Spoiler Alert: We Heart BW/DR

Every so often, a magazine comes along that surprises, delights, and reminds us why we come into work every day, excited to work with publishers to build the best apps. Currently, that title is Bright Wall/Dark Room, an independent film magazine committed to talking about films differently, and we're pleased to welcome this publication to our platform.

Since 2009, their team of writers, poets, filmmakers, and artists have reflected monthly on movies -- those they love, hate, can't stop thinking about -- in fresh and personal ways, offering a more nuanced perspective than the typical 500-word review. As BW/DR's Editor-in-Chief Chad Perman explains,

"There seemed to be this great and growing gap between the film criticism I was reading and this very real and tangible thing that films themselves actually do to each one of us, how they make us feel."

In BW/DR's August issue, the second in a two-part series celebrating American classics from Jaws to Rocky, this emphasis on honestly exposing the undeniably human element in films -- whether making or watching them -- is omnipresent. As Summer Block writes in her essay on the Coen Brothers' cult classic O Brother, Where Art Thou?

"The Coen Brothers' film is about people wanting to be a better version of themselves, something a little lighter and brighter than the truth. (A lawyer instead of a con man; a husband instead of a cad.) But where other films might warn against the dangers of self-delusion, O Brother celebrates the courage and creativity it takes to change your identity. O Brother is a paean to the wild, reckless joy of self-invention, and the sustaining power of myth to bring us closer to our best selves."

The upgraded version of their app is now available to download. And lucky for all of us, the first issue, featuring essays on the likes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Dead Poets Society, is free. If you like what you read, you can subscribe at $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a yearlong subscription.

Since BW/DR is funded entirely by their subscribers, we think it's worth becoming a member of their vibrant (and quickly growing!) community of passionate film-lovers young and old. We can't wait to read about what they see in theaters -- or rewatch for the millionth time on Netflix -- next.

Meet Julius, Intern Extraordinaire

"My name is Julius Osagiede, and I spent this summer as a tech intern at 29th Street Publishing. I was able to obtain my internship at the company through a program called PENCIL Fellows. PENCIL Fellows is a non-profit program that creates innovative and impactful models of ongoing collaboration between businesses and public schools.

At 29th Street Publishing, I created articles and helped develop three client sites. Through my work, I learned about modern development tools and content management systems. Last Thursday evening, I attended a culminating event at Ogilvy Theater with 29th Street's General Manager Alaina Browne and CEO David Jacobs to mark the completion of my internship. It was there that the PENCIL Fellows Scholarship winners would be announced; to my surprise, I won 3rd place in the PENCIL Fellows Scholarship Contest, which earned me $1,000 (and an ovation).

As I head into my senior year of high school, I plan to take the SAT, apply to a lot of scholarships and colleges, and get good grades. After I graduate I would like to attend a four-year college to major in computer engineering. Beyond coding, I am grateful for what I learned at 29th Street this summer: to problem solve, have patience, and always be open to learning new things."

n+1 On the Go

The arrival of n+1 for iOS marks the first time that readers can access all of their offerings (print content! online exclusives! e-books!) in one cohesive subscription. Readers can now take the creative and intelligently curated content of the literary mag that Malcolm Gladwell calls "rigorous, curious, and provocative" on the go.

In addition to a year's worth of triannual n+1 issues, subscribers will also receive three ebooks. First up: Buzz, a new play and story written by founding editor Benjamin Kunkel, the author of Indecision and Utopia or Bust. That's one book-length publication every two months introducing you to "some of the best writers you've never heard of." Yearly subscriptions to the app cost $39.99 and ensure that you have iOS access to n+1's eclectic mix of writing with an emphasis on "describing the present" at your fingertips.

In 2004, the team behind n+1 took a calculated risk: Impassioned daydreaming and pure, mathematical logic united to justify its founding editors' desire to throw yet another print magazine into the mix. Where others saw only an overcrowded publishing industry, the magazine's founding editors--Keith Gessen, Mark Greif, Chad Harbach, Benjamin Kunkel, Allison Lorentzen, and Marco Roth--recognized room for improvement and weren't about to let that space go to waste. As Susan Hodara's piece in Harvard Magazine explains,

The name n+1, conceived in a moment of frustration, comes from an algebraic expression. "Keith and I were talking," Harbach recalls, "and he kept saying, 'Why would we start a magazine when there are already so many out there?' And I said, jokingly, 'N+1'--whatever exists, there is always something vital that has to be added or we wouldn't feel anything lacking in this world."

A decade later, n+1 has moved beyond its algebraic roots to become a print and digital magazine of literature, culture, and politics published three times a year. In addition, they publish new online-only work several times each week, as well as books expanding on the interests of the magazine.

Issue 19: Real Estate was particularly excellent, and best of all, it's included with the free download so you can start reading right away, wherever you are.

