E-publisher Joyland goes retro with paper-and-ink books

December 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Joyland, the “hub” for short fiction spearheaded by writers Brian Joseph Davis and Emily Schultz, is branching out into the realm of print books. Joyland Retro, a biannual print-on-demand journal that includes material from the site, is being produced in conjunction with the self-publishing service Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon. The first volume of Joyland Retro, which features stories by Zoe Whittall, Andrew Hood, Jim Hanas, Nathan Sellyn, and others, is available now via Joyland and Amazon, and retails for $10.95.

“We spent six months researching the most ethical way to print and distribute two issues a year for really cheap,” Davis wrote in an e-mail to TSR, “… and this is the best for now.” Because Create Space employs local printers in different markets, Davis says, the service is “a lot more ‘locavore’ than you would think.”

Bookstores can order Joyland Retro through Create Space or directly through the Joyland website, and Davis says that he will ship bookstore orders wholesale. He points out, however, that Joyland Retro is “technically” a magazine, “so we’re going to concentrate on reaching our readers directly, as you have to with a subscription-based operation.”

The new print-on-demand venture is being run entirely through the Joyland website, and is not affiliated with Joyland eBooks, which are produced in partnership with Toronto publishers ECW Press. The e-book series has slowed down a bit in the past six months, because husband-and-wife team Davis and Schultz have been concentrating on their new baby. But Davis says there is a new collection from Toronto journalist David Balzer due for release in spring 2012. Davis describes the e-book program as a success, “in that we’ve kept alive the tradition of breaking new authors with short-story collections.”

So, is the retreat into “analog” book production the beginning of a digital apostasy on Davis’s part? “Just the opposite,” he says, calling the combination of digital and traditional publishing “the hybrid future.” Davis goes on:

We’re just being ecumenical now. One thing I thought about while putting the collection together is that digital reading and print reading are developing into discrete operations in our minds, in the same way that listening to music and making music are controlled by different parts of the brain. On the one hand, the world needs less “stuff,” and I’m glad the website is this temporal, weekly, ecstatic experience. On the other hand, authors really like being on paper and that can’t be reduced to “nostalgia.” If anything, it adduces something about how the brain works in processing text, truth, and its own consciousness. This might be the only publishing interview that ends with the statement: Digital is Dionysian. Print is Apollonian.

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