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The Millions Reaches a Milestone

By posted at 4:40 pm on March 27, 2008 6

5

Though it passed unremarked (I was on vacation), Monday was the five-year anniversary of The Millions. This blog started as something quite inconsequential. At the outset of The Millions, I would have put the chances of me sticking with it through the end of 2003, let alone for five years, at somewhere south of 5%. Making it this far is pretty astonishing.

Those of you who have been with us for a long time know that I soon settled on books as a topic, discovered other people who had blogs about books, and eventually was joined here by some incredible writers (and readers).

I used to use these annual occasions to expound upon the state of literary discourse online. In years past, there seemed to be quite a bit of excitement as individuals – talented enthusiasts and seasoned pros alike – staked out some online territory and sent their musings about things literary into the electronic ether. When the world, both readers and the mainstream press, began to take notice, it was thrilling. Certainly, we had some notable moments this past year: we talked Harry Potter, The Millions landed on NPR, and our Year in Reading set the bar high for year-end roundups (and that’s just to name a few. Check out the Notable Posts on the sidebar for more.)

Nonetheless, there isn’t as much to say about the state of litblogs anymore. As I’ve noted in the past, they really have become assimillated, if not into the mainstream of traditional book reviewing culture, then undoubtedly into the massive miasma of personal publishing all over the web, where anyone can find their favorite nook and where no one will any longer bat an eye at hundreds of cross-pollinated blogs discussing books and whatever else.

For this reason, I wasn’t all that surprised to hear that the Litblog Co-op folded recently (Dan Green made the announcement). It was an idea of an earlier period (only three years ago, but things move fast these days), when there were a few independent bloggers writing about literary matters with each, to varying degrees, commanding a small but measurable and loyal audience. Pool our resources, the idea went, and we can make an impact. It started off well and garnered a good deal of press, but it was doomed from the beginning in many ways. It wasn’t built to scale as the community grew, and there was no way for the hundreds of new bloggers and thousands of new readers to take meaningful part in the experiment. Combine that with the inherent challenges of managing a leaderless, decentralized group and it’s a testament to the people involved that it lasted as long as it did.

I bowed out from the LBC early last year, facing too many constraints on my time and needing to cut back. Still, the end of that experiment prompts me to take stock of The Millions. Though some folks in the bookish corner of the blogosphere shy away from it, and others criticize their colleagues’ ad placement but stop the presses for flashy pledge drives, I am unashamedly proud of The Millions for marching onwards towards being a legitimate literature and arts publication. In a time when many are fearful of the diminishing commercial viability of literature and the arts, it is heartening to see that The Millions has grown from a hobby into a business, albeit one that is still nascent and that is, because of the small sums involved, still very much a labor of love. While I harbor no delusions that The Millions will become a heavyweight of the blog world, the opportunity is there to keep making it better, and I find that exciting.

Before I wrap this ramble up, I want to thank our readers. We very much enjoy writing for you, and we value your intelligence, curiosity, and feedback. Thanks for another great year at The Millions.

(And thanks to Mrs. Millions for creating the nifty “5” graphic above as a birthday gift for The Millions.)

Birthdays Past: An Historic Day; The Millions Turns Two; Thanks for Three Years from The Millions, Four Years of The Millions.





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6 Responses to “The Millions Reaches a Milestone”

  1. Edan Lepucki
    at 5:10 pm on March 27, 2008

    Patrick and I must eat some cake to celebrate! We are so proud to be a part of this site. Congratulations, Max.

  2. genevieve
    at 5:17 pm on March 27, 2008

    Mmmmm, CAKE. Hurray for you all, and thanks for the useful summary of litblogging capers in recent times. I think you have pretty much hit it on the noggin, Max (this from the dumb blogger/critic who left you off her 'best' list, didn't I).

    Wishing you all the best for another five (or ten?) Go get 'em.

  3. Susan T.
    at 4:37 am on March 28, 2008

    Five years is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations!

  4. heather (errantdreams)
    at 7:12 am on March 28, 2008

    Happy anniversary! That's a wonderful milestone, and you guys deserve the long ride!

  5. Poornima
    at 1:40 pm on March 28, 2008

    What a wonderful achievement. The Millions is my favorite lit blog. The quality of the content and its tone are wonderful.

    Thank you! Hope to have you guys around for many more years.

  6. Anonymous
    at 7:45 am on March 30, 2008

    Max,
    Thanks so much for providing us with great information about books and super recommendations (Maqroll, the best ever).
    Kirk, Tx.

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