Literary Journals For E-Readers

Dana Staves

Staff Writer

Going through life with an apron tied on and a pen in her hand, Dana Staves writes about books and food. She also writes a little fiction. She lives in Maryland with her wife, their son, and their cat.

I’m still relatively new to the e-reader world. Like Peter wrote in his post not too long ago, the propensity to switch over to reading in a digital platform can take you by surprise, sneaking up on you like a stealth ninja.

Every so often, though, I find new ways that e-readers can make my reading life fuller, more enjoyable, and more practical. Which is why I want to talk about literary journals.

As a writer of short stories and personal essays, I’ve long been told to subscribe to literary journals, to read through them as research – what are people doing, what are journals interested in, what is a particular journal’s aesthetic (at least for that issue)? If you don’t read the magazine, the wisdom goes, then why would they publish you?

But here’s my dirty secret:  I don’t read as many literary journals as I should. I have good intentions. I’ll buy a subscription, happily retrieve journals from my mailbox, put them on my coffee table with my Bon Appetit and Real Simple, and then forget about them.

Part of my problem is convenience. When I pack up my purse to leave the house, I reach for a book or, more often these days, my Kindle. It’s compact, it fits inside my purse, and I’ve usually got a book loaded up and ready to go in there.

The solution would seem to be online journals, ones where the content is available digitally on their website. But unless it’s on an app, again, I’m not heading to a website. I’m heading to a book.

So what if the journal was where my books are? More specifically, what if the journal was in my Kindle?

Now we’re talking.

And there are some journals that make their content available digitally to subscribers through Kindle or Nook (and also Apple) formats. So I’ve found three that do so, three journals that I’m particularly psyched to load up into my Kindle pronto.


Subscriptions to Ploughshares include the three regular issues (which come out in April, August, and December) and the Ploughshares Omnibus, a collection of Ploughshares Solos, which are stories and essays that are available only in digital format; the Omnibus is released in October, and is also available in both print and digital formats. You can also purchase single issues from the archives.

Ploughshares is available for both Nook and Kindle.

One Story

One Story is exactly what it sounds like – a literary journal featuring one story every three or four weeks. Subscribers receive the new story directly to their Kindle device. (One Story is also available through the Apple Newsstand.) The journal comes with a free 30-day trial, after which the monthly subscription starts for $1.49 a month.


Narrative’s monthly issues includes stories, poetry, cartoons, nonfiction, and more, which will all download directly to your Kindle. This journal also provides a 30-day free trial, after which the subscription starts for $3.49 a month. Narrative is also available on Apple and Android devices.