Farewell, Book & Magazine Collector

This December sees the last ever issue of Book & Magazine Collector, after 26 years of publication. I was never a regular buyer, but usually had a look at the contents, and bought it if there was an author I was interested in. (I also went on a couple of back-issue binges over the years.) It was always gratifying to see how many fantasy, science fiction and horror authors the magazine covered.

It’s tempting to say the internet killed it, and this must be partly true, if only because B&MC was always at least half made up of wants & for-sale lists — stuff which came to seem quaint, not to say dated, when you consider how the internet has changed the buying of secondhand books. (Not all for the good, no — it’s almost impossible to find a bargain nowadays, and some prices get artificially inflated. But not all for the bad, either. I loved hunting through booklists for titles I wanted, but love far more being able to quickly search multiple booksellers and find all the available copies and editions of the book I want.) I never used that part of the magazine anyway. What really interested me were the articles about individual authors & illustrators, and that’s the thing I’ll miss.

But surely the internet has blogs and wikis enough to make up for that? In theory, yes. There’s nothing to stop people writing in-depth, well-researched, well-written articles about authors’ oeuvres and posting them on the internet. But, on the other hand, there’s nothing to spur them to do so, either. And that, really, is the difference with the internet: not in what it can do, but in what, in practice, it does do.

If nothing else, print magazines encourage higher standards. For the reader, they act as a stamp of quality; and the same stamp pushes the writer. This isn’t something that’s impossible on the internet, but, let’s face it, Wikipedia doesn’t seem to have a tag for “this article reads like it was written by a committee more interested in facts than readability”, as it does for “this article needs more references”. Good, expert writing tends to be led by examples set by the likes of B&MC. It’s all too easy, in a Wikified world, to forget what good writing is like.

Also, there’s just finding the information. When I started my website on David Lindsay (back in 1998), I assumed that, soon enough, every writer would get a website dedicated to them, providing all the information you want to know about them, including news, a bibliography, a biography, and so on. But it’s rather disappointing to see how few authors that I’m interested in have well-run, up-to-date websites — even the living ones! Fritz Leiber, for instance, is surely crying out for something as good as, say, this Tim Powers site, or this Joan Aiken one. (But Fritz Leiber is perhaps starting to see something of a revival, what with a new Selected Stories, a collection of rarities, and the cornucopia of download delights recently on CthulhuWho’s’s blog. So, there’s hope.)

Comments (14)

  1. Here via your brother’s Twitter link. I’m absolutely devastated to hear this. I really can’t find the words to say how sad this makes me.

  2. Linda Wada says:

    Thanks for the Book & Magazine article, as I was surprised to hear it was ending. Only got one copy, but a nice publication. And congratulations on your work in Lovecraft. (I can imagine it was a thrill to see.)

  3. Julie says:

    I have a full sett of book & magazine collector all in binders from 1 – 150 how much could I expect to sell them for

  4. Julie says:

    My father in law has a collection of 1-150 of these magazines. How much would he expect to sell these for please.

    1. Raylene says:

      Hi Julie I have a large collection also.. Very large did u ever get a reply or answer of your question of how much they would be worth by chance..

      1. Julie says:

        I there no I never got a reply

  5. Julie says:

    Sorry didn’t realise I had already posted 🙂

  6. Paul scullion says:

    Was issue 328 not sold?

  7. Murray Ewing says:

    328 was the final issue, I think.

  8. The internet did not kill BM N C, it simply gave more and affordable prices to books and stuff once regarded as rare .I have bought quite a few bmcs and was amazed the high prices of books for sale,books one can buy for a 3rd on the internet.

    1. David Jones says:

      When you take into consideration the advertising costs for selling entries in BMC, no wonder the prices asked for the books were inflated to cover these costs

  9. Raylene says:

    I have a large number of these Lil magazines that I no longer wish to keep.. If someone is a serious buyer I’d be more than happy to sell em all.. I have all issues

    1. Christian says:

      Hi Raylene,

      any chance that you still would like to get rid of your collection?


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