Who and What We Are

Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Follow-Up to “What’s He Building in There” (the introduction to XD #35)

Over the last several weeks I’ve followed the continuing war between Hachette and Amazon, watching more and more of the publishing industry weigh in as the pundits make this national news. In the process, I realized I had a bit more to say about one of Amazon’s biggest falsehoods. I also want to talk a bit more about self-publishing/independent publishing/micro publishing/[insert your own nomenclature] and Amazon.

I am and have been an independent publisher since 1995. I’m involved in zine and book publishing. I’m wholly supportive of other publishers and authors. As a consumer, I do not support Amazon. I feel I need to make these points clear.

As a book distributor (my day job for the last 10+ years), I’ve learned that the idea of availability often trumps logic. I remember when publishers and authors felt like their books were only successful if they were on a store shelf – even if that store never sold a copy because the audience was wrong, and the copies would just come back as damaged returns. Now, authors fixate on Amazon showing their book as readily available, whether or not Amazon actually has copies in stock.

The idea of “in stock” and “ships in 24 hours” is a huge falsehood. The appearance of availability is a marketing tool, and it is one of Amazon’s best weapons. What people don’t realize is that most online vendors hold very few books in stock. What they do have is a lot of data and sophisticated supply chains. In its war with Hachette, Amazon has destroyed the myth of availability. Amazon took away one-click ordering, super-fast delivery, and pre-orders.

However, these books are just as available now as they were before – they just aren’t showing as available on Amazon. When you order from Amazon, very often that order is actually being fulfilled by a wholesaler. If you walk into your local bookstore and they don’t have what you want in stock, chances are they will order it for you, just like Amazon would have – just like Amazon does.

***

As a zine publisher, my print runs range from 100-500 copies. That is more than a lot of books published by major academic presses. Books published by academic presses are fully available to wholesalers, bookstores, and online retailers. The data is out there to make the books widely available within a variety of sales channels. The majority of zines, on the other hand, are not. But they often sell about the same numbers. Zine publishers tend to know their audience and have direct connection with readers. That is at the crux of so much of the strife – readers vs. consumers. How are you viewed by the literary businesses you support – as a reader or a consumer? Think about that for a minute.

***

I’m not looking to make a living off of any of my personal publishing endeavors. And that is where it gets tough for small publishers who are indeed trying to live off their writing. Amazon has built a system where that is possible. I don’t want to see that progress disappear. However, I remain steadfast that Amazon is detrimental to publishing and far too powerful. I hope that additional options are developed and utilized that help weaken Amazon’s death-grip on the publishing industry. I think that publishers of all sizes would benefit from that. I believe that can happen if people think about the options and look at the myths they are being sold. I also hope that publishers and authors look at the division Amazon has caused and repair those bridges.

Hopefully, once people stop thinking of Amazon as a primary source for books, publishers and readers will find each other again – ideally in local bookstores. Publishers, once you know who your readers are, the less likely you will need a monolithic company standing between you and them. Readers, local bookstores need you far more than Amazon needs you. Let’s fix this mess.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What’s He Building in There? [introduction to Xerography Debt #35]

By Davida Gypsy Breier

Where Are We? How Did We Get Here?
The following is my opinion, based on known facts and personal experience. It is born out of frustration and sorrow. I need to get this off my chest.
I’ve been involved in zines since 1994, with professional bookselling and publishing experience happening concurrently. My book publishing experience has been diverse, but my focus has primarily been distribution, marketing, and sales. I currently work for a large university press.
I watched as chain bookstores took over and killed off half of the independents. I saw Amazon emerge and begin eroding the chains’ power, seemingly as savior for publishers. I was there when Kindle began and I helped feed that gaping maw content. I was a bystander as once-maligned “vanity publishing” was re-branded and sold to the same people as vibrant “self-publishing.” I was witness to disruptive change from the inside.
Now, I sit here surveying the current landscape of publishing and can see the damage that has been done to books, to publishing, and even culture, and accept that I was (and perhaps still am) complicit in the destruction.
Before I continue, I feel I should declare my support of authors and publishers who would not have books or a readership if not for Amazon. I do not in any way begrudge them. Amazon did eliminate publishing’s gatekeepers and promoted an agenda of literary democracy. On the surface it sounded great. In hindsight, there is a dark side. The purpose of this essay is to provoke thought and discussion. To at least consider the future we are all building.

