The future of printed media is going to be determined by how well the online providers meet their needs. Newspapers everywhere are facing increased competition and many smaller local papers are going under. Origami may occupy it’s own peculiar little world, but it too is embracing the online community. As well as the myriad of web sites offering photos and diagrams, new content is becoming available either to offer extra value to society members, or to create / attract an audience of their own.
For example, members of Origami USA can now access an online magazine, inspirationally called “The Fold“. It contains diagrams, articles, crease patterns, photos and lots more. There’s even some of it’s content accessible to non-members. Any society can only produce so many magazines and these will be limited to a certain number of pages. Online, almost all restrictions vanish, authors can write articles that Dostoevsky would be proud of, complete with videos and full colour throughout.
Another arrival on the scene is “Creased – Magazine for Paper Folders, a new bi-monthly publication that features never before published original Origami diagrams from creators all over the world”. Creased is available in both print and digital versions and subs are a tad under $60 USA, $100 international (from March 1, there’s an offer until then). Check the site out to see what else they offer. They have been kind enough to allow me a preview of the first magazine and I was highly impressed – full colour and best of all, full (18 pages) of simple to intermediate models. The esteemed teacher Rachel Katz is editing a section called “teachers corner” and that should be essential reading for those of us who teach origami. There are also “bonus pages” on offer to subscribers, presumably they won’t be in the printed version, a further 12 sides of models!
It isn’t immediately clear why “Creased” has been set up (by Sok Song, with sponsorship from Jong Ie Nara) – there’s obviously an income stream from subs and sales of paper, but the presumption is that the organisers don’t get what they want from existing resources, which ought to make OUSA and other societies think long and hard. It also means that available diagrams and articles are shared more thinly. Sure, it’s an open playing field and there are plenty of diagrams to go round, but at some point folders with limited funds will have to decide which of the many options they choose.
I’m not totally sure there is enough quality material out there to support too many magazines, digital or printed. Creators may also think twice before releasing material that is pay per view only, since it naturally limits the number of people who will get to see it. Yet without an element of exclusivity, people may not feel inclined to subscribe. Articles of real interest and quality may be unavailable to the majority. I’ll be upset if the average folder starts to miss out on quality designs and discussion, but it’s worth waiting to see how things pan out. For the folder, choice is usually good!