Can The Times Literary Supplement And London Review Of Books Compete In Modern Marketplace
The LRB uses an old fashioned essay led strategy that is a million miles away from the fast paced punchy style increasingly favoured by online publications. Nevertheless it retains a core and very loyal readership.
The magazine market is changing. We know this because every expert on the matter says so. Digital content, user generated copy and SEO all change the way we read and the way publications are put together. Both authors and readers are changing the way they act, but does new technology have to be as vital as we think? Can publications such as The Times Literary Supplement and The London Review of Books cut it in the fast paced market place?
Both publications could be viewed as dinosaurs in the current climate. In a world in which their competitors are heading online, can their more considered and analytical style find a market? More importantly, even if it can find a healthy readership, can they make it pay?
The same could be said of the Times Literary Supplement. Founded back in 1902 it has been at the forefront of the literary scene for over a century. It retains an enviable reputation; however the need to compete in a fast paced newspaper environment brings with it a number of complications.
The Observer’s future has been under scrutiny for some time. Despite being the one of the more successful strands of the Guardian Group rumours surfaced last year that it faced closure. A redesign followed instead, but the long term outlook is far from certain. The Times Literary Supplement faces a similarly challenging environment as it seeks to satisfy two different requirements: the need to maintain its reputation and standing within the industry and the financial requirements of a modern newspaper.
There are also plenty of up and coming modern rivals. There are some good modern equivalents. You might try taking a look at Neon, an online alternative poetry e-zine. Titles such as True Confessions and Writing magazine produce a modern glossy spin on the subject of literature.
However, the Times Literary Supplement can provide one thing its rivals cannot: an established position in the cultural mindset. Even in a world in which content is being devalued that can prove enough. The question is this: will it be enough? For now the jury is out, but let’s not give up hope for the written word just yet.