The Death of the Novel

So I know we’ve talked a lot about the death of the print novel in class, but something I’ve been thinking about too is the death of the magazine.  More so than the novel and other academic forms of texts, I feel like magazines and newspapers have quickly been dying out, and numerous publications have gone out of print.  I think this is directly related to the rise blogs.  I wrote a post about it for my project, and decided to post it here as well:

Over the past couple of years, various music publications have been forced to downsize or have gone out of business, while music blogs have flourished, expanded, and sprung up all over the internet. How can we view the music blog as a new form of interactive electronic literature – as it builds musical communities, and transfers music based literature to the web. Katherine Hayles opens her book, Electronic Literature, by saying

“Is electronic literature really literature at all? Will the dissemination mechanisms of the internet and the Web, by opening publication to the public to everyone, result in a flood of worthless drivel? Is literary quality possible in digital media or is electronic literature demonstrably inferior to the print canon? What large-scale social and cultural changes are bound up with the spread of digital culture, and what do they portend for the future of writing” (pg 2)

These question correlate directly to my discussion of music blogs, and I argue that it is the audience that serves as the publishing filter. Only those blogs that are well written and that are engaging gain a large readership, and those that are less than are often abandoned. Electronic Literature has lead to the rise of peer review, whereas with print, editors at large judge writers on a set criteria. Now readers have taken on this role. Readers have become active agents in the writing process as the readers comment can relate to anything in the post – ranging from content to typos.

What does this mean for the future of literature? Who knows, but I hope to continue to explore these questions as I read more and more music blogs. I think the engagement of the reader is exciting, if nothing else, and this will shift the way writing is approached. Now writers truly know their audience, and can engage in a direct dialogue with them if they choose to. The possibilities are endless.

2 responses to “The Death of the Novel

  1. This is a recent ad appearing in a lot of popular magazines. This text was on the right and a picture or Michael Phelps swimming was on the Left.

    “We Surf The Internet. We Swim in Magazines.

    The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.

    Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor is the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years. Even in the age of the Internet, even among the groups one would assume are most singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.

    Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.

    What it proves, once again, is that a new medium doesn’t necessarily displace an existing one. Just as movies didn’t kill radio. Just as TV didn’t kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience. And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.

    Which is why people aren’t giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing.”

    It’s interesting how magazines are trying to hold on. Why does the Internet have to take over magazines? Can’t both exist, and inform each other? Or can the Internet make magazines better, more up-to-date? Maybe they can both learn from each other – The Internet can clean up layouts with tips from Magazines, and Magazines can improve and build on their content with a website. As well as engage with their readers.

  2. Its interesting though because I’ve always felt that magazines were the news media’s outlet for up to date and interesting content. With the internet though EVERYTHING is a platform for an aesthetically pleasing, culturally relevant and more fun, news oriented content – plus its so much faster than a magazine.
    Especially in times of economic difficulty and increasing concern for the environment, it seems like magazines would be the easiest target for discontinuation.