publishing on demand

Physical Vs Virtual Library?

Hello! I’ve been at Proboscis for just over a month now, under the Future Jobs Fund placement scheme. I’ll be contributing regularly to the Bookleteer blog during my time here, mainly topics relating to my own interests; independent literary publications and the D.I.Y attitude that inspires them.

During my research into how Bookleteer might be used in the D.I.Y publishing community, particularly zines, (independent publications with a small circulation) I stumbled across several zine libraries, collections that have been created by, donated to, or purchased by the curators. These prove to be a fascinating archive of creativity and talent, often perfectly capturing the zeitgeist at the time of publication. A zine library is an important concept, as zines are generally not designed to be preserved. Most have very small (many in the hundreds at most) one-off print runs, due to costs of production, small specific audiences, and their transitory nature.

Zineopolis, housed within the University of Portsmouth, was started after a group zine project by Illustration Degree students. Although currently only accessible by students of the university, there is a comprehensive online index, with previews of the publications.

The Women’s Library at the London Metropolitan University has a collection of zines created by women, spanning a wide range of topics, particularly feminism, and has some examples of the Riot Grrl movement.

56a Infoshop Social Centre has an archive of zines related to revolutionary politics, women, and gay issues.

These are all physical collections, and can only be read on-site, unfortunately. If these zines were scanned and uploaded to the Diffusion library as eBooks, they could be read and recreated by anyone, then recirculated, either via sending the file, or by print. Future zine creators, using Bookleteer, can offer their zine as an online eBook, sharing it with interested parties or sending to distant locales where it can be distributed, in places where large scale printing and binding is not possible or viable, or the content is hampered by censorship.

I’ll be exploring how the digital format will impact the current zine aesthetic, as well as looking at zines that are already being produced as e-books, and their reception by the community, in the near future.

Zines at Zineopolis