That was fast! Only three days after Bitch magazine's Andi Zeisler and Debbie Rasmussen went cap in hand to the Internet, they'd already exceeded their fundraising goal of $40,000. Rasmussen writes on the Bitch blog: "This tremendous and swift outpouring has been honoring and humbling -- particularly because you've offered it during the worst days the U.S. economy has seen this year. Thank you. We're deeply grateful."
The next issue is back on track for publication in December, and the folks at Bitch are "hard at work on a sustainable vision" for the future, based on reader feedback that came along with the donations. While I'm thrilled for their success, I can't help wondering if that vision includes the possibility of switching to an online model. Currently, Bitch's Web presence is an ad-free blog, and the plea for continued donations (it's a not-for-profit organization, so all donations go back into running it) asks folks to "help keep all of our online content free and accessible." But as a longtime Bitch fan who currently gets all of my news and most of my "feminist response to pop culture" from the Internet, I must admit my first thought when I heard about the magazine's troubles was, "Well, why are you still paying for printing costs?" Especially now, when they've just proved that a blog post, YouTube video and Twitter account can be used to raise over $40K in a few days, why would they even mess with old media?
On the other hand, as a bibliophile with a book coming out next spring, I freak at the thought of books eventually going paperless, so it's not really fair of me to care less about the future of traditional magazines. What do you think, readers? Are online magazines just as good as paper ones (ahem), or is something important lost without tangible issues? Either way, I'm delighted to see Bitch back in the game.