Boston Review has merged its magazine and book publications into quarterly bookazines in a bid to offer focused, thematic content to readers. The Cambridge, Mass.-based Review unveiled the first of the new publications last month, a collection of wide-ranging pieces entitled Race, Capitalism, and Justice, edited by author and Harvard University historian Walter Johnson.
Two more issues will appear under the Review’s rebranded Forum series this year, including the forthcoming issue, Inequality and the Future of Work. The previous bi-monthly magazine series and the book-length edited collections that drew from it will both be discontinued. Alongside the Review’s three quarterly Forum issues, one creative issue will come out each year. The first, Global Dystopias, is slated to come out this fall and will be edited by the Review’s fiction editor, Pulitzer Prize recipient Junot Díaz.
The new publications cap off a series of changes that are part of a larger strategic reorganization at the magazine, which has published political and literary works for over four decades. Studying reader habits, editors found that many returned frequently to the Review’s online Forum series. “The content had lasting value to people,” said editor Deborah Chasman. “So the idea was, let’s publish less frequently. Let’s make them look like books. Let’s make them themed.”
Along with the new publishing format, the Review launched a revamped website in October and a new member program. They also overhauled distribution. Each issue is now published in newsstand and bookstore versions, both of which are distributed by Ingram. The Review also plans to make a direct marketing push to booksellers.
Coming on the heels of the first Forum issue, Poems for Political Disaster, a new chapbook created in response to the November presidential election, drew contributions from Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, Pulitzer Prize recipient Jorie Graham, Harvard Review poetry editor Major Jackson, and others. Editors rushed the volume to print in time for the inauguration. A January 30 reading from the chapbook featured six contributors and drew 200 people. Poetry editors B.K. Fischer and Stefania Heim say the Review intends to continue to publish similar works from time to time.
“We’re speaking to the times,” says Chasman, “but this is hopefully content that people will want to read for years to come.”