Thursday, August 28, 2008

The X-Axis State of the Nation Address

Okay, first things first: the X-Axis is taking a couple of weeks' break. I'd planned to do this week's reviews before leaving, but it turns out that UK stores aren't getting their books until Friday, so that's out the window.

The X-Axis will be back on 14 September. Well, around 14 September, anyway. There or thereabouts.

The July sales column is written, and Heidi will no doubt post it at the Beat while I'm away. I might also knock off a preview for Unforgiven if I have a spare moment. We'll see.

Now then: State of the Nation stuff. The X-Axis is, I think, lumbering its way towards another format change, although I haven't quite figured out just yet what that should be. Basically, though...

The website is really showing its age. It started back in 1999, and the current design dates from 2002. It's completely unwieldy, a chore to update, and it needs a major overhaul, which I have neither the time nor the knowhow to do. Posting all the reviews at once on a Sunday night, plus the added hassle of updating that website, is taking an inordinate amount of time, and it's hugely inconvenient. This really has to stop.

I'm also seriously considering making a jump to buying trades instead of single issues. They're cheaper, they're easier to store, they've got no adverts - they're a superior format in every way. Obviously, that would create a gap of several months while I waited for the publication schedule to catch up. Not quite sure what we'd do about that. I might keep buying the X-books in single format and just buy everything else in trades. And before somebody suggests it: no, I'm not going to torrent them.

Anyhow, one way or another, we're looking at a shake-up, and one that probably involves leaving the current website behind in favour of a much more streamlined and flexible X-Axis. That might be a blog, reviewing the books one at a time when it's convenient to me. Or it might be rolled into something else entirely. (And yes, I do have a "something else entirely" in mind - but it's too early to say anything more about that.)

As for the Indexes, you're highly unlikely to see any more of them, but I have a project in the works which covers similar territory. It's been in the works for quite a while now, I know - and if the weekly X-Axis stops taking up so much of my time, it might actually get finished...