28 April 09 | Chad W. Post

Although I’m going to miss receiving hard copies of Books from Finland, in the end, I think the move to make the magazine an online only publication is a really smart one.

The site officially launched last Monday, at the start of the London Book Fair, marking the end of a long transition from being a quarterly print publication to a more sleek, savvy, and expandable website. The site’s content mimics that of the print publication—there are reviews of new Finnish books, prose excerpts, articles, and information on a slew of Finnish authors.

But by putting these same articles into a blog format, Books from Finland have greatly re-energized their publication. Thanks to a well designed RSS feed page readers can subscribe to any or all sections of the site and receive all updated material either in their RSS reader of choice or as an e-newsletter.

This seems like a very simple change, but I think it’s going to do wonders for the magazine. Anyone who’s visited my office has seen my impressive (re: toppling over) stack of cultural magazines from around the world. I love all of these publications—the ones from Lithuania and Poland are particularly well-done and attractive—but at the same time, I never get to these as fast as I’d like. Especially when my Google Reader is feeding me 300+ new posts a day from a hundred or so literary sites . . . It’s easy to lament our ADD culture, but if you accept that this isn’t going to change anytime soon, it’s probably better to give interested readers new material every few days in a way that is in keeping with how they tend to access and process new information. In addition to saving the Finnish Literary Exchange some money on printing and shipping, this will likely increase the readership for the magazine—and that is the point, right? Hopefully other literary orgs around the world will follow suit . . .


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