This paper presents the results of a corpus-based study which investigates the genre of academic email and more specifically its pragmatic dimension. Four conversational routines (thank yous, apologies, requests, offers) are analysed and compared in two channels: academic e-mails and conventional print letters. In addition, data from both native and non-native speakers of English is considered, which sheds light on some of the differences found in the academic e-mail writing of learners of English. The findings indicate that academic e-mail is a relatively formal type of correspondence which is still largely influenced, as is to be expected, by the genre of the academic letter, and that as a genre, academic e-mail is in the process of formation or semi-formation. Finally, native speakers of English are found to be more informal than non-native speakers of English in academic e-mails.