It Could Have Been Lamps
Amazon helped to destroy the traditional gatekeepers to publishing (something zines have done for decades). Amazon offers multiple publishing tools and visibility for publishers and authors. They are one of the reasons self-publishing is now considered mainstream. Authors are now discovered by algorithms and sales, not just editors and agents. My concerns lie with Amazon’s motivations. Zines seek readers, Amazon seeks customers (and their precious, monetized data). I’m not saying that the old gatekeepers were right – many excellent books and authors were ignored and deterred from publishing – but I am concerned that our literary culture is being commoditized into sloppily written, downloadable “content” that is produced with sales goals. Of course the same accusations could be made of paper zines, except for the sales goals bit. I’ve never met one person who expected to make a living off of his or her zines; zine publishers tend to write for the sake of writing and to connect with readers. Amazon’s goals have always been market domination and profit. Always.
Why did Amazon focus on books instead of lamps or hammers if that was the goal? Because books are relatively simple to mail and not breakable. Because the goal was the customer, not the product. Publishing has been completely disrupted because books were easy to ship.
Amazon arrived when publishing was in trouble and it did seem like a savior to many. I remember when they were a quiet account who bought non-returnable, paid on time, and made small publishers’ books visible on their virtual store shelves. Brick-and-mortar stores have limited shelf space, but Amazon was able to showcase all books – new and old – and touted itself as “the everything store.” Small publishers finally had a chance to compete against the major publishers. Older books became discoverable. Chains, on the other hand, were demanding higher and higher discounts, increased co-op (publishers have to buy those prime spots near the front of the store), mainly carried new books, and often returned 30% or more of what they bought (usually damaged). Compared to the chains, Amazon did seem like an ally. The first hit was free.
Now, it is clear Amazon was mining data, refining business models, and gathering strength. They intended to go after both competitors and suppliers, with a propaganda-like mantra of servicing the almighty customer. Publishers were openly referred to as gazelles (to Amazon’s unnamed predator). They have been known to publicly remove buy buttons to force publishers to capitulate. What we never know is the amount of influence going on to manipulate books to the top of searches…or to the bottom. They have fought and worked around tax laws – remember, local stores contribute to the community. Amazon also touts the jobs they offer. The reality is that they are anti-union, and warehouse jobs are under constant criticism for the hours, stress, and conditions. Office jobs at Amazon sound even worse, and they grind though young workers who either join the cult or move on in a matter of months. I know many people who righteously boycott Wal-Mart, but happily shop at Amazon. Explain the difference.
For the publishers I currently represent Amazon accounts for 26% of net sales (FY2013). Amazon has grown so large that publishers are now dependent, and Amazon has the power to dictate terms and break backs. And books only account for 7% of Amazon’s annual revenues. They figured out how to sell lamps and hammers, too.

Literature in Danger
So where does Amazon’s power end? I don’t know, and that’s what scares me. The company controls the majority of digital books sales and is now moving into additional media – movies, TV, and music. Amazon’s megalomaniacal weirdo founder, Jeff Bezos, recently bought The Washington Post. Federal lawsuits involving Amazon’s monopoly have come down in favor of the giant, under the guise of consumer protection. Actually, monopoly isn’t the correct word, monopsony is. It means that Amazon can dictate terms to its suppliers, and in doing so, Amazon is now in a position to dictate popular culture. Publishers have lost control of their content and many authors are now going it alone intentionally. Books aren’t being published that should be published. This passage from George Packer’s article on Amazon for The New Yorker rings true:

Several editors, agents, and authors told me that the money for serious fiction and nonfiction has eroded dramatically in recent years; advances on mid-list titles—books that are expected to sell modestly but whose quality gives them a strong chance of enduring—have declined by a quarter. These are the kinds of book that particularly benefit from the attention of editors and marketers, and that attract gifted people to publishing, despite the pitiful salaries. Without sufficient advances, many writers will not be able to undertake long, difficult, risky projects. Those who do so anyway will have to expend a lot of effort mastering the art of blowing their own horn. “Writing is being outsourced, because the only people who can afford to write books make money elsewhere—academics, rich people, celebrities,” Colin Robinson, a veteran publisher, said. “The real talent, the people who are writers because they happen to be really good at writing—they aren’t going to be able to afford to do it.”

Ironically, Amazon is taking self-publishing backward to a culture of vanity publishing!

Making Choices
Consumers now assume they have to buy from Amazon. Authors watch their sales and rankings obsessively. People think if the book isn’t available on Amazon it isn’t available. There are other choices, but the drug of one-click shopping and free shipping has intoxicated shoppers. Publishers have long since come down from their high of thinking that Amazon is an ally.
For me personally, I stopped buying books from Amazon a couple years ago and completely stopped all purchases a year ago. I haven’t touched my GoodReads account since Amazon bought it. I avoid funding projects using Amazon’s eCommerce system. I have found other options. I choose not to support the bully. These are small, probably pointless, economic protests on my part. What is more important is that I still publish and promote zines. This zine you are holding does not commodify ideas and words. Instead, it promotes community and tries to keep publishing’s furnace of creativity and passion alight.
I hope that publishers and authors who feel they need Amazon understand that Amazon does not need them. Once Amazon has the content and the customer data, authors and publishers are disposable. Much like sex-work is about the John, Amazon loves you, just leave the cash on the dresser and get out.
I acknowledge that I am jousting at windmills that I helped build. Ultimately, I mourn for publishing and where it feels like it is headed. It isn’t the industry I joined 20 years ago. It makes me doubly glad that I never left zines and that we have warded off many of the detrimental changes.

