It's been a harsh winter for the independent press. Alternative media have been dealt several blows with the recent announcements that great indie magazines such as Lip, Clamor, and Kitchen Sink would be closing shop. So when the Independent Press Association (IPA), an advocacy-oriented member organization serving as a major buttress of the independent press, announced it was folding after 10 years of service to the likes of magazines great and small, including Mother Jones, Ms., and Harpers, the internet started buzzing with calls of distress.
According to a farewell letter to IPA members, posted by Punk Planet, the association's downfall was rooted in its acquisition of the distribution company Indy Press Newsstand Services. The outfit got so far behind in its payments to publishers -- who were IPA members -- it was unable to raise enough money to keep going. City Limit s reports that a year ago Indy Press owed more than $500,000 to the publications that had signed contracts with the organization. Unable to crawl out of the red, the IPA decided to shut down and divvy the little remaining money between creditors.
SF Weekly smelled trouble in June, reporting that publishers of magazines like Garage and SageWoman noticed something was awry when they started getting the run-around instead of money to cover production costs. As the ChicagoReader (pdf file) reported in 2005, many small publications that relied on payments from Indy Press were already struggling to survive from issue to issue. Now, these publications face an especially daunting time.
A bittersweet consolation to those publications, according to Punk Planet, is news that Canadian distributor Disticor, which partnered last year with Indy Press, is sticking around and will assume responsibility for marketing Indy Press magazines. And as New York-based City Limits points out, the rest of the independent media -- and their readers -- can take comfort in knowing that the New York chapter of the IPA -- whose web coverage of the region's immigrant presses earned an Utne Independent Press Award in 2005 -- survived its parent's demise.
Go there, too >> Local Press Booster Thrives as Indebted Parent Org Dives
And there >> Pulp Friction
And there >> The Death of Indie Distro? (pdf file)
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