Astounding/Analog magazine is the fountainhead of the Golden Age of science fiction. Many of the great SF stories that later generations read in various novelizations and anthologies first appeared within its pages, and most of those during the period the magazine was edited by John W. Campbell. For all of its importance in the field, I have not read much regarding the formative years of the magazine.
Thankfully, Frederik Pohl's has written a blog entry that is filling this significant gap in my knowledge of SF/F history. The post gives some insight on how the cost of printing covers for a line of pulp books, and the need for one more book title to be printed to prevent wasted revenue, was one of the contributing factors to the creation of the magazine. The story demonstrates how niche markets can receive product when the costs associated with the risk of the venture are less than the costs of the waste produced if no product is made -- and how this venture can eventually lead to a literary explosion.
Given my Oma's refusal to do anything remotely computer related, I find it inspiring that Frederik Pohl (who turns 90 this Thanksgiving) has a well maintained and "must read" blog. Well...must read for any SF fan.