There are observers of our reading habits who predict a glowing future for the short story, given the way in which we all seem to be increasingly in a hurry. So long as that prediction has not come true, however, publishing short stories is the equivalent of rowing against the tide – a tide consisting of largely female readers who like nothing better than immersing themselves in a voluminous novel.
Uitgeverij Podium has tried to give the short story a vehicle of its own by developing a short-story series. The same increasing pace of modern life also dictates that the appearance of such a series cannot be too prescriptive or over-rigid, because then we soon tire of it and declare ourselves to be suffering from series fatigue. Such a series, then, has to be a first-class balancing-act.
Podium’s short-story series is characterized by a comparatively wide book format, a narrow oblong bar at the bottom of the front cover identifying the series, pale or palish grey verticals reminiscent of some kinds of adjustable blind in the front matter and on the cover, a double-rule border round the title page, and inside the book a hairline rule between running titles and text.
The imagery of the covers is of itself powerful. Not every panel member found all the devices employed convincing, but by and large the panel agreed that this was a praiseworthy initiative. ‘Getting a series out is a lot harder than making one beautiful book.’