Zinester Immunity
One thing I feel is important to mention – many small publishers I have met are really authors who couldn’t find a publisher to publish his or her book. Amazon gave them the ability to self-publish and sell their books. They often cease being publishers as soon as they have a book contract – they are authors at heart, not publishers. Zinesters, on the other hand, seem to believe in the process – all of it. They are authors, artists, publishers, and marketers, not just because of the intrinsic DIY spirit, but because it is part of being a zine-maker. I think it is this difference that sets zinesters apart and often makes us more immune to the push and pull of consumerism. It is a process, not a product.
In the aforementioned New Yorker article, Andrew Wylie, an agent, said, “What gave publishers the idea that this was some big goddamn business? It’s not—it’s a tiny little business, selling to a bunch of odd people who read.” I think that idea summarizes what I always loved about publishing and continue to love about zines.
As zine-makers and zine-readers, Amazon will never be able to compete with a LOC (letter of comment) as payment or understand that giving a zine away for another zine makes perfect economic sense. That $3.00 in the pocket of a zinester is lunch and a couple of stamps. That as zinesters, publishing is still up to us and that we continue to invest in our own future and community. As consumers, does supporting Amazon, especially at the exclusion of other options and merchants, align with our ethics? What do you think?

Recommended reading:
·               Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century, By John Thompson, 2012 (available in paperback and hardback)
·               “Cheap Words, Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?” By George Packer, February 17, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/17/140217fa_fact_packer?currentPage=all
·               The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, By Brad Stone, 2013 (available in paperback and hardback)
·               “‘Cheap Words’: The New Yorker on Amazon and Books” February 11, 2014, http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ar/theshelf/2014-02-11/_cheap_words_:_the_new_yorker_on_amazon_and_books.html
·               “The Book Industry Is So Scared of Amazon, No One Will Talk on the Record Except these people” By Laura Bennett, February 20, 2014, http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116677/book-industry-so-scared-amazon-no-one-talks-record

·               “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers” By Simon Head, February 23, 2014, http://www.salon.com/2014/02/23/worse_than_wal_mart_amazons_sick_brutality_and_secret_history_of_ruthlessly_intimidating_workers/

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Taking The Lane super pack!

Taking The Lane super pack!
Ellie Blue
http://takingthelane.com/shop/    --- each issue is 6 inches v 4 inches
I ended up with a whole mess of Taking The Lane back issues:
Vol. 7 BikeSexuality (40 pages, silver print cover, $4, July 2012)
Vol. 8 Childhood (40 pages, color cover, $4, October 2012)
Vol. 9 Disaster $5* (40 pages, two-color cover, $4, January 2013)
Vol. 10 Bikes in Space : A Feminist Science Fiction Anthology (56 pages, color cover, $6, May 2013)

plus the copy of
Vol. 12 Religion $5 (40 pages, three-color cover, $5, December 2013), which I received from backing Ellie Blue's publishing Kickstarter project a while ago.

Here's the thing at which I marveled for quite some time: these are all rad anthologies with cool themes (always about bikes) in fantastic book forms. Each issue of Taking The Lane is this wee work of art, whether it's a "feminist-leaning & bicycle focused" fiction collection about bikes in space (yes, really; it's awesome), bicycling and disaster, biking as a child, biking and religion (I was curious and skeptical of this one, I confess, but it's actually quite good), and so on. The titles are clear, the layout and design impeccable, and I can't recommend them enough. I confess, I yelped with glee when I found them in my review pack, because I just dig 'em that much. Highly recommended -- even if (and maybe especially if) you're not someone who's all that into biking. The writing's captivating, and it's really tough to put one down once you've started reading.

* This particular issue is actually available on a self-selected honor system, sliding scale, which is pretty much one of the smartest things I've seen in a while. From the website: "The sliding scale pricing is on the honor system and totally up to you — no need to explain or ask permission for your choice of price! The options available, in all their incomplete imperfection, are based on the average U.S. wage gap.."  (check out the listing for more details and links)

Friday, March 14, 2014

KING-CAT COMIX and STORIES #74

review from Anne: KING-CAT COMIX and STORIES #74


28 pages, 1/2 page (5.5 x8.5 inches), $4 US, $? CAN/MAX, $? world, trades ? Nov 2013
John Porcellino
Spit & a Half
PO Box 142
So. Beloit, IL 61080
www.king-cat.net

I gotta confess: I let out a little yelp of glee when I found a King-Cat in my review stack. Some years ago, someone gifted me a subscription to King-Cat, which I found out when the first (and, sadly, only) issue arrived, and I kinda love the crisp lines and the stark drawings; there's a certain charm there. There's a bat story in this issue that's totally charming, and apparently Porcellino's got a whole slate of amazing stuff happening in 2014 (which is the 25th anniversary of King-Cat, natch) with new titles, new issues, and a King-Cat movie. Porcellino's work is solid; it's straightforward and evocative, and though the drawing seems simple and uncluttered, there's beauty in it and the storytelling pace is pretty much perfect. It seems dreamlike in some ways (the Tennessee driving story) and almost mundane in others (the series of drawings of the local bridges is pretty great).

I would be astonished to find someone who hasn't heard of King-Cat, but if that's you, don't wait to get your hands on this issue. It's well worth tracking down.

Review by Anne -- MAGIC FOREST #1

MAGIC FOREST #1 (Zombre #2.5) October 2013
16 full-color pages, 5 inches x 6 inches, $4 US, $5 CAN/MAX, $6 world, trades no
Ansis Purins
siransalot@gmail.com
ansispurins.tumblr.com

"State Park is actually a magic forest run by a wizard" says the description, which helps out a little -- it's a full-color romp with mermaids, a baffled park ranger, some goofy elves (I think they're elves, anyway), a bear eating among the bees, some terrifying looking spiders (in a story involving a different park ranger called the Magic Forest Guardian), and a devil on the back cover. I'll be damned if I can tell you what these different things have to do with one another (same magic forest, no doubt) but the art's solid and the layout is well done, plus it has been a mighty long time since I've seen a comic come through in full color. If you like weird, this one's for you for sure. I can't wait to see the next issue to see how some of these things link!)

