Zine Reviews: ordering info

Q: How should we list ordering info for each zine? Just give the publisher’s info? Distros? All, or just the main one? Do we include zines even if they have no online purchasing option?

Answers:

  • I think attempts should be made to contact the zine writers and find out their preference. Someone may prefer to not be contacted directly and have folks order through a specific distro. I think that’s what GReg usually does with BZE–he asks what contact info should be included. I would include zines with no online purchasing option, but would include the individual’s email and recommend buyers contact the person first just so there’s some communication there.
  • Can we assume that if there’s web presence for a zine, searching for the name would bring up whatever distros have it? I think providing access to non-online-purchased zines is important. My thought is that there’s good stuff out there, and the inconvenience of snail mail payments isn’t a big deal, esp. if we’re working with a non-invoiced, petty cash kind of system.Maybe as we review we’ll find that we’re not reviewing non-online-available zines, and it’s a nonissue?
  • As far as publisher info, we should give the publisher’s contact info and the largest distro that distributes it (assuming you can find that out).
  • If we do a themed column, with one editor instead of multiple reviewers, it would be nice if the theme were posted to the reviewer list to give suggestions of titles. With zines, itís all about word of mouth, and itís easy to be ignorant of specific zine titles. I mean, if no one has ever sent you a copy of Fertile Ground and youíve never seen it publicized and itís not for sale by any distros, how would you know about it? But I know about it and I could suggest it and include contact info for you, if you wanted to consider it. Know what I mean?
  • Listing ordering info… that is a bit tricky. Trickier because libraries all handle how they order and pay for zines differently and sometimes they have to be creative. I do think it is important to list the publisherís contact information (whether mail, email, or online). As a zine publisher, I would much rather a library order my zines directly from me than from a distro, if we can work out the payment, because I get a bigger cut of the money *and* then I know my zine is kept at XZY library. And certainly a library can contact the publisher and say ďIím not allowed to buy directly from publishers, only distros. Can you tell me which distros sell your zine?Ē … On the other hand, I know that a lot of libraries do all or most of their buying from distros, because it is easier to deal with the payments. But thatís a bit sticky, too, because multiple distros may carry the same zine, and we shouldnít show favoritism to particular distros. I donít think we should necessarily funnel all the zine business to Microcosm. And because This Distro may go out of stock of Any Title but That Distro, which we didnít list, still has copies. It would be nice if we could include a list of recommended distros with the first column, or maybe a URL in the closing paragraph for a webpage that has recommended distros. Or something. Iím not really sure what the best way to handle that is! … And if we list both the publisher info and the distro, how are we going to do that succinctly? Because by the time you include a zineís mailing address and website and one distro name and website, for each zine you review, thatís eating up a lot of space.
  • However it is possible to get the zine, whether it is ordered directly from the publisher or if it is available through a distro
  • I think we should list as much ordering info as possible.. distros go out of business, people move, websites go unattended…And if there is no online purchasing info, I don’t think that should be to the writer’s disadvantage. Some people still aren’t in the digital age.
  • I don’t think we’ll have a problem with zines having too many distros to list! I’d say list the publishers info first, then distro info if available, and be as complete as possible. Yes, we should include zines even if they have no online purchasing option Ė in fact this might give rise to an article or two about the practical side of purchasing zines for libraries!

In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #3 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your commentĖor to cite it with your name)

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