We Make Zines

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Is there a market for selling old zines as collectors items like comics?

I probably have a few hundred zines from the 90's. I have all pathetic life (at least I think I do, there was always one mysterious issue that never appeared). FF5, Rollerderby, Ben is Dead, Crank, Even Tank Girls Get The Blues, and on and on. I had a favorite one, can't remember the name right now, I just had issue #2, it was like 200 pages and all about this guy who was squatting in Florida at the time and all his travels. I always wanted to find the first one.

I've been hanging on to many of them in case someone ever became a famous writer, etc. :D I might consider auctioning on e-Bay if there is enough of a market for them.

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There really isn't much of a market, but I would recommend finding a zine library that is looking for donations and donating your collection so that the 90's zines can be shared and loved for generations to come.
Some zinesters hate their stuff being sold on so you might want to consider that. I have no problem at all with it myself.

I don't think there really is much of one in general although some people have seen some seminal works going for surprising prices.
The practice of selling someone else's zine you purchased for profit is something pretty frowned upon in the zine scene. It's just not the same as rare records or something along those lines.

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who is going to purchase something like that for more than just the postage it costs to mail it, as that is what is mostly accepted.

If you think you have something special... i agree with AnomaLily... donate them to a zine library.
i agree with what nicole said re: selling zines on ebay. might i suggest you donate them to the toronto zine library?!

(or, if you really dont want to hand em over to a zine library.. give them away in packs/grab bags/en masse for the cost of postage)
I appreciate the feedback. I'm at a loss why someone would be offended by me reselling the actual zine though. I am totally against photo copying and/or selling such. I have always been a collector or many various items and have always hung on to said items in hopes of them becoming collector worthy. Aside from my own personal enjoyment, which was obviously the main reason I got into zines, was that I knew these were rare items that most would never hang on to or last (even though the majority are photocopies themselves).

Thanks all!
MAS, I think you have to look at it in two different ways.

Firstly, while not all zinesters are anarchists/communists/anti-capitalists/etc, many are into zines because they are not a part of the larger mainstream consumer culture. Zines are a respite from the buy-and-sell mentality and a way to communicate without worrying (too much) about money. To some of them, collector culture and the notion of selling something for more than it was obtained represents some of the worst aspects of capitalism/consumer culture. So it's a sensitive area that might be aggravated when one mentions "auctioning on e-Bay if there is enough of a market for them."

Secondly, zinesters rarely ever see any monetary gain from making a zine. (And yeah, if one looks at zinemaking as a way to"make money", I suggest they find another avenue towards their personal wealth.) Making zines usually requires shelling out money that may never be recouped, between printing and postal costs and whatever other expenses might come up. Then there are the instances where some zinesters sent off scads of zines to distros/stores and never got paid. How might it look to a zinester that put out a zine ten years ago, sold them for cheap and gave out plenty for free, sent off a hundred copies to a zine distro and got burned in the deal, and now someone is trying to sell that zine to the highest bidder because that zine is considered "a collector's item"? What if that zinester is in bad financial shape, has health problems, etc?

Besides all that, I doubt that there are many zines that you would be able to sell as a collector's item now. Cometbus comes to mind. And I've heard that Aaron hates it when people try to sell his stuff on eBay, so much as he'll contact those auctioneers and tell them to take it down.
I'm aware of the taboo against reselling but I don't agree with it at all.

When you buy something (or, indeed, accept it as a trade or even a gift), it becomes your property and you can do what you like with it. I do accept that other people feel differently and I don't think I would attempt to sell on for a profit a zine whose creator I knew felt that way about. But I think if you feel that way about your zine, you can only reasonably expect people not to sell it on if you make it clear, prominently, on the zine itself that you're against it. Otherwise why should they have any other expectations about your publication than they do with any other? They've given you what you asked for it, now it's theirs.

It's totally unfair to suggest to MAS that it could break someone's heart to see their zine resold for a profit if they'd got their fingers burned by a distro or otherwise. The fault then (and it is a serious one) would be with the person who didn't pay the zinester in the first place, not with the reseller. Plus, how many zinesters don't keep their own back copies too?

As a slight side-issue, I am of the opinion that the even more widespread assumption that zines shouldn't be sold for a profit by its creator(s) in the first place does us all a disservice, but I realise that's always likely to get shouted down.
Wes, I agree that once you buy/accept as trade a zine or anything else, you can do what you like with it and there's no real way to be stopped from doing it. I was just trying to explain in a little more depth why some folks might be offended. Maybe people should explicitly point out they don't ever want their zine to be resold somewhere in their zine (like you suggest), but I don't think people really ever even think of that notion when they make their zine. It only comes up after the fact.

As for my second point, I was trying to point out that in zines (just like in the rest of the art world), someone might be able to make money off an "object" without any of it ever going back to the source.
Shawn - I do agree with you that those are big issues in the zine community. I kind of think that if people don't think of them til after the fact, then it's their problem; though - the usual assumption in society is that you will be able to sell something on if you choose to later (even if you don't have it in mind at the time), so it's completely unreasonable to expect people never to. I think you're right that many people feel that way for similar reasons to those you give but that doesn't make it okay for them to expect or pressure the people they've sold or given their stuff to to behave in a certain way with it.
Wes, I think in Cometbus' case, when he started Cometbus back in the '80s, the notion that anyone would think of it as a collector's item at some point in the future probably seemed an unlikely possibility. This was way before eBay and the internet existed, before zines got "cool" in the 90's, etc. Zines were only read by a handful of misfits and weirdos, and I'm sure that Aaron Cometbus assumed that those who read his zine shared the same punk ethos and philosophies as him, not the usual assumptions that the greater society has. (Though saying that, nowadays punk record collectors can be just as bad as any other type of record collector.) I don't think anyone can truly be prepared for scenarios that don't exist today but that may happen 10, 20 years down the road, especially when new technologies are thrown into the mix. True, if Cometbus asks someone on eBay to not sell an old issue of that zine and the seller says "no", well, that is Cometbus' tough luck. But I think Cometbus still has the right to ask.
Oh yeah, I use the term "misfits and weirdos" lovingly!
There is a right to ask and I don't have any reason to think he doesn't do so with the greatest of courtesy. I just think the onus is on the producer to make it clear if they don't want it resold and not on the reseller to worry about it if it hasn't been made clear - and it's simply more efficient to do it ahead if that's what you want. Of course it's different if you're aware someone doesn't want that - I'd certainly try not to sell something on if I knew that (not that I've ever sold anyone else's stuff on anyway) - but I wouldn't think much the less of anyone who chose not to.

Personally, as stated elsewhere, I'm quite happy for anyone to sell any of my stuff on for anything they can get, and in the unlikely event that anyone ever made a load of money from reselling one of my zines I'd rather they tell everyone they knew about it... but maybe that's just me.


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