I like a lot of what I read in online literary journals. I also find it harder to read poetry and stories on the screen than on the printed page. I don’t find it impossible to read on the screen; it’s about as difficult as trying to read with a radio playing in the next room. I can do it, but I tire of doing it much more quickly than I tire of reading from a paper codex. I don’t know if the issue is my eyes (very nearsighted) or my associations with the computer and mobile phone, which I think of as machines for production. I tend to want to read the screen briskly, and it takes an ongoing effort to unclench and slow down the way I would with a paper book.
I know readers who can read a screen without any difficulty. There may be readers who prefer the screen. There are probably others who can’t tolerate it for long. So – though I don’t know how large the audience would be, and I don’t know a way to poll readers to find out – there could be an audience for a print journal which brings together a selection of poems or stories published in internet journals. An internet journal journal. Maybe bounded by regional or other criteria, for practical reasons. Maybe annual? If it were good, I would subscribe, so I guess we’re polling at least one.
The editor(s) would have to be able to read the screen with ease. The editor(s) would have the advantage of a smaller slush pile than other publications, as their search would be narrowed to previously published work, but they’d have to be pretty decisive, as they’d be trying to choose between pieces that other editors already thought were worth publishing.
It would be very cool if the journal journal were able to give the editors of internet journals a little kudos for their work without reinforcing the idea that print has greater prestige than digital forms. One reason internet journals can be great is that they can eliminate barriers to entry for readers (subscription fees; locality; having a secure physical mailbox and a dependable postal system; etc) and talented editors (having the access to the channels that allow one to print and circulate a magazine at a price their readership can afford to pay; etc). So, it would be nice to honour internet publishers and extend their reach without reinforcing the old hierarchy. Unless that old hierarchy is dead enough that there's no real concern? I am unsure about this.