What is a Zine?
Zines are self-published magazines or pamphlets. Typically, they are photocopied 8.5 x 5.5 inch booklets. Anarchists use zines to circulate our ideas and analysis. Zines have been common place in the anarchist space since the 1980s.
For us, we trace the history of zines to the DIY punk scene in the 1980s. Zines -- a shortened version of the term “fanzine“ -- were a way to circulate information about bands that weren‘t covered in mainstream music publications. As portions of the punk scene became more politicized, zines became a way to circulate information about the political ideas behind the music. In the context of the punk scene, this generally mean anarchism.
The production of zines within the anarchist space connects to the longstanding tradition of anarchists circulating their ideas via small circulation pamphlets and booklets. Pamphlets have been one of the primary forms of anarchist media since the origins of anarchism as a political idea. Self-produced pamphlets have been instrumental in circulating anarchist ideas and have contributed to a vibrant culture of discussion and debate.
Zines remain an important way to circulating anarchist ideas in the 21st century. They provide an important real world way to encounter the idea of anarchy.
A Definition from ZineWorld
Zine World: A Reader‘s Guide to the Underground press was a publication covered the zine culture. It was published from 1996 to 2012. Their “Zines 101: A Quick Guide to Zines“ provides a good overview zines.
What Is a Zine?
A zine (pronounced “zeen,” like “magazine”) is a self-published, small circulation, non-commercial booklet or magazine, usually produced by one person or a few individuals. Zines come in all shapes, sizes, topics, and formats. Most zines are photocopied, but they can also be printed offset, like a magazine or newspaper. Zines range from handwritten and sloppy to cut-and-paste (text pasted on top of background images) to artsy with handmade touches to produced on a computer with a professional looking layout. Zines may incorporate screenprinting, linoleum cuts, and hand-stitched bindings. Most zines have print runs of a couple dozen to a few hundred copies.
In a zine, you might find typos, improper grammar, and brilliant or radical or just plain honest ideas that you don’t normally see in Time, Newsweek, or People. A zine can be about whatever subject its creator decides upon, or it may contain a variety of subjects and writing styles within the same issue. Zines can include personal essays, political discussions, fiction, craft or do-it-yourself advice, articles about music or movies, comics, poetry, reviews – anything under the sun, really. Zines are personal and idiosyncratic. The best thing about zines is this: There are no rules
Why publish a zine?
To see your work in print. To share what you created. To encourage others to be creative. To find and connect with other people who have similar interests. To get mail. To make new friends. To create the publication you always wished existed. To share information. To educate. To change people’s minds. To teach yourself something new. To get something off your chest. To make yourself a better writer or artist. The reasons for publishing a zine are as diverse and unique as the individuals who create zines.
You can find all of our zines in free PDF format in our catalog.
Beyond the titles included in our catalog, you can check out Links page for links to other zine distributors or our monthly zine posts.
The website ZineWiki.com has a wealth of information on different zines and zine history.