From Academic Kids



A zine—a contraction of the word magazine—is most commonly a small circulation, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated texts and images. Zines are often distributed through secondary circuits, such as: trade, zine symposia, record stores, concerts, independent media outlets, mailings, or zine "distros." Many zines are distributed for free or cost less than $1.00 and rarely more than $3.00-5.00. The time and materials necessary to create a zine are seldom matched by the sale of zines. Zines are seldom copyrighted and there is a strong belief among many zine creators that the material within should be freely distributed.

Zines are written in a variety of formats, from computer-printed text to comics to handwritten text (the most famous example perhaps being Aaron Cometbus's eponymous work). Topics covered are broad, including political, personal, social, or sexual content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media. However, zines did enjoy a brief period of attention from conventional media in the 1990s, when a number of zines were collected and published in book form. Some believe that the widespread adoption of web browsers starting in 1996 marked the end of the classic period for print zines.

The exact origins of the name "zine" and the moment when the word was first used are controversial. The history of zines is clearly connected with that of Fanzines, which began in the science fiction subculture in the 1930s, and particularly with the fanzines that emerged as part of the punk rock movement in the late 1970s.

Zines continue to be popular. Currently zines are important to the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement. Recently galvanizing social issues such as globalization, environmentalism, media conglomeration, American imperialism and consumerism have been addressed by "zinesters."

Zine Guide was a contact list available at some newsstands that listed titles and publishers of zines. They later declared bankruptcy in 2004, failing to refund the zines which had already paid for ads. Another contact list is Factsheet Five. On hiatus since 1998, it is expected to return in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Zine Libraries

Many major libraries carry zines and other small press publications, usually ones that are relevant to a local or special interest section. An example can be found at the Salt Lake City Public Library as well as the San Francisco Public Library. Also zine collections may be housed within a university library, usually in the Special Collection Department, such at DePaul University.

There also exist specific zine libraries devoted entirely to zine production and/or archiving. Examples in the United States are the Denver Zine Library (http://www.denverzinelibrary.org/), the Zine Archive and Publishing Project (http://www.hugohouse.org/programs/zine.html) in Seattle, Washington, and the Independent Press Resource Center (http://www.iprc.org/), a Portland, Oregon zine library and resource for writing and distributing zines.

Zine Events

In the United States, there are many high-profile annual events, such as the San Francisco Zine Festival (http://www.sfzinefest.com/), the Portland Zine Symposium (http://www.pdxzines.com/), and the Allied Media Conference (http://www.alliedmediaconference.com/), in Bowling Green, Ohio

See Also

External Links

  • Stay Free! (http://www.stayfreemagazine.org)
  • $100 and a T-shirt (http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/title/1011/), a video documentary about zines
  • Zine (zeen) listing (http://www.undergroundpress.org/infoshops.html)
  • Scram (http://www.scrammagazine.com/), a journal of unpopular culture
  • The Zine Yearbook (http://clamormagazine.org/yearbook/), an annual zine anthologypl:Zin

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