The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Yes, I’m mad

Posted on: January 10, 2008

First, you’re one of the bloodiest expensive literary magazines in English. (Although it is done weekly and has more content than, say, the London Review of Books so I’m guessing that’s why.)

Second, you have one of the crappiest website designs for lit mags out there. I have to click six million times before I actually get to the stupid archive page, and then I can’t just log in, I have to search for what I want first, and then you finally deem me worthy of access. It’s like I’m in some crappy fan made Indiana Jones parody.

Third, you make it impossible for me to avoid your pointless labyrinth by giving even limited access to general academic resource databases (that I know of and/or to which my school is subscribed) because you’re so precious and exclusive.

And now, NOW, you’ve made yourselves even more inaccessible by cutting off INSTITUTIONS from your on-line archives and restricting it to individual subscribers. Does that make any sense to anyone? Which folks from either group is likelier to need and regularly desire access to it and are pretty much guaranteed customers because, you know, they’re a part of an academic institution that would see it as pretty much obligatory to subscribe to the so-called *”leading paper in the world for literary culture”?

Or to create a potential future customer base. Who do you think comes into the library here regularly to read your paper version? Men older than my grandfather. (I’m serious, there’s a cute couple of elderly men who are in the reading room every time I’m here, with the usual pile of Foreign Policy, New York Review of Books, TLS etc.)

To add insult to injury how did the school find out? I kept nagging the information librarian who kept nagging the one in charge of subscriptions who kept nagging you. And even that didn’t work. I had reported a broken link problem before the holidays to which someone gave a delayed (server issues) but gracious reply. I informed that person of the new problem and suggested that someone should go digging around in the inbox for an overlooked e-mail or two. The next day, oh so coincidentally, the dogged information librarian e-mailed me to report the wonderful news.

I hate microform and of course I’ll be forced to print everything or scribble stuff down when I could just organise it neatly on my computer and not waste paper (and my money). Screw you. I’m going to buy my café pal a LRB gift subscription out of pure empty rage and frustration. Then I’ll take the money I was saving for your astronomically priced subscription on Bookforum and The Caribbean Review of Books. Good luck depending on that imaginary cultural elite to support you in to your twilight years.

How are you, my dear readers? I hope you’re having a lovely Thursday.

*That’s a whole different kettle of fish since your focus is so determinedly restricted to Europe plus the occasional glances over to the United States and the rare acknowledgement that there’s another continent hanging somewhere below Italy’s foot but, whatever, empty PR bluster is expected.


8 Responses to "Yes, I’m mad"

You go Imani! I agree with you, their website sucks. I’ve stopped even going there and am trying to pretend they don’t even exist anymore.

Hooray for Bookforum which is one of my favorite lit mags and so wonderfully priced – even for international customers like me who had to give up most subscriptions when I left the states.

This really calls for me to bring out the soapbox so that I can join you in a fellow rant. I spent a very frustrating morning before Christmas explaining to the University librarians just why life had not only been easier but also more precise before the advent of e-journals and citation indexes. I can’t do half of what I could do by hand with the on-line systems.

I hear you! Our main journal database at the library decided to start searching GOOGLE as well. Now you get 5,000,000 hits of crap when all you want is a good journal article. grrrrrrr….

Stefanie, sadly, I still like some of what they do. 😛 I just read it for free at the local book store.

Verbivore, yes, I was if-ing and but-ing, should I shouldn’t I, but this has pushed me firmly in their direction. It’s doing something different but I’d say each Bookforum issue carries as much if not more fiction reviews on average than TLS anyway.

Ann I’m also becoming disgruntled with the number of journals we now only have on-line access to since the library stopped subscribing to the paper version. But that’s another long rant waiting to explode right there.

Amanda A whoa, whoa, whoa, what? Your journal database uses what? What? That move should be reversed, in all seriousness, but of course, being a university, it’s now set in stone for the next millennia. I hope you take this in the best way possible, but suddenly my situation does not look so dire after all. 😀

(I don’t understand that — is it that they’re using Google Scholar? Why don’t they just add the Firefox search button?)

I swapped up my personal subscription to the TLS for the LRB some time ago – LRB appeared to actually appreciate having me as a reader, whereas TLS didn’t care. I felt it seemed less and less part of the real world.

How true that is! One of the editors happened upon my blog and noted my moaning about the local store dropping the lit magazine — and he offered me a few free issues to try them out. With that, the quality, and the criminally reasonable prize it was irresistible.

Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thanks!
sos datenrettung

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