Editors Letter


Dear Friends of Women's Review of Books,

I never thought I'd be writing this letter. It's true that in the gloomy days last fall, after we at Women's Review along with our long-time host, Wellesley Centers for Women, regretfully decided that we had to suspend publication, and WRB staff had received our layoff notices, I continued to explore the possibilities for reviving Women's Review of Books. Susan McGee Bailey, WCW's executive director, encouraged me to follow up every lead, no matter how unlikely or impractical it might seem, and WCW supported some of my time while I did so. I contacted colleges and universities and libraries, I looked into Internet publishing, and I researched foundations and even prospective "angels," or individual donors. I tried to stay upbeat. But to be honest, I didn't expect my efforts to come to much. I've known many small publications and community projects that have had to "suspend" their services; few have ever come back.

Then, I started getting calls from publishers of small journals. This was a possibility I hadn't considered. Several explained to me that since they published numerous journals (anywhere from ten to hundreds), their staff could handle our business functions at much less expense than we could ourselves. After many months of exchanging proposals and budgets, and working out the details in conference calls and meetings, Women's Review of Books and Wellesley Centers for Women decided to work with an energetic and enthusiastic team at Old City Publishing. It's a new sort of partnership for all of us: an educational institution and a business; a scientific publisher and a humanities publication; Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. WCW continues to house and support WRB's editorial staff (i.e., me), but the publication remains editorially independent, as always. OCP now handles subscriptions, advertising, distribution, and production. There will be some changes: Women's Review will appear bimonthly--every other month--instead of monthly as before. We have a beautiful new reader-friendly redesign, more art, more short features. We remain committed to presenting lively writing and challenging ideas.

I'm convinced it's going to work, despite the evidence of Women's Review's years of struggle with falling subscriptions and balance sheets marred by red ink. We are still the only publication that offers in-depth, feminist discussion of current information, ideas, experiences, and trends in our movement. Feminists often agonize over the split between researchers, scholars, and theorists, on the one hand, and activists, on the other. In Women's Review of Books, the two groups meet. This is happening nowhere else. And if you want to raise your blood pressure, check out the number of women's bylines and books by women reviewed in any mainstream publication you can name: it's barely changed since 1983, when Women's Review was founded.

Actually, I should say that I'm convinced the relaunch of Women's Review will work, if and only if we can regain support from you, our readers. You cannot take WRB's existence for granted. Please subscribe today! Give subscriptions to all your friends and relations! Encourage your local library, your university department, your dentist's office, and any of your other beloved community institutions to subscribe. We do our best to keep our subscription prices low--a whole year of Women’s Review still costs less than what many people spend on dinner and a movie. These few dollars each month make all the difference to us.

We're sending this, our comeback issue, to everyone on our mailing list. If you are a former subscriber, please renew. (Or, if you prefer, you can visit our website, www.wcwonline.org/womensreview to access the form.) When we receive your renewal, we will add on any time that you had left on your old subscription.

I'm writing this letter to you in the hope that you will respond, and tell me and our readers what you think of our articles, our redesign, our relaunch. It's great to be back.

Amy Hoffman
Editor in Chief

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