I visited the Sticky Institute in Melbourne yesterday and bought a few zines and recorded a video asking the team a few basic questions about zines. The store has a wide selection of zines, and there's a membership / mail list where you can sign up and receive zines in the mail. If you're a zine-writer, you can contact the store and have them stock your zines. Their website also includes an impressive "Zineopedia" of Melbourne based zines which is a great resource for anyone wanting to find out more about zines. Though the best way would be to visit the store if you're in Melbourne, their website if you're not in Melbourne, or a local zine-festival and buy & read some zines. Or even better, start your own!
visit http://www.stickyinstitute.com for more details
store details :
Degraves St Subway
Shop 10 Campbell Arcade Melbourne
stickyshop @ gmail.com (remove the spaces)
(if you're not from Melbourne like me, it's opposite the train station on Flinders St, about half way (Flinders between Swanston & Elizabeth) - go downstairs towards the station subway and you'll see it)
PO Box 310 Flinders Lane Vic Australia 8009
One of the zines I bought was the "Anyone can.. " zine (anyone can make a zine) which launched the same day by the City Library Street Press. The City Library Street Press are quite active, having a few projects on the go and regular meetings at the library for zinesters and writers to get involved with. The "Anyone can.." zine also includes a MAP of Melbourne city showing writers & zinester spots of interest eg libraries, stores, artist spaces.
I also bought Anna Poletti's book "Intimate Ephemera : Reading Young Lives in Australian Zine Culture" whilst at Sticky. I've been to some of her panel sessions at the National Young Writers Festival in Newcastle & Critical Animals as part of This is Not Art (TiNA) over the years, so was glad to find her PhD book in the store too. The book is also available as an e-book (pdf) or d-book (pod / print on demand) from Melbourne University Publishing e-store
I haven't finished the book yet, but here's one passage about what a zine is [pg 11-12] :
"Personal zines do not share many of the characteristics of he texts that make up the bulk of sources studied in literary or cultural studies and, more specifically, scholarship on auto/biography. Of central importance to these non-traditional texts is the fact that sines are not mass-produced; they are not published by a professional publishing house, and thus not 'sanctioned as significant by [their] status as a mass produced commodity' (Huff 510). Moreover, zines are not easily available, do not participate in standardised modes of presentation and distribution, and are not well recognised within literary communities or among the reading (most commonly constituted as 'book-buying') public. Zines are homemade, ephermeral and amateur. They circulate among communities of readers through the mail, in out-of-the-way spaces, and are passed around hand-to-hand among social groups. They are also non-traditional because of the modes of emplotment that characterise them; in the case of personal zines, we find a unique mixture of established modes of life writing, such as the diary, alongside zine-specific narratives such as cut'n'paste collage. These material and textual idiosyncranasies challenge the literary critic to practise 'connected reading', which Gillian Whitlock describes as a practice which 'pulls at the loose threads of autobiography, and uses them to make sutures between, across and among autobiographical narratives' (Intimate Empire 204)".
I also like this definition by Richard A Stoddart and Teresa Kiser in Poletti's book [pg 27]
"Zines are a written product of the human need for self-expression. Beyond that, zines are hard to define."
on page 7-8, Poletti gives Duncombe's list for a 'zine taxonomy'. I thought this was very similar to the original definitions of video blogs when they'd first started (video blogs came after zines of course!) - my attempt was this video blog mind map before I realised it was crazy to try and define all the combinations - a simple all encompassing definition of 'video on a blog' was more appropriate, and did it matter anyway.. every now and then the videoblogging list starts up a new 'what is a video blog' thread - I suppose it is the same for all sub-communities that are less commonly known / new. the response below also reminds me of the videoblogging list arguments towards a simpler definition (or no definition), and at least a step away from a taxonomy.
"genres of zines: fanzines (broken down into subcategories by subject, that is music and sports), political zines, personal zines, scene zines (covering local and community events in the zinester's area), network zines (which review zine publications), fringe culture zines (covering UFOs, conspiracy theories and so on), religious zines, vocational zines (detailing 'life on the job'), health zines, sex zines, travel zines, comix, literary zines, art zines and 'the rest'"
... "the collapse of Duncombe's taxonomy into 'the rest - a large category' underscores the futility of attempting to solidify or organise a definition of zines based on their content. As Kirsty Leishman argues: 'Duncombe's work reveals that zines are ill contained and thus it is useful because it relieves subsequent researchers from pursuing such an arduous, yet futile, endeavour'(7)."