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #82 and #83

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #82 and #83

24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH! & Fred adds: US currency please!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

More Brooklyn reviews! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn."

I love that these appear in my mailbox and I'm always curious as to what Fred will use for stamps (they're always frm zazzle.com and are --no surprise here -- Brooklyn related. (Make sure you don't miss them!) Brooklyn is always a combination of history, photography, and other Brooklyn related things (can we just marvel that there are eighty-three issues!); #82 contains a visit to Coney Island (as part of the neighborhood exploration series), mention of the Brooklyn World Tour (surely you didn't think it was only in New York), the "BROOKLYN LEXICON & PRONOUNCIATION GUIDE #66" (one of my favorite features, I admit), plus a feature on Brooklyn crowds, and a hilarious telling of the fable of the First Thanksgiving in Brooklyn and some other gems.

#83 includes It Happened In Brooklyn, pictures of various Brooklyn locales (including the Under the Tracks Playground in Gowanus) and residents (a raccoon, for one, and some Monk's parrots), and a neighborhood tour of Victorian Flatbush, plus Duck Island (you'll have to order the issue for that one!)

Always, always a fun read worth your time. So, whaddya waitin' for? Read some Brooklyn already!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

GROW: How to take your DIY project and passion to the next level & quit your job!

review from Anne: GROW: How to take your DIY project and passion to the next level & quit your job!


128 pages, 5.5. x 7, June 2013, $11.95 (no trades, ships via Microcosm)
Eleanor C. Whitney, MPA
microcosmpublishing.com
joe@microcosmpublishing.com

This is a rad little book. The design of it is really cool and visually appealing; I would totally have picked it up just to check it out even if the subject wasn't super interesting (and, honestly, it is -- who doesn't dream of ditching the day job to be your own creative boss?). Organized into smart, clear sections dealing with money and building community as well as marketing and media, Whitney includes points and examples from other DIY small-business owners, like Punk Rope and Brooklyn Soda Works. There's also a really great section about "Building a DIY Life" -- which is something that I think all small business owners struggle with. I own and operate a small business, which in the last year has become a larger project (though not quite yet full time), and these are very important points to think about. How do you make your business not just sustainable, but something that grows? There's also a particularly excellent resource section in the back of the book. Worth checking out, for sure.

PRIMAHOOD: THE SECOND ALBUM

review from Anne: PRIMAHOOD: THE SECOND ALBUM by Tyler Cohen


24 pages, 5.5 X 8.5, $8 US (shipping ? trades? ), full color
Primazonia Press
www.primazonia.com

From Tyler's website: "In her creations—the beings, the Primazons—the artist brings together her interests in nature & nurture, comics, anime, book/arts, anthropology, design, scifi, fantasy, dream, and intergenerational relationships." "Also, Primahood is the interweaving of two narrative spaces: MamaPants and Primazonia. Together, they tell stories and ask questions that might lead to thoughts about femaleness, social constructs, where we are, where we are going, and how we relate to one another. Also, you might laugh." It's a lovely colorful piece that's in full color throughout; kind of about kids and parenting, kind of about gender, with kind of a surreal, dreamlike quality. It took a few reads through for me; it was of course visually appealing on first pass but I wasn't always sure that I was following the narrative -- but there isn't really a single set narrative, as it turns out, and it's worth getting to check out the detailed, unusual art. Recommended.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I AM MY OWN STEREOTYPE


review from Anne: I AM MY OWN STEREOTYPE: THE MY SMALL DIARY COLLECTION


112 pages, 5.5 X 8.5, $8 US (shipping $2 US/$6 elsewhere)
www.mysmallwebpage.com
delangel3@hotmail.com

This collection is a perzine filled with diary comics focusing on the normal events of life with a humorous bent. Well, "normal" for Delaine might not be normal for the rest of us, but this collection is hilarious. There's travel and rollerskates, and brushes with fame, a palm reading from Dame Darcy, Emo Phillips (of course!), car accidents, John Waters, throwing up at a Nirvana show, and a number of other seriously notable adventures over the years. (Never mind the fact that Delaine and Lee are about the sweetest folks you ever might have the good fortune of meeting.) This book collects all three out-of-print My Small Diary zines and adds over 40 new pages, including some guest art, great photos, and a super-handy "The people of My Small Diary" glossary of sorts. Plus, each book is autographed! Full-color cover, perfect bound. All-true and all awesome.

Seriously, don't wait. You need this collection; it's awesome and at $8, it's a total deal. You'll laugh, you might cry, and also, there's a fortune fish in there for you! Highly recommended; don't wait.

