access, but we still support the culture of property. Owning the original gatefold sleeve of Electric Ladyland (with little felt tip marks underlining the favourite song of the previous owner) is much more precious than lossless flacs with a 100 % log in your iTunes.
There are also some rational reasons to manifest physically in this digital age. The ones that do not yet own an E-reader or iPad (still by far the largest part of the population), need to find their literary relaxation on weblogs. But people do not read on the internet, they browse. With three screens opened at once and a bank payment being made halfway through, makes online reading significantly more stressful than on the couch, with a nice story in your hands. The readers is much more concentrated. Our magazine deserves this analogue attention, that is why we choose for print.
And you can actually take our magazine outside and read it in the sun. You can even throw it on the floor and jump on it. Try that with an iPad!
The two most handsome editors of Holland and masterminds behind Strak.
Interestingly enough, the idea for Strak came to us, when we came aware of the growing group of young, talented authors around us that published mainly online and had their own share of followers on their own weblogs, but could not find their way into regular, printed media. Between these writers there was also no cross-inspiration or growth. It was silent water/web.
The stories and poems we publish in our magazine all underwent an editors and rewrite round. Young writers got comments through an other pair of eyes, than that of their own in-crowd. This increased the quality of their work.
The new generation is characterised by its flexible nature and that is exactly what we are. Although our love lies with printed media, we will soon also be available on the iPad. This will not replace our magazine. On the contrary. This will remain our base. We chose for this path, because we make this magazine not only for ourselves, but for a wide audience. And if it makes them happy to read off an iPad or E-reader, they can be our guest.