The Periodicalist: The Future of Publishing

The world of publishing in digital and analog form changes underneath us seemingly every day. Nobody — and I mean nobody — truly knows what the future will bring, though plenty pretend to have the answers.

We don't have answers. We have questions to explore. I'm Glenn Fleishman. I'm the owner, publisher, and editor of The Magazine, a digital periodical nearing its second anniversary of every-other-week publication of non-fiction reportage and essays. While I've been on the bleeding edge here and elsewhere, every day is a new adventure.

Sponsor: This podcast is made possible through the generous support of MailChimp, which is underwriting our first six episodes. MailChimp lets you manage email lists of any size. They also make hats for cats and dogs.

I've asked a number of people with varying expertise to join me as regular co-hosts and episode-specific guests to explore what publishing has become and where its going, including Jane Friedman, Manjula Martin, and Matthew Amster-Burton. (Visit our About page for their full biographies.)

We're going to investigate many nooks and crannies, looking at print and electronic; books, magazines, and blogs; offset and print on demand; card games and interactive books; anything that involves producing something and publishing it in a medium.

The show will delve into technology and technical matters, including some of the nitty-gritty details. Future episodes could include site visits to physical manufacturing plants for both analog and digital media, such as print-on-demand production facilities.

We've planned a six-episode pilot season to find out whether there's enough interest in creating additional seasons or regular production. We'll be releasing our episodes every Wednesday for six weeks, starting May 28, 2014. You can subscribe to our podcast via our RSS link or through iTunes.

We want this to be interactive: we want to hear from you so that we know more topics you want us to cover or we can answer questions we passed over in an episode. We hope after pilot season to schedule tapings so that you can listen in and offer feedback or question as we go, and we plan to experiment with Google Hangouts.

Send email to with your initial thoughts or any feedback.

In the spirit of transparency, here are just some of the topics we hope to cover:

  • Starting a magazine, whether as a hobby or a business.

  • Will people pay for content? What kind?

  • and the future of blog-platform publishing.

  • Native apps versus Web apps for publications.

  • Responsive design for Web periodicals.

  • Simultaneous publishing to multiple media.

  • Crowdfunding books, magazines, and more.

  • How to bake broad inclusivity into the core of your publication.

  • Fulfillment, the atomic menace.

  • Syndication of content.

  • Sponsored content.

  • Content-management systems, the devil’s workshops.

  • Permission, Creative Commons, and usage.

  • Comics, webcomics, merchandise, and publishing.

  • Game publishing and production.

  • Email management and lists.

  • Working with freelancers for all stages of production and publication.

  • Apple Newsstand, Google Play, and beyond.

If you're interested in sponsoring a six-week or longer run of The Periodicalist, which brings with it thanks, text, and links on our site, as well as in-podcast sponsorship messages read by the hosts, please get in touch with Glenn.

Thanks to Gabe Bullard for taking pictures of words typed on his typewriters!

Posted on May 17, 2014 and filed under Administrative.