QUITTER #7

review from Anne: QUITTER #7


30pages, 1/4 page (5.5 x4.25), $2 US, $3 CAN/MAX, $4 world, trades yes
Trace Ramsey
2907 Farthing St.
Durham NC 27704
traceramsey@gmail.com
cricketbread.com

QUITTER #7 is a perzine collection of creative non-fiction consisting of "memoir vignettes" -- #7 deals with months and seasons with specific stories arranged in no set order. Color-printed cover, staple-bound. It's a snappy little zine, immaculately set-up and easy to read (it's got a crisp layout and clear typeface). November's a little about hunting, what the author called "deer processing" and about family -- which is a theme that runs through many of the stories. Influenced by memory (weather real memories or constructed ones). Solid writing, complex sentences, evocative.

BROOKLYN #81

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #81

24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

More Brooklyn reviews! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn." History, photography, you name it and it’s in here…provided it’s got something to do with Fred’s favorite borough.  One of the things I particularly like about BROOKLYN is that the issues are always packed with photos, history (things that long-term residents know; every issue has kind of a small-neighborhood feel to it, which is a great advantage), and fabulous little Brooklyn tidbits. It's one of those reads that if you don't live there, it's kind of amazing -- like a little bit of armchair travel. If you do live there, I imagine it's like this whole other world discovering these bits of history and photos of houses and neighborhoods and such.

This issue is no exception. Fred's put together a special theme issue (and that theme is doors). The ever-hilarious "Brooklyn Lexicon and Pronounciation Guide" in each issue is a treat to read, and #81 includes such gems as "ommina" and "ongana." There's also a quick tour of Vinegar Hill in this issue, to incorporate a little history as well.

Always a fun read worth your time. So, whaddya waitin' for? Read some Brooklyn already!

OPUNTIA 71.3 (February 2012), 260 (St. Urho's Day 2013), 262 (May 2013), 263 (June 2013)

OPUNTIA 71.3 (February 2012),  260 (St. Urho's Day 2013), 262 (May 2013), 263 (June 2013)
16 pages (all issues), 5.5 x 8.5, $3 "cash for a one-time sample copy, trade for your zine, or letter of comment." (Note: Americans, please don't send checks; bank fees to cash them are high; US banknotes are better.)Dale SpeirsBox 6830Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 2E7

Here's the story: Whole-numbered OPUNTIAs are sercon, x.1 issues are reviewzines, x.2 issues are indexes, x.3 issues are apazines, and x.5 issues are perzines. However, Speirs wrote back in issue 248 that a lengthy project has shifted his writing, and so future issues will be a mix of articles and reviews. Dig? OK. Here we go.

So, in this span of issues, we've again got a good range of material; 71.3 is an apazine (that's worth googling, by the way, or read more about FAPA in #260), DNA and some non-fiction book reviews and an explanation of the title (see 260; I don't want to ruin the explanation!), evolution and a longer piece about "invisible folk other than the films based directly on Wells' novel" (262), and a review of a book about the history of a specific Toronto radio station as well as some interesting photographs (263). Now as ever, I kind of lean toward the perzine ones, but there's something here for everyone especially if you're into reviews.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A CALL FOR MAIL

  A CALL FOR MAIL

MAIL, MAIL ART AND LOVE LETTERS for this exhibition, send the Love Letters that you always wished you had sent

Exciting times! AnA Wojak started her work on The Very Terry Reid Award. In preparation for her BigCi residency in August she created a call for Love Letters that she posted on her Facebook. To help her, we also posted it on our Facebook and on BigCi website:
to participate see  http://bigci.org/new-news/ 

I am sending you the BigCi link, images and info if you'd like also to assist Ana with promotion of this project - it would be great if we generate letters for her.

She is also planning to create a performance at the end of her residency based on extracts from Love Letters.

I am sure it will be something special.
I would appreciate if everyone would pass this on to their friends.

Rae Bolotin
Enquiries should be directed to sculptor@raebolotin.com

Sunday, March 17, 2013

GRUNTED WARNING #13 (Oct 2011)
12 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 (digest), $2 (US, Can/Mex,World), trades yes
sstratu@gmail.com
Stratu
PO Box 35
Marrickville NSW 2204 AUSTRALIA

"Cut & paste zine featuring newspaper clippings of strange deaths, UFOs, all manner of bizarre and grotesque wonder." Extra copies & back issues available for $1.00, stamps (AUS), trade, friendly letter, or unusual/grotesque clippings." This zine is a delightfully weird find; it's got strange clippings of really weird stories and it's got an old-school zine style with the cut & paste approach. Weird and fun.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

PLAYERIST #1 (Dec 2011)
20 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 (A5 size), trades maybe
1 pound 50, US?, Can/Mex?, World?
Martin Slidel
martinslidel@facebook.com
facebook.com/playerist

Described by the editor as a "multi-media arts edition" this issue "is based on the themes of the dualities within love and loss." Inside, there are a number of works by a variety of artists; some poets, artwork, drawing, photographs -- it's an assortment of many different things. One of the most compelling ones is a series of photographs called "Previous Personality" that documents the artist's mother's descent into dementia. It's worth checking out for this piece alone.
OPUNTIA 69.1C (June 2010), 70.5A (July 2011), 70.5B (August 2011), 71 (Sept 2011), 71.1D (Jan 2012), 248 (April 2012), 251 (Stampede 2012), 259 (Feb 2013)
16 pages (all issues), 5.5 x 8.5, $3 "cash for a one-time sample copy, trade for your zine, or letter of comment." (Note: Americans, please don't send checks; bank fees to cash them are high; US banknotes are better.)
Dale Speirs
Box 6830
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 2E7

Okay, so I obviously have some catching up to do. Here's the story: Whole-numbered OPUNTIAs are sercon, x.1 issues are reviewzines, x.2 issues are indexes, x.3 issues are apazines, and x.5 issues are perzines. However, Speirs writes in issue 248 that a lengthy project has shifted his writing, and so future issues will be a mix of articles and reviews, and getting more time-sensitive work published (uh, unlike me, apparently. Sorry, folks.). Issue  #71.5 was the 247th issue, so...that's how we got to #248 and part of why that list up there is so initially baffling-looking. Dig? OK.

