Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

McSweeney’s in the UK

So Penguin aren’t going to publish the McSweeney’s quarterly in the UK anymore.

This makes sense for a number of reasons, not least because, as Joe Pickering (Penguin publicist) says on Twitter, no-one was buying them.

Here are some more comments from Joe, and thoughts and other stuff that have occurred to me.

Joe suggests it as a problem ‘with literary book-buying‘ — I agree, people seem to collect things rather than necessarily read them. Of literature as trend-based.

Also that some response they’ve got is to cite ‘poor content‘.

Someone else says something I think is a bit dumb: “The problem is the McSweeney’s gimmickry, while fun, makes me suspect the quality of the content.”

But obviously I’d think that was dumb. To me, the attention to form is a sign of attention to everything, of trying to make things as good as they can. Sometimes it’s hit and miss, and they go too far with formal experimentation, but mostly the content of it is superb. It wouldn’t survive otherwise, I don’t think.

And someone else subscribes for a year and doesn’t read it.

I don’t think it’s a terrible thing to happen — it’s a shame you can’t look at the journal in shops anymore, but it restores some of the elusive credibility of getting it mail order, weeks behind everyone in the US. And it’s a shame for Penguin to spend resources on something that isn’t doing much but give them vague indie cred. Better that they focus on things like Five Dials, maybe getting a proper print version of that going, that people could pay to subscribe to, using the model of McSweeney’s rather than McSweeney’s itself.

McSweeney’s carries on, Penguin carry on. No biggie. Will they still be friends?

I get that there is a bit of a TMS situation going on just now with this Twitter hating (ish) on McSweeney’s, and it seems an indictment of a failure of readers, than a failure of the journal, to me.

Again, this comes from the fact I think it’s worth reading. Shameless advocate, slinging muck against those who dislike it. Uncharacteristic for me, but everybody gets one, right?


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