When Science Fiction began, it was all about the short stories. Analog and F&SF were institutions, and the short story was the cutting edge. Consider any author of the day, those authors who are now considered the top of the field (or classics): Piers Anthony, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Spider Robinson, etc, etc; they all started off with many short stories. Recently, though, the SF magazine has been in a serious decline. This makes it difficult for a new author to enter the field with a short story, and it means young readers (arguably the life blood of this sort of literature) have to start off with full length novels, a daunting prospect when you're a teenager; looked at the price of books lately?
Fortunately, Jim Baen (remember the Baen free library?) is trying to bring the days of the SF magazine back, with a new online magazine called Baen's Universe. It will cost about $30 for a six month subscription, and each issue will be twice the size of the average paper magazine. He's already got many of the largest names in modern science fiction backing him, as well as plans to feature short stories from new authors. The magazine will, of course, be distributed without any drm. I've never subscribed to any online content of any sort, but this might be a first. As much as we can track down all kinds of free reading, not everything can remain free forever.
(link thanks to kuro5hin.)