So, in this span of issues, we've got a good range of material, from earthquakes ("Shaking All Over" in #259), H.P. Lovecraft (#251), work and retirement (#70.5A) along with some really cool photographs and a very funny story about what a factory worker did on his last day of work to his alarm clock, trains, travel, and construction -- along with some intense mountain driving (70.5B). It's a pretty wild mix of different topics, but interesting reading nonetheless. I kind of lean toward the perzine ones, but there's something here for everyone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: PILTDOWNLAD #1: GÜERO CHINGÓN #1-5

Piltdownlad #1: Güero Chingón #1-5
These five, short mini-zines squeeze out the rawness of childhood into something distilled that causes your breath to catch. The first issue explains how, in an act of self-protection in shop class, the narrator becomes Güero Chingón. The second reveals how he figured out panhandling. #3 involves more childhood violence and the odd workings of childhood frienemys. The fourth is tragic and made me want to remove all the matches from my home. The final volume was about new clothes and the cruel pantomime of boys and girls. Recommended.
Piltdownlad #1: Güero Chingón #1-5
2011
Kelly Dessaint
PO Box 86714, Los Angeles, CA 90086
Email: piltdownlad@gmail.com
Website: www.piltdownlad.com
price: $3 US/ $ 3.50 Can/Mex / $4 World
trades: possible
size: 2”x3”
page count: 5 mini zines at 16 pages each

BROOKLYN #77

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #78 and #79

24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

More Brooklyn reviews! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn." History, photography, you name it and it’s in here…provided it’s got something to do with Fred’s favorite borough. One of the things I particularly like about BROOKLYN is that the issues are always packed with photos, history (things that long-term residents know; every issue has kind of a small-neighborhood feel to it, which is a great advantage), and fabulous little Brooklyn tidbits. It's one of those reads that if you don't live there, it's kind of amazing -- like a little bit of armchair travel. If you do live there, I imagine it's like this whole other world discovering these bits of history and photos of houses and neighborhoods and such.

The ever-hilarious "Brooklyn Lexicon and Pronounciation Guide" in each issue is a treat to read, and #78 has this Brooklyn reconfiguring of Jack Sprat (as you'd imagine, but in Brooklyn-ese), and #79 includes photos of Shakespeare in Brooklyn (Shakespeare on the Roof, really and truly on the roof of 57 Thames Street in East Williamburg), Totonno's (must-stop on a Brooklyn pizza tour), and The Hole (I'll leave you with some surprises for the issue).

Always a fun read worth your time. So, whaddya waitin' for? Read some Brooklyn already!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zine Symposium in Chicago (April 6, 2013) - free to public


OUTSIDERS: Zines, Samizdat, & Alternative Publishing

Saturday, April 6, 2013

This year’s symposium will explore the use of self-produced books and pamphlets to express individualized, unconventional, controversial, or prohibited messages. Topics will range widely in historical and geographical terms, and the speakers will address the current state of self-publishing as well as its history.

Free and open to the public.

The 2013 Caxton Club / Newberry Library
Symposium on the Book

The Newberry Library60 West Walton StreetChicagoIllinois 60610




Monday, February 4, 2013

Xerography Debt #32 NOW AVAILABLE!





To order a copy of this issue, please send $4 (order online, or send cash, stamps, money order, or check) to Microcosm Publishing

Cover Art by Bojan (Rigor Mortis)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
Basic Stuff You Should Know

COLUMNS

THE SOUNDTRACK TO DYSTOPIA By Al Burian
HELLO MISTER POSTMAN By Carlos Palacios
DECLINE OF NORTHERN CIVILIZATION: ON ZINES, DIY, AND ALASKA By Frank Harlan and Josh Medsker 
IT MEANS IT'S WANK: DIGITAL IS THE NEW MIDDLE AGED by Jeff Somers
RANDOM THOUGHTS ON ZINES FROM A SEMI-RETIRED SELF PUBLISHER by Kris M.
GLOOMY SUNDAYS: A VISIT TO IRA By Gianni Simone
EXITING THE ECHO CHAMBER By Joe Biel

REVIEWERS

Anne Thalheimer
D. Blake Werts
Carlos Palacios
Davida Gypsy Breier
Donny Smith
Eric Lyden
Fred Argoff
Gavin Grant
Joe Biel
Josh Medsker
Julie Dorn
Liz Mason
Maynard Welstand
Stuart Stratu

