The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Should we switch to only publishing the Vegetarian Journal online?

Posted on August 29, 2012 by The VRG Blog Editor

When we printed our first typewritten newsletter in 1982, we never imagined that 30 years later, more than 200,000 people would be coming to us for information each month via our website. Though change can be hard sometimes, this change allowing us to reach so many more people was thrilling. With numerous questions about the future of the post office and increasing postage, as well as the common use of online communication, we recently asked readers for thoughts on whether we should switch to only publishing the Vegetarian Journal online. Thanks to those who shared their opinions with us. A selection of responses we received appears below. This is not for immediate action, but we are strategically preparing for the future. Feel free to share your thoughts by emailing, calling us at 410-366-8343, or posting a comment.

“I’d read either way and certainly understand your wish to be more ecologically responsible, but I would be sad if paper issues weren’t available as I always give mine to interested others.”

“There’s something to be said for flipping through a magazine, taking it with you, cutting out the good stuff. Please keep it on paper.”

“Our home has a computer system which I myself maintain and use … but I prefer reading from a book or magazine. A computer cannot replace its tactile quality.”

“I would prefer the online-only version, so thanks for considering it.”

“It is wonderful and I always read it cover to cover and refer back to it frequently. I just can’t do that with online material.”

“Each year we have your magazine available [at a booth at a city hall festival] it is always a hit.”

“I pass my copy along to coworkers and keep them in my waiting room and exam areas, exposing many non-vegetarian patients to your Journal.”

“An electronic copy can reach more people, can be readily accessed from multiple devices people are already carrying (iPads, Kindles, etc.), and is far cheaper to distribute. […] The web site, blogs, and Facebook/Twitter feeds are already an important electronic version of VRG, so the Journal would be a natural extension.”

“I am very grateful for the years of dedicated and effective service you have given to the values of veganism. I am strongly opposed to an online-only version of Vegetarian Journal for the following reasons:
(1) Reading hard copy, illuminated by ambient light, stimulates more of the brain than the radiant images of the computer or other hand held
(2) Hard copy can be carried, is easily accessible, and can be stored.
(3) Given a computer uses electricity and is dependent on contaminating materials, an online version will not produce a smaller carbon footprint.
(4) Many people do not have access to a computer.
(5) There is a tactile and three dimensional visual experience generated by a hard copy magazine totally lacking in the abstract, one-dimensional, electronic version.
(6) I would like to see The Vegetarian Resource Group support print culture rather than electronic-digital culture. Digital culture encourages an ephemoral, non-reflective, fragmented way of being, which works against the deep values needed to support animal and human rights
and veganism.”

If you would like to support the print version of the Vegetarian Journal please click here to join or give gift subscriptions.

If you would like to donate so we can give Vegetarian Journals out during tabling and conferences, please donate at and indicate in the comments that this is to give out print versions of Vegetarian Journal. $100 allows us to give out 100 copies. At a national dietetic conference, we can typically put 1,000 copies into the hands of dietitians. Thank you!

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4 to “Should we switch to only publishing the Vegetarian Journal online?”

  1. I think its a great idea to have just an online journal. It will save lots of trees.

  2. sabine says:

    I subscribe to a number of magazines that are important to me. With these publications I have been offered to switch to online. After some thought, I declined. I read a printed version cover to cover, repeatedly, keep them if I like a topic or collection of recipes and clip what I like. I also pass on magazines. Print magazines are relaxing reading a well done print magazine is like a treat for me. It makes a bigger impression. Online magazines take a big toll on the eyes. I sometimes read NY Times articles, reading online makes less of an impression, than a well designed print article can do. I tend to only scan online articles. Print articles can connect better. While online articles lose their context to each other. I pass on online links that I like, in that sense you might get a bigger reader base, but it may not make such an impact. It is just a very different usage. I am also not willing to pay much for online articles, they are more a commodity and they save money on paper, ink and distribution. Almost everyone with a computer can publish online these days. A printed magazine to me needs more thought, planning and a sense of seriousness. I believe several online magazines have problems charging for their articles which are merely blogs. For different uses you may really need both.

  3. Lisa says:

    I am an activist and use your magazines while tabling. Many of the people who approach our table are curious about veg*nism, and many just want recipes. I like giving them copies of your magazine because I know firsthand that the recipes are good, but that there’s also valuable information for them that doesn’t relate strictly to cooking. Though we also give out leaflets and vegetarian starter kits, I think the magazine might be a bit less intimidating than some of the lit we distribute. I would miss having the print version as an advocacy tool.

  4. Amanda says:

    It’s not in my budget to subscribe to a magazine that costs money like yours does. I would love it if there were a free online one just as informative, although I do enjoy receiving the briefer print quarterlies that some groups send for free.

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