Art Director and Art & Culture Editor
Crime Fiction Editor
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Reproduction via any means is prohibited without permission from the editor.
January Magazine is one of the most popular and respected book-related sites on the Web. This surprises me, simply because it's not what we set out to do. Back in 1997 (in November, actually: not the beginning of the year as one might expect) when January was launched, we simply wanted to take a lot of print magazine experience and translate that elegantly to the Internet. Collectively, we knew a lot about making magazines, but no one anywhere really knew much about making Web magazines and it behooved us to blaze a path where one didn't exist. We decided to make it a magazine about books because the type of book-related magazine we wanted to see didn't exist at the time: in print, on the Web or anywhere that we could see. And so it began.
Here's what we knew: people love books and are always interested in getting the skinny on new and interesting titles. People are also interested in the people who make books. Authors can often seem like mysterious, shadowy figures -- pipe-smoking recluses in tweedy, patched-elbow jackets. The reality, of course, is quite different. But more than just sharing the fact that those who write books are real people, we also wanted to give readers an intimate glimpse of those authors: what they cared about, what inspired them and -- with original photographs -- what they looked like.
We called this project January because we knew that we were creating something different. A place where books were treated with the respect, affection and passion we felt they deserved. So: January. Renewal. New beginnings. New ideas. And the evolution began.
What we didn't anticipate was the overwhelming success January would enjoy almost from the very beginning. At this point, millions of readers enjoy January Magazine every year and we've had the pleasure of being part of the launch of several very exciting books and careers.
Readers that have followed January Magazine's progress know that we've gone through a lot of changes since we began. A few things have remained constant: We are passionate about books and authors. We're proud to host the works of some very talented journalists, critics and photographers in these electronic pages. Proud, also, of the passion that January has inspired in both our readers and our contributors.
For me January has illustrated a lot of ironies: the vastness of cyberspace spawning a collective. An unequaled celebration of the printed word -- January Magazine -- whose venue happens to be here in the ether. And the thousands -- nay, hundreds of thousands of people every month who've stopped by to visit: many of them moved enough by what they found here to come back again and again.
All of this has provided those of us involved with January with a strong sense of community and pride. Your words -- both critical and kind -- are a big part of what helps to fuel our passion.
Our focus is on books. From everywhere. We are not concerned with boring international boundaries or even the challenges faced by booksellers in this brave new connected world. There are enough people worried about all of that already. Our mandate is to bring you interviews with authors from around the world as well as reviews of books written in all countries. We really have only one stipulation in that regard: the books we review are published in the English language.
If the work is available in English, it's possible you'll find a review on these pages: whether it was published in Australia or Canada; England or the US. We figure that since our readers hail from all of these places -- as well as lots of others -- it only makes sense that the books we talk about should, as well.
We know the medium demands new ways of thinking about old problems and old presentations, and we've had enough experience with those traditional mediums to understand The Way Things Work: the hierarchies and lowerarchies involved in bringing any type of news to light. We don't have any of that here. We do have a lot of questions. And some of these questions have answers still to be born. That's exciting stuff. Thanks for joining us.
Linda L. Richards, editor January Magazine