We Make Zines

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I was looking over Jack Cheiky's Syndicated Zine Reviews Blog Spot a few weeks ago, and it seemed like where before, there were plenty of physical addresses one could send cash to for zines, most or all of the more recent ones were only available on-line by ordering through "Etsy".

Now, I'm so internet-ignorant, I don't know much about Etsy other than that it's a supposedly smaller, friendlier, "more underground" equivalent to PayPal, which, I've read, has gotten quite a bad reputation, though many of the technicalities why, are probably too complicated for me to understand.

I tried to ask questions about Pay Pal at my bank. I didn't understand how any money I got through Pay Pal---I was doing a little E-Bay selling at the time---get's deposited in my bank account, and if it did, what charges were involved. They said it was none of their concern, they had no answers for me, and I'd have to ask Pay Pal about it. Well, I've tried contacting computer companies before, and it is no easy task to wind your way through the never-ending labyrinth of automated "help" sites and "phone menus" (if you're even lucky enough to FIND a phone number to call).

So, and I mean no rancour to anybody who uses Etsy as either a buyer or seller, I really prefer to order zines the old fashioned way, by sending greenbacks through the mail. I've done this for years and I don't think there's any great risk involved. Conceptually, it's just simpler for this old Neanderthal.

But what worried me when I was searching through SZR was that buying zines with cash through the mail is yet another good old custom of zine culture that's gradually being encroached upon by high-technology, UNINTENTIONALLY phased out. Now, I'm not saying anybody's doing this to be "mean" or "insensitive", or that it's a deliberate attempt to slam the door shut on us internet-challenged folks, but like with a lot of things, it FEELS to me like one of those gradual, almost unconscious ENCROACHMENTS on yet another aspect of zine culture. There are some of us who just aren't comfortable with things like Etsy and may have doubts about it. Maybe someday we'll "sign up" for Etsy, maybe we won't. But I'd be saddened if I, and others even less internet-capable than I am, were prevented from buying ever more zines, because they weren't on Etsy. Couldn't we keep BOTH ways open?

Please, anybody who sells zines through Etsy, don't take this as a personal attack. It's very possible I'm not understanding something. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, and if necessary, your corrections.

James N. Dawson

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I just got a $5 cash payment in the mail for zines someone bought from etsy and still periodically get dolla dolla bills in the post. I don't think it's dying so much as I think people are more cautious and there are more ways to pay for zines.
Yeah it's kind of odd using Paypal to pay for a zine which costs a couple dollars.However the days of sending a dollar and /or stamps for a zine are long behind us.Most zines now are pretty much up at the $4 +mark now.
I love getting dollars in the mail, I can't spend them living in the UK but it's still part of the coolness of running a zine!
Etsy isn't like paypal. www.etsy.com it's a website solely for selling handmade stuff and art, and you can take any type of payment you like, paypal cash or cheque

Also it's pretty annoying for me to be sent cash from the US. I live in the UK, and I have to go to the bank or post office specifically to exchange my $2 or whatever. I really have no money whatsoever this year, and I try not to get very out of pocket with zines, so I actually have something to live on.
I'm the opposite to you, completely new school, I hadn't really thought of how zines operated before the internet came along... I'm charmed by the idea though. I used to love getting American dollars in the mail from an old aunt over there and taking it to exchange at the bank.

I was wondering how non-etsy cash payments were made for zines because I would like to (eventually) be able to sell my zine in other ways. I guess cheques and direct deposits are possibilities too.
For international folks, there's always the option of sending IRCs instead of cash. Although, my perception is that IRCs get used so infrequently in the U.S. that post offices here sometimes give you grief and/or don't know how to handle them. In the U.S., IRCs (International Reply Coupons) cost $2.10 and are exchangeable in most other countries for stamps equal to the minimum postage for an air letter.

What I lament is the diminishing number of zines I see available for trade. When I was regularly producing a perzine, I much preferred getting trades to getting cash, because the result was (usually) something new and interesting to read. I would receive zines that I might not have ordered on my own (out of laziness or procrastination or lack of awareness about said zine), and it was through trades that I developed most of my best zine friendships.
for me, got payment for zines in a international way is too complicated. i let my selling zines to my own country. foreign, i prefer the trade. in My country (Brazil) i must exchage dollars, to then see how send by post the money... too complicated.
ill still post cash dollars for zines. usually i try to email the zine first to make sure the postal address is still functional and see if they want to trade.
dont use that internet larky for ordering zines at all. no credit card, dont intend to get one either...
I have a Pay Pal account, but until somebody brought it up to me it never occured to me that I could use it to take payment for zines. I enjoy getting envelopes with dollar bills in them, but if I thought I would get a lot more orders if I made my Pay Pal info public i would do it. But I don't think I've ever seen a zine that was only available for order over the internet. At worst you may have to go to the library and send them an e mail to get a mailing address.

Also, I had a friend who was getting back into zines after a long absence and she said she sent for something like 20 zines through the mail and 3 months later she had recieved maybe 3 or 4 zines. Now if that had happened to me I think I'd be pretty wary about sending off money for zines as well. At least with Pay pal there's some sort of protection if you get screwed. I doubt it'd be worth it for a $3 zine, but it's the principle of the thing.