Announcements
Index


Monday, November 12, 2012

From A.j. Michel: SP 22: Six Categories -- Call for Entries


From A.j. Michel: SP 22: Six Categories -- Call for Entries
In the beginning of the novel Microserfs*, Douglas Coupland has each of his characters list their dream Jeopardy! categories, fields of expertise such as “Career anxieties”, “Cats”, “Psychotic loser friends”, and “Macintosh products”. I can’t remember much else from this nearly twenty-year old novel, but these character “introductions” remain stuck in a shadowy corner of my memory. I’ve mentally made lists of my ideal Jeopardy! boards, with categories like “The Simpsons, Seasons 1 to 8” and “Postage” and “Job Dissatisfaction”.
It’s your turn to list your six ideal Jeopardy! categories that showcase your unique knowledge, quirks, neuroses, talents, habits, whatever.
Email the following to syndprod@gmail.com with the words Six Categories in the subject line.
1. Your six ideal Jeopardy! categories. These should be single words, short phrases, or very short sentences. Brevity is the soul of wit and all that. (Please nothing racist, sexist, overtly sexual, distasteful, etc. If you want to list off sexual things you’re really good at, go fill out an OK Cupid dating profile.)
2. For the credit line, your name and electronic contact information as you want it to appear. For example: Jane Doe - www.janedoe.com or John Doe - john@johndoe.com.
Deadline is DECEMBER 12, 2012. This is a firm deadline. Entries will be printed in the order they are received. You’ll receive a copy of the finished zine as compensation.
Disclaimer: This zine has absolutely no connection to Douglas Coupland, Microserfs, or the television program Jeopardy!
*A long excerpt of what became the novel Microserfs is available here:www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.01/microserfs.html

Friday, September 14, 2012

AWKWARD POSTURE #9

review from Anne: AWKWARD POSTURE #9
16 pages, 6.5 x 6 inches, $2 (everywhere)
trades yes.

Matt Young
thatmatt@apostrophepress.com

AWKWARD POSTURE is a project of five journal comics a week for a year that ends up getting collected into 12 minicomics. It's book 9 of 12 in the series and details last year's trip to the Small Press Expo. Full disclosure -- I was in on this trip (which is always a blast) and so have a fondness for the book. Basically Matt's a cartoonist who survived comics college in White River Junction and decided to do a series of "weekdaily" journal comics. There's a cat and some comics and, overall, it's an interesting project. I love autobio work and this one's a fun title. Includes irthday cats, papercutter accidents, travel, flippin' the bird with a broken finger, bad birthday hats, and mayhem on the road! Take that, Small Press Expo! See you next year!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Canister X Comics

review from Anne: CANISTER X COMIX (No. 1--October 2011, 2--January 2012, and 3--April 2012)

20 pages (#2 is 24 pages), 5.5 x 8.5 $3 US, $3 Can/Mex, $4 world, trades maybe
A.P Fuchs
coscomentertainment@gmail.com
www.canisterx.com

Quarterly perzine/comic that's mostly autobio (though issue #3 is fiction and uses words with photographs rather than the drawing we see in #1 and #2). No. 2 is a 24-hour comic (and the back cover copy is pretty funny: "Inside this issue: a sleepless night, a bizarre superhero's origin, kids and bad language, expensive cupcakes,...and more!) with a wild array of various topics (there's a piece on "navel gazing" that's both gross and terribly funny) and it turns out the cupcake's a muffin (I'm not going to ruin the surprise on that one). But of all the issues I really found myself getting into the first one the most -- it's an origin story of how the author came to be where he is (writing and publishing; check out the website), but it's told in this really interesting, straightforward way that just pulls you in. I like autobio work generally, but I really kind of related to someone who was just putting it out there and explaining why he was doing what he was doing. It's worth checking out for sure.

BROOKLYN #77

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #77

24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

More Brooklyn reviews! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn." History, photography, you name it and it’s in here…provided it’s got something to do with Fred’s favorite borough. I honestly kind of love that I always end up with an issue of BROOKLYN in my mailbox; this particular one's theme is Bushwick.

I actually really like the photo on the cover of #77 -- it's a long aerial shot of a typical Brooklyn street, but I really just like the composition of it with the street dissolving off on the horizon. #77's a little different than other issues, because it's themed -- and it's full of interesting photographs and Brooklyn history. What I love about this title is that it always reminds me of the borough's rich and storied history; it's a history tour, but with current photographs; it's a fun, interesting read. Get yourself some Brooklyn already (and be sure to check out the Brooklyn-themed zazzle.com stamps Fred's been using for postage lately).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Call for submissions for Blackguard #5 from Stratu


I can announce the theme for Blackguard #5 - it's gonna be the SCIENCE issue!

And I want you to be in there, if you can get your pens, inks and test
tubes in order, that is.

Or if you know somebody who would like to be a part of it please go
ahead and forward this to them.

I want one-two page strips only. Blind me with science, baby!

Deadline is October 31, 2012.

Thanks to Shaun Craike for coming up with the theme. Many other good
ones, but Science really hit me in the guts as The One.

Anything else you need to know? Wanna do a colour page strip? Email
me. I'm pretty sure I got the cover sorted, but that means three other
colour pages ... for strips, preferably.