The issue features more new fiction by Kunkel, along with political and cultural essays by David Auerbach (Microsoft vs. AOL?), Kristin Dombek (life advice), Nikil Saval (office design trends), Jedediah Purdy ("The Accidental Neoliberal"), and more. You're not likely to get bored mid-issue! Topics swing from Ukraine's geopolitical crisis to classical music-listening etiquette in "The Concert Hall" by The Editors:

"Where classical music is most visibly in crisis is the concert hall, and all the rituals that govern contemporary classical music and make it intolerable, even to people who love contemporary classical music, belong to the concert hall. The prohibitions, the dress code, the shared obligation to stare down misbehaving fellow concertgoers until they cut it out--all are ways of disciplining the experience of live musical performance. At home, in the car, on the streets with headphones, a listener can sing along, laugh, get annoyed and turn the volume down. In the concert hall, one must not clap in between movements; everyone knows that those pauses are for coughing. By coughing, listeners reassure each other: Don't worry, we weren't feeling or thinking anything about what we heard--we were only sitting here, trying not to cough."

If you're new to n+1, then take our word for it: The app is a beautifully designed and accessible way to encounter their content for the first time. It's one of the many reasons we're so excited to welcome n+1 to the 29th Street family. We hope you love their new app as much as we do. And as always, we want to hear your thoughts.

Radio Silence Now Available Everywhere

Last week, Radio Silence supplemented their print magazine with a mobile and a web version of their publication on our platform. Radio Silence is a magazine of literature and rock & roll based in California -- now available everywhere. In each monthly volume, you'll find a selection of writing from a line-up of literary and musical talent, along with media and illustrations.

Radio Silence also produces live events with writers and musicians, and raises money to buy books and musical instruments for kids.

In an interview with Modern Luxury, founder and editor-in-chief Dan Stone said:

I think our culture is still trying to figure out how to create a digital magazine, and while we view our print magazine as a throwback to an earlier era we see the online edition as an opportunity to explore the possibilities that the new medium of digital publishing has to offer.

The launch was a success, and Apple called attention to it by highlighting Radio Silence in the App Store and on Twitter.

Radio Silence joins Scratch and Bikehugger in implementing our new feature, Universal Subscriptions, which we rolled out a few weeks ago. As our developer Greg Knauss explains,

up to this point almost all of our subscriptions and issues were bought inside the apps themselves, via an in-app Apple purchase. Because of this, all purchases were tied to Apple's iOS devices. There was no way to read the same articles on the Web, or to purchase issues or subscriptions on the Web and have them appear in the app. With Universal Subscription-enabled publications, subscriptions can be purchased in the app via Apple, or via a website through a variety of services we support. Each of those purchases enable access both on the Web and in the app, as well as other reading clients we might add in the future. The upshot is that readers get to choose where they make their purchases and where to read what they bought.

Volume III is out this week -- an eclectic mix of wide-ranging musical and literary associations.

Who would expect to find Vladimir Nabokov and Steely Dan in the same small volume? Is that even legal?

This issue introduces Thao Nguyen's series exploring the conflicting worlds of a touring musician and women prisoners in the California state system, and features a conversation between creative talents Daniel Handler and Carrie Brownstein.

Check out Radio Silence on the web or on your mobile device and start reading. As always, the first issue is free.

Scratch: Writing + Money + Life

Scratch is a new digital quarterly magazine about writing, money, and the business of publishing, by editors Jane Friedman and Manjula Martin. It's now out on our platform and available on iOS devices as well as in your desktop browser. A subscription gives you universal access across all devices.

Downloading or signing up for Scratch is free and comes with a complimentary issue. After that, subscriptions are available for $20 per year. Like every issue, the first subscriber issue, "Hunger," is filled with interviews, features, and personal stories about the economics of being a writer. In an interview with Susan Orlean, she reflects on freelancing, earning money, and why being a writer is like running a small business.

The world we live in now is much more about individuals. Especially for writers--ugh, can we think of another word than brand? But the fact is, it is the right word. You create a professional persona that can be applied in many different ways, some of which you don't get paid for, like Twitter, and some of which then lead to other interesting work that you maybe didn't even predict.
-- Susan Orlean

In a personal essay, Rachael Maddux critiques the common advice that writers "stay hungry".

"'Stay hungry,' as it happens, is terrible advice. Taken literally, it suggests welcoming the symptoms of starvation: fatigue, anxiety, depression, muscle atrophy, stunted growth, compromised immune response, death."
-- Rachael Maddux

In line with their commitment to information, at the end of each issue is a Transparency Index, revealing the relationships and finances behind the making of Scratch

Scratch is all about the intersection of writing and money. Writers are used to scrambling for money but the economic realities of the publishing industry are undergoing tremendous change. Even if writers don't expect to make a fortune, for some it has become difficult to make even a living wage. But useful, transparent dialogue about money and creative work is still surprisingly hard to come by. That's why there's Scratch.

Like us at 29th Street Publishing, Manjula Martin and Jane Friedman want to empower writers to advocate for themselves and further their careers. Since 2012, Manjula has been shedding light on what different publications pay writers on the popular tumblr Who Pays Writers, and Jane has been a sought-after speaker and teacher on the future of publishing for more than a decade. Who Pays Writers is now hosted on the Scratch website. But Scratch is more than just transparency and information; it provides context, personal stories, and depth. It's like your own writing mentor, bringing you timely advice and the latest scoop three times a year.

We hope you share our excitement! If so, sign up and start reading at scratchmag.net.

Older >