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Got a "Not Quite a Zine" Yesterday, Not Sure What to Do

Yesterday I was pleased to see a large hand addressed, hand postaged envelope from Australia. But my pleasure was short lived when I opened it up.

It was a thick papered, colored glossy "magazine", not much different than AAA's Via (formerly Motorland). It was about Australian aborigines, but more about international concerts performed by aborigines, coffee table books and other projects. It was called The Others/Les Autres, and was bilingual, in English and French.

There was no note inside, so I'm not sure if they were sending me this for a trade or to review. If I knew, I wouldn't be in quite the dilemma I feel I am now.

Am I being "reverse snobbish" about this slick, ultra-pro "zine"? Could this be the addressees "labor of love" just as legitimately as my photocopied zine is a labor of love for me? Was is sent to me by one zinester to another in a spirit of "tradership", or is it a slick "travel magazine" I'm supposed to plug in a zine the sender neithers knows nor cares about?

Do I send my own zine in trade? The cost of shipping alone to Australia is hefty? I guess 7 to 10 dollars (but I'm not sure). Does this person care about getting my zine at all? If they did, I'd be more willing to bear that expense, but as I've mentioned, there was no note.

I guess I'm stuck between feeling guilty, "elitist", unfriendly and hurtful on the one hand and foolish for sending a zine at considerable expense to somebody who may not care at all to get it.

Any thoughts?

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Is there an email address?
If it was unsolicited, you can do what thou wilt. Wanna review it? Decide whether it's small press enough for you to do so, however you define that. I could see reviewing an independent magazine like Bitch or Bust or even JPG. I not long ago reviewed Worn Fashion Journal for Zine World, but that might be more small press than this bilingual megazine. Maybe send a postcard as thanks. Or if you really dig it, have someone else review it.
As far as I'm concerned no note means no obligation to do anything. If you enjoy it you can review it or trade or whatever, but otherwise ignore it. Hell, even if you do like it you can feel free to ignore it. If they can't take the 2 seconds to write a note reading "Wanna trade?" or "Please review" then it ain't your problem.
There is never an obligation to trade with someone unless you have already decided with the particular person that you are willing to trade with them. I've never heard of this particular zine slash whatever it is. I wouldn't be interested in it if it looks like it's selling something.
Thanks all for the replies.

First, I want to amend a little of what I wrote above. My first impression was of a professional travel magazine, but I see after looking it over and reading it a little more that it's on a touring art exhibition with the theme of Australian aborigenes. I typed in [les autres, the others, jenny] in the Google search box and I believe the first entry was the website for this magazine, in case anyone wants to look at it. So I was perhaps unfair and premature in calling it a "travel" magazine and comparing it to Via.

HEATH and BIRD IN THE HAND: In Zine World I have as my "price" $3 or TRADE. My understanding is that when you say "Trade" you mean just that. Only when it says "Selective Trade" are you not "obligated" to send a trade in return. This has always been "zine etiquette" as I've understood it.

I was thinking of reviewing it but I'm not sure if I really want to. It's not really my subject. But I might and if I decide to, it my be my first entry to Alt.Zines

ERIC: I agree you should send at least a few words explaining why you're sending a zine, but maybe she just forgot to include the note. I've done that a few times. I've also forgotten to enclose dollars.

WES: The layout's all sort of avant guarde, chic and disorienting so if there's an e-mail address I haven't found it yet. But I'm sure it'd be on the website, so yes, I guess I could send her an e-mail "thank you" and offer her my zine in return if she wants it. But then I'd wonder if she was just saying she wanted it to be polite.

Well, I guess maybe you've helped me solve my problem. Maybe I was making too big a thing of it. I was just puzzled why I'd get something like this.

JND
I didn't realise that you had advertised it as a trade. I thought you meant they had sent you their zine for no reason - unsolicited. I guess you didn't mention that in your original post.

James N. Dawson said:
Thanks all for the replies.

First, I want to amend a little of what I wrote above. My first impression was of a professional travel magazine, but I see after looking it over and reading it a little more that it's on a touring art exhibition with the theme of Australian aborigenes. I typed in [les autres, the others, jenny] in the Google search box and I believe the first entry was the website for this magazine, in case anyone wants to look at it. So I was perhaps unfair and premature in calling it a "travel" magazine and comparing it to Via.

HEATH and BIRD IN THE HAND: In Zine World I have as my "price" $3 or TRADE. My understanding is that when you say "Trade" you mean just that. Only when it says "Selective Trade" are you not "obligated" to send a trade in return. This has always been "zine etiquette" as I've understood it.

I was thinking of reviewing it but I'm not sure if I really want to. It's not really my subject. But I might and if I decide to, it my be my first entry to Alt.Zines

ERIC: I agree you should send at least a few words explaining why you're sending a zine, but maybe she just forgot to include the note. I've done that a few times. I've also forgotten to enclose dollars.

WES: The layout's all sort of avant guarde, chic and disorienting so if there's an e-mail address I haven't found it yet. But I'm sure it'd be on the website, so yes, I guess I could send her an e-mail "thank you" and offer her my zine in return if she wants it. But then I'd wonder if she was just saying she wanted it to be polite.

Well, I guess maybe you've helped me solve my problem. Maybe I was making too big a thing of it. I was just puzzled why I'd get something like this.

JND
pass it on, don't worry about it. if there was no note, then it doesn't seem to me the sender is really concerned about who receives, or what they might think of it. or... much of anything really! =) too much other stuff to worry about lol.

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