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What has happened to the short story?

May 29, 2011

I’ve returned from vacation in southern Turkey, Istanbul and New York City. Now I really need some time to rest.

Sometimes the best part of returning home is the huge, rich pile of mail, articles, newsletters, books, journals, newspapers, magazines and packages that await me. I dive in like a little kid jumping into a pile of fall leaves.

One of the most interesting pieces in that pile was an article recently posted on The Millions website.

Paul Vidich explored why it seems the number of people reading short stories has dropped. The reasons have nothing to do with an overall diminished quality of short stories. Far from it. “The answer,” he writes, “is related to how readers are given the opportunity to read — distribution, in commercial terms.” The decline of mass market magazine readership has dragged down short story readership right along with it.

But technology, he says, offers a great opportunity. “Technology gave rise to the flowering of the short story, contributed to its decline, and technology will, in my opinion, again solve the problem of connecting readers and stories. Like the song, the short story is perfectly suited for mobile consumption.”

Interesting article. Check it out.

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