"What I lament is the diminishing number of zines I see available for trade. When I was regularly producing a perzine, I much preferred getting trades to getting cash, because the result was (usually) something new and interesting to read. I would receive zines that I might not have ordered on my own (out of laziness or procrastination or lack of awareness about said zine), and it was through trades that I developed most of my best zine friendships."

Now this here... while I could really care less about dollar bills in the mail vs. Pay pal or Etsy (I don't really know what Etsy is either) I will say that anyone who does a zine but doesn't do trades is really kinda missing the whole fucking point of the thing. If you don't know what it's like to go to your mailbox and get treated to a new zine you've never heard of but end up loving then I fucking pity you, my friend. Even getting a lousy zine you'd never read if you had your druthers can be fun. And those times when you'd read about a zine, decide to order it and then before you even have a chance to do so it pops up in your mailbox. I can understand fair trades or asking for an e mail before trading or whatever, but not trading at all is just wrong.
Oh yeah, one thing I really find weird is when people will send you a check for $2 to order a zine. If nothing else the bank teller gives you a weird look when you come in with a $2 check.
Thanks EVERYBODY for the replies. I can't answer you all individually, but here a few replies to specific people:

EMMA JANE, I guess I did misunderstand Etsy. I think I read a post on Zine Geeks where somebody was comparing it to PayPal, and this may have been the source of my confusion. I took a look at the Etsy site via your link and I didn't seem to find a seperate zine category on the home/directory page, but when I clicked on a zine being sold through Etsy on Syndicated Zine Reviews, it did bring me to that zine. I see you can pay by credit card or cash. I didn't see a physical address to send cash, but I guess I'd have to "contact seller", or proceed a little more in the checkout process to see that address.

On Cypress Lawn Country Club (www.cypresslawncountryclub.com), I liked what Dave Szurek had to say---You don't forget where you came from. I just hope people who aren't on the net or don't have enough money to repair their computer when it breaks down or crashes, are blocked out of too many zines as Etsy becomes more popular. I hope a new way doesn't eclipse an old way, that some zine lovers might prefer, if only now and then.

No judgment, just a thought.

I so seldom get overseas orders (or any orders for that matter) getting "extra-national" currency is hardly an issue, but why not just keep the money and use it to order zines from the country it came from? (Or am I missing something?)

I agree with ANDREW. I think collecting foreign money's kind of fun. I put it in my SPECIAL TREASURE CHEST!

JERRIANE: I was under the impression from trying to buy some IRC's at a couple different post offices that they'd been phased out. They did act like it was a big inconvenience to find them for me, and I'm pretty sure they said they weren't going to sell them anymore. I suppose they could have been lying or should I say "negligent with the facts". A lot of overseas people specifically ask for dollars in ZW, so, while not dismissing those who don't like them, it doesn't seem to be that much of a problem for a lot of overseas zinesters. Are IRC's any more convenient or economical that plain old U.S. or Canadian dollars? Instead of hassling with the P.O. trying to get IRC's just send dollars you've accumulated through U.S. or other orders.

ERIC: Several comments on this thread imply that PayPal is a significant expense, and maybe Etsy is too. Frankly, I've never really sat down and done the arithmentic----too lazy, busy, etc. Could I be making a bigger issue of it than it is? What about the price of a postage stamp? I admit I don't think much about that as an extra "transaction fee" when I buy a zine through the p-mail. Maybe I should.

When I was doing E-Bay---and taking cash, check & money order---I wasn't very aware of the fees, though I glance at them, and they were always a little more than I expected them to be. And they seemed to raise them intermittently. All of which has made me a little paranoid about being nicked & dimed to death in surreptitious ways. But hey, until I really sit down and do some hard numerical comparisons, I can't say for sure whether there is any saving or not in paying via p-mail.

If you buy or sell a $2, 3 or 4 dollar zine, how much would go to PayPal?

The response rate of the girl you mention seems REALLY bad. I've lost money and all, but I don't THINK it was nearly that bad. Maybe things have changed a lot since the internet's taken off.

When I pay for something with dollars, I usually stick in one of my 3-sheet JUNK ZINES or some other assortment of writings, just to spice up my mailing. I like the convenience sometimes of order on-line with my credit card---no, I'm not worried about identity theft, whether I should be or not---but though often---not always---"quick and easy"---it's a little chilly. Fine for big companies, but I think zinesters deserve, and I hope, want, better. I've tried sending attachements with my e-mails just to make thinks more interesting, but it was a wearisome rigmarole, and I think they turned out all glitchy, and may have been unreadable by the receiver.

Okay, that's it for now. (I hear your sighs of relief). MAY have more later. (I hear your groans).
I write a lot of zine reviews, and I know it's proper to write out the full address of the author at the end, but I usually go with an email or website if there is one listed. Because you never know if somebody is going to read that review in 2 years and send their money to an address that the zinester moved out of a year ago. Also, if the mailing address for a zine is misprinted or if you screw up just one of the letters or numbers, then you're out a couple bucks.



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