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, May 16, 2008

Envelope Rage

It's pouring rain here in Hoboken today, so instead of wandering the neighborhood searching people's trash for usable items and being physically ejected from local businesses, I guess I'll do some of my rainy day activities and post here. Such is the glamorous life of the piddling published author.

I have often referred to my disdain--hatred, really--of zines that arrive in the mail sans envelope, usually just taped or stapled shut with the address and stamp directly on the back cover. Oh how I despise this. I can see that you save some money; if you need 6x9 envelopes you save a whopping 7.2 cents an issue. So if your print run is 500 issues, you're saving like $36, which for some folks is a significant proportion of their rent or food budget that month--and let's face it, DIY publishers tend towards the poor side of existence, since we obviously have absolutely no concept of the value of our time.

Ah, but consider what you lose: You might as well take your freshly printed issues, crisply folded and professionally saddle-stapled, and burn the whole damn lot of them, because the chances that they will get to their destination in one piece is roughly the same as me being sober as I write this. Which is to say, none.

Maybe the postal handlers in my town are more range-filled than other places; I've never received a zine mailed without an envelope that didn't arrive tattered, stained, and, in many cases, apparently chewed on by rabid animals. Seven cents seems a small price to pay to ensure that your zine doesn't arrive missing pages, or with a dozen pages stuck together in a brick-like consistency that rivals the most advanced polymers for tensile strength and hardness. It also seems like a cheap way to avoid having water damage make your zine completely unreadable, which has happened several times.

Every now and then a zine without an envelope does arrive in pristine condition, I admit, and it is always a cause for rejoicing. We have a little feast and some dancing here at Swine Compound when this happens--though it often turns tragic when we attempt to actually undo the tape or staples holding the zine shut, usually resulting in damage to the zine, and occasionally damage to my fingers.

Then again, I am frequently drunk when attempting to open these zines, so it may be my fault. And it's been said that bursting into tears and violently flinging the zine against the wall because of a paper cut is not exactly manly behavior, which would explain the pointing and laughing I have to endure from time to time. Manly or not, it's damned annoying. The best is when the zine is sealed with more than one piece of tape, resulting in an epic battle that I usually only win in the sense that I prove my dominance over inert paper products by throwing the whole thing into the trash.

Naturally, I don't expect anyone to pay any attention to me at all, continuing an unbroken trend of 10+ years of the zine community, such as it is, ignoring me more or less completely. I certainly wouldn't care what anyone had to say about the manufacturing process of my own zine, and being lectured on something about it weould probably result in me doing the exact opposite, because I'm that brand of stupid that thinks being contrary = being smart. If that were true I'd be a freaking genius. Don't say anything, you bastards.


Anonymous said...

I've never once received an envelope-less zine that didn't look like it had been consumed, digested and then promptly shat out by Godzilla himself. If a zine is too torn up when it arrives or if it appears to be covered in some sort of grime that I don't really want pulsating through my home (for fear that it may spread to other paper products, such as my TP), I'll just toss it.

Them's the breaks, kids. Just spring for the damn envelope and let's all do our part to keep Godzilla's digestion in a state of healthy stasis. 'kay?

Eric Lyden said...

Here's what I always figure- if I can spring for an envelope then anyone who has talken on the financial responsibility of doing a zine can afford an envelope. There have been times I have reused old envelopes, but for Pete's sake, using no envelope at all just does not work. I'm also no fan of zines that don't use staples or bind the pages together in any way. I know y'all wanna be different, but sometimes it just makes sense to do things a certain way.

The Inner Swine said...

I have nothing against re-used envelopes--encourage the practice, in fact--or even created envelopes. Some artistic types take some drawings they've done and make an envelope out of them, and I've seen just about everything maede into an envelope--newspaper, wrapping paper, advertisements--all I ask is a protective sheath. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive.