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