Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: mental_floss

ISSN: 1543-4702 (Print)1


Purpose, objective, or mission: “Mental Floss delivers smart, fun and shareable content in an upbeat and witty environment. An encyclopedia of everything, we answer life’s big questions and uncover stories so interesting our readers absolutely must share them.”2

Target audience: Millennials.3

Publisher: Minute Media.4

Peer reviewed? No.

Type: Civilian magazine.

Medium: Online.5

Content: Fun and informative pieces on a wide variety of subjects with a focus on shareability.6

Frequency of publication: New stories posted daily.7

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: “We’re always looking for lists and Big Questions to fill out those two sections of the site, but if you know a great story from history, a strange science phenomenon, or anything else fascinating that we need to cover, we’d love to hear it.”8

Submission and review process: Send pitches to webpitches [at]

Editorial tone: Informal and conversational. Witty, humorous, and informative.

Style guide used: None stated.

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

This would be an excellent publication for LIS authors. Librarians are knowledge and information brokers and are often referred to as Renaissance people because of their vast array of knowledge. This type of website caters to that deep storehouse of information. And this website in particular might provide a nice respite from the regular scholarly articlesa way to showcase not only your knowledge but your sense of humor.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: The website receives 11.9 million unique visitors per month.10

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Information about audience location is not provided, but content is written in English. Readers have a high degree of knowledge in pop culture, trivia, and current events.

Reader characteristics: According to the website, readers are “brainy millennials.”11 In general, readers want to expand their knowledge in easily digested tidbits without having to read a whole book on a subject. For example, a past issue boiled down complex theories such as chaos theory, string theory, evolution, game theory, and artificial intelligence into one-to-two-page summaries that mix facts with wit and humor. There are no particular biases in the readership of this publication, except a propensity for trivia and Jeopardy-like knowledge.

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Readers’ LIS knowledge would vary depending on their interest and work environment. It would be safe to assume a number of librarians read and enjoy this publication, but as the focus is on providing intelligent, humorous articles, use of LIS jargon should be avoided.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Potential authors should keep in mind that readers already have a vast amount of information and wish to add to that knowledge in an enjoyable way. When writing articles for this publication, try to mix education with entertainment. No topic is off limits if you can approach it with new or interesting information presented in a fun way.

Last updated: October 17, 2018


Show 11 footnotes

  1.  Mental Floss, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed March 24, 2018,
  2. “About Us,”, accessed October 17, 2018,
  3. “About Us,”, accessed October 17, 2018,
  4. “About Us,”, accessed October 17, 2018,
  5. “This is Our Last Print Issue!,”, accessed December 11, 2016,
  6. About Us
  7. This is Our Last Print Issue!
  8. “Freelance Help Wanted,”, accessed December 11, 2016,
  9. Freelance Help Wanted.”
  10. About Us
  11. What is mental_floss?
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