Now, to the laboratory!
Perfect [Lab] Leader Stratu
sstratu@gmail.com

blackguard23.livejournal.com
Blackguard
PO Box 35
Marrickville NSW 2204
Australia

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fuzz Society #1 and #2 and Average Jill #1

The short version is that Fuzz Society #1 and #2 are collections of a webcomic and Average Jill is a 24-hour comic. The longer version's a little cuter; Fuzz Society basically follows Lyra Ladybug as she flies far from home and makes some new friends, including an interesting cast of other characters (Tex, a turtle, and Phyllis, a lovebird, among a few others). Roxanne writes in the afterword of the first issue that she and her husband developed the concept together and these first two books are a way for her to introduce Lyra and the rest of the cast of characters. It so far looks like it's something that all ages could read, though Lyra's a little bit boy-crazy (well, maybe not boy, exactly --  you'll have to read it to find out, but the cover design for the second issue reads "Love is in the air...").

Average Jill #1 is a 24-hour comic summed up well byt he back cover: "Meet Jill. She may not be the smartest or hottest girl on the block, but she's got charm. And will. Get your laughs on in 24 one-shot panels, created as part of a 24-hour comic, which focus on such topics as dating, relationships, parenting, and work life, and maybe you'll see a part of yourself in her. Just maybe." Her titles for these one-panel comics are pretty funny, and if you're a parent, you'll probably really get a kick out of the ones about parenting--they're among the best in the book.

Fuzz Society #1 and #2 (Oct 2010 and Aug 2011)
Average Jill #1 (2011)
Roxanne Fuchs
coscomentertainment@gmail.com
www.fuzzsociety.com
$3 US / $3 Can/Mex / $4 World
trades: maybe
Half-legal (9 inches tall x 6 inches wide)
20 pages, 28 pages, and 24 pages, full color covers, professionally printed

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #76

24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

More Brooklyn reviews! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn." History, photography, you name it and it’s in here…provided it’s got something to do with Fred’s favorite borough. #76 has a little bit of everything--photographs, old advertisements relating to Brooklyn, an interesting history piece ("A Little History Won't Kill You"), a visit to Bergen Beach, as well as the always-appreciated Brooklyn Lexicon & Pronounciation Guide #61 (these always make me laugh like crazy.). Lots of photographs; even those of you who are not familiar with Brooklyn are most likely going to enjoy what you read! Get yourself some BROOKLYN already!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Xerography Debt #31 Coming June 2012


Available from Microcosm in June 2012

To order a copy of this issue, please send $4 (order online, or send cash, stamps, money order, or check) to Microcosm Publishing

Cover Art by Bojan (Rigor Mortis)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
Basic Stuff You Should Know
The Pre-natal Death of the E-book by Joe Biel 
It Means It's Wank by Jeff Somers
Expatriation Daze by Al Burian
Gloomy Sundays by Gianni Simone
At Home in the World of Zines by Carlos Palacios
Index Zine 
Review Form

THE REVIEWS
Anne Thalheimer
Carlos Palacios
D. Blake Werts
Davida Gypsy Breier
Eric Lyden
Fred Argoff
Joe Biel
Julie Dorn
Liz Mason
Maynard Welstand
Stuart Stratu

Monday, April 2, 2012

Posted on behalf of the Salford Zine Library

Hello my name’s Craig and I run the Salford Zine Library.

Many people have different ideas what a zine is. But I will try and sum up what a zine is to me.

A zine is a publication self-made and printed independently by the author. Production methods vary from primitive tools such as photocopiers, pens, paper and the trademark stapler. They can also be professionally printed and made to a very high technical standard and presented as artists’ book.

In the two years since the archive was opened the lively world of zines and our library has continued to flourish and grow. We welcome contributions from everyone. To date we have had nearly 1500 submissions from all over the world. Thank you to those who have donated so far….

Many people who have visited the library and come to past exhibitions have been truly inspired.  They have then gone on to make zines of their own and self-publish work they have wanted to share for a long time.

Here at Salford Zine Library there is no curatorship. We do not wish to be the arbiters of taste. The library is completely inclusive and your contribution is important. We tour the UK visiting schools, universities, public art galleries and book fairs.

Since the exhibition came to a close at Salford Museum and Art Gallery the library has been homeless. I have been desperately seeking a new place for it to reside. Looking for a pleasant and safe environment where people can comfortably read and peruse the archive at their own leisure. After much toing and froing looking for the right spaceI have been offered a permanent room at the Nexus Art Café in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

In its new home the archive will be accessible seven days a week from mid May but as you can see the space needs work. With your help and the skills of master craftsman Andy Yates – a man who  says he can drill through anything - we can transform the space into the ideal new home we have long since dreamed of.

Our aim is to raise one thousand pounds by the end of April 2012.

The money raised will go towards the building of shelves, comfy seats to sit down and read, lighting and giving the walls a nice lick of paint.

When the space is clean and safe we can deliver workshops as part of our educational programme and you can read you favourite zines in calm creative comfort.

You can donate in these amounts:

  • For £5! You get an invite to the opening launch night.
  • For £10! You also receive a freshly burnt DVD of the Salford Zine Library film ‘Self-Publishers of the World Take Over.’
  • For £20! Add to it a guided tour of the 3 x 5 metres room with head librarian Craig John Barr.
  • And for £50 and upwards! You get all of the previously mentioned plus you can pick an original piece of artwork listed from my website portfolio. 

Please be generous and give today!