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.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Letter to the Editor

It was good timing that we received this letter to the editor as we shifted to the web. While we prefer paper, this blog is offering speed, fewer dead trees, and crikey the postage rates are going up again on Monday....


I read your call for opinions in Issue 22 of XD.

Personally, I prefer the paper format. But, as you said, the cost of postage (it now costs 97 cents to send a little half size, 24 page zine across the U.S.) has risen to a point that, if you want to recoup your costs of printing (which are also outrageous!) you have to charge more than folks are really willing to pay for a zine.

The way I handle the problem is this:

I print my perzines the old fashioned way. Black and white photocopy all the way!
People who love zines will buy a perzine. I, myself, don't even bother reading personal blogs. For the most part I find them boring. I don't care that you went shopping with your boyfriend today and I really don't care that you ate a hot dog. I'd rather read the perzine that's been filtered down to just the juicy stuff. Plus, I like to see people's drawings and pictures, and the way they mesh it all together on a page.

But my cultural zine - the one in which I review other zines, publish personal essays, interview artists and support local activism - has moved strictly to the web at samplepressonline.com.
I had printed eleven issues over the course of three years and I found that, as blogs became more popular and big magazines were printing every article on the internet, people did not want to pay for paper zines. My subscribership dwindled while my web hits kept climbing
When I finally printed issue eleven, I couldn't hawk that thing to save my life. So, I called it quits on the paper game and transferred everything to the website.

I'd love to start printing it again, but unless someone is willing to pay for it, there's no point.

In the interest of environmentalism, though, I have to say that the internet does provide a nice waste-free haven for underground authors.

But, dang it, there's something so nice about the tangibility of a paper zine!
You can collect 'em, trade 'em, buy 'em, sell 'em, draw on 'em and keep 'em in your pocket or purse to read while you're getting your oil changed.

And, you know that some effort went into the deal, that someone sat down and wrote and cut and pasted and fretted over that zine, just so they could share a story with you.
And that's really cool.

Jennifer Manriquez

1 comment:

Eric Lyden said...

Oh, personal blogs are more or less unreadable. Even reading the good ones I say to myself "edit it some and you'd have a decent zine." With zines you're footing the bill so you can't just drop in every idiotic thought that pops into your head. You have to pick and choose the cream of the crop of your idiotic thoughts.

I think a review zine works well as a blog just because there's a chance it could be timely because with all due respect to pretty much every review zine ever, it's more or less impossible for them to be timely. While I like print I also like timeliness.

And hopefully I'll be posting some reviews here in a day or 2 or 3.