Editor’s Letter

Magazines used to be valuable—an important medium to read, to write for, in which to be covered. This past week, I counted how many magazines I was sent despite not being a subscriber—Time, Scientific American, Vanity Fair, People, Wired, and National Geographic—all of which, pathetically, wind up in the recycling bin after a cursory glance. I’m not sure why I’m on these comp lists, but I’d guess it is that the magazine industry is collapsing so quickly, it is eclipsing the guaranteed circulation promised to advertisers. And the ads—which I used to enjoy almost as much as the articles—are increasingly for direct-to-consumer pharmaceuticals or adult diapers.

So it is with a full and humble awareness of how worthless magazines are in today’s reading life that we created this one for a special, valuable purpose: feminist preservation.

While feminism is, was, and will always be a radical social enterprise to address the real oppression of women, its expression—that is, feminist language, tactics, style, and theoretical approaches—are constantly changing. We see LIBER as a tool to track this change, archive feminist intellectual production, and transmit feminist histories and culture in a form that is more honest and useful than the regurgitated photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy that is the usual on the internet. And we envisioned LIBER as a book review for a few reasons: because the feminist movement was historically and uniquely tied up with publishing, because long-form book reviews that are also essays about feminism and our lives are especially fun to read, because there is an art to making a magazine and a special pleasure to reading in print.

We hope you agree and will read and encourage others to subscribe. But if not, we’ll bow and leave the stage at the end of volume 1 (six issues). We have no desire to contribute to the tomb of the unread magazine, no matter how worthy our intent.

—Jennifer Baumgardner

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