A Blow for the Independent Press

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 >>
Punk Planet
Distributor Goes Under

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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