We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

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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papercut zine library
45 mt. auburn st.
cambridge MA 02138
i love the old stuff, though it isn't appropriate to resell zines. instead you should donate them to a zine library so they can be viewed by lots of folks!
"Philosophically, if I paid for the zines (I never traded, I never had the bug to create my own zines), I am unclear why I shouldn't sell them now... I paid the creator what they were asking, so now they are my property to do with them what I like. It's not like I will make a killing on my collection. I have a stack of FF5's, but the rest are well, zines... :-)

That said, I wouldn't like to dump the ones that don't have any resale value. So, can someone list a few of these "zine libraries?""

I'd say FF5 was a for profit magazine so idon't think even the most hardcore zine head would knock you for selling them. maybe it didn't actually make much of a profit, but that was certainly the goal. Besides, they were more of a resource than anything so while it's interesting to look back at the old reviews it's not like there are a ton of people out there actually dying to read them like they would COMETBUS or PATHETIC LIFE or something. Actually they're the type of thing a zine library would love to have, but feel free to do what you want with them. No skin of my ass.

AS for zine libraries- where do you live? i ask because I always like to donate my old and unwanted zines to the papercut Zine Library just because they're closest to me. I don't make it there more than once or twice a year, but I like knowing my donation is being read by locals. it might be silly, but it's how I like to do it. So I would suggest you find the zine library closest to you and donate them there.
http://zinebook.com/resource/libes.html
Has a great list of different zine libraries.

Zine World also has a good list.

And you can always send zines to the IPRC (Independent Publishing Resource Center) zine library. It will make Marc Parker happy. 6,000 zines strong and still growing.
IPRC
ZINE LIBRARY
917 SW OAK ST #218
PORTLAND OR 97205
http://iprc.org/
Jim Stumm, publisher of LIVING FREE, sent me half a dozen, maybe a dozen boxes of zines and magazines from his library for the cost of media mail postage. When he announced in THE LIBERTARIAN CONNECTION that he was getting rid of a lot his library, I jumped at the chance.

One of the zines, with multiple issues, was from the late 60's, and titled MODERN UTOPIA. I auctioned that on E-Bay and I think I got about $100 for, maybe, 6 to 10 issues. I sold a ca. 1983 Gunderloy FS5 on E-Bay, but only got $3.75 for it! I tried to sell 2 issues of Jim Kieth's DHARMA COMBAT, but there were no takers. Actually, I'm glad there weren't. I realize now these are are "keepers", unless anybody wants to fork over, say $5,000+, for them.

I'm a libertarian, and my views pretty much reflect those of librarian and Wes White. I would refrain from selling a zine if I knew the publisher were against it though. I try to respect the sensibilities of other zinesters, whether I share them or not. I give away any old SLUG & LETTUCE I may have ordered, but I do so carefully. When I GIVE away a zine, I try to give to somebody who'd appreciate it.

The main reasons I am uninclined to try to sell any zines on E-Bay or auction sites are:

1. Too much hassle. I've done E-Bay, went through a lot of time and trouble taking and uploading pictures and going through the posting process, and often, even when I thought I was selling something really fabulous, got 0 bids, or far less than I thought I should. I'm confused about their policy now, but I don't know whether I can have cash/check/money-order as payment options as opposed to PayPal, so that's another reason.

2. I realize now that I probably value my old zines much more than any amount any collector would be willing to pay for them. I'd say I've got some gems, and one of these days when I've got nothing but time, I'd like to haul them all out, read them, and look at the pictures.

Personally, I don't like having a million and one restrictions on what I can and cannot do with a zine I order or trade for, nor do I like to impose restrictions on others. It just seems to controlling to me. HOWEVER----

1. If I knew that somebody were jut THROWING AWAY or even RECYCLING my zines with the newspapers and cereal boxes, I may summon the courage to say NO to that person if s/he ordered a zine or requested a trade from me. I don't care if they auction it off on E-Bay or wherever for a million dollars---actually, if you COULD, I'd be flattered. (And yes, it'd be nice if you gave me a few G's of that.) But just shredding, burning, discarding or even ECOLOGICALLY RECYCLING my zine, that I paid big bucks to copy, and agonized over for months OR YEARS, is where I'd have to draw the line!

2. I would ENCOURAGE, anyone, to xerox, scan, upload, microfiche, microfilm or even digitize my zine, and consider it a compliment if they did. I'm pro-multi-media (as opposed to internetocentric). I would appreciate knowing about it though, at some point at their convenience.

3. I've donated my zines to several libraries and hope to donate more. It's a great practice, I'm VERY MUCH for. BUT---I've tried to encourage zine libraries to stay in touch with my via paper or e-mail, so I know they're not just "fly by night" or were thrown together in fit of enthusiasm, only to burn out in a month or 2. Even a perfunctory e-mail acknowledgement of zines I've sent to libraries would be appreciated, but I haven't gotten a single one.

TIME FILLER/KILLER: When a collector pays a substantial amount for a zine, or any rare item, at least we know it's being preserved somewhere. The more of a print run that survives, and the longer it does, the better. Just passing along zines at random isn't a terrible idea, but it's not a great one either, because your "friends" and "family" may just thank you and toss them in the recycle bin the moment you walk away.
I'd say FF5 was a for profit magazine

This is another interesting point: the concept of for-profit. How many zines actually state that they're non-profit? It may not be their ultimate goal but it seems many zinesters would love to make a profit on their publishing if they could. So why not their customers?
I also think this is a fine piece of wisdom:

TIME FILLER/KILLER: When a collector pays a substantial amount for a zine, or any rare item, at least we know it's being preserved somewhere. The more of a print run that survives, and the longer it does, the better. Just passing along zines at random isn't a terrible idea, but it's not a great one either, because your "friends" and "family" may just thank you and toss them in the recycle bin the moment you walk away.

I've certainly known folks who either recycle or round-file zines they don't like enough to keep (or when they're moving, etc.). Many collectors are ultimately our record-keepers as well.
James N. Dawson said:
I'm a libertarian, and my views pretty much reflect those of librarian and Wes White. I would refrain from selling a zine if I knew the publisher were against it though.

Just to be clear, that's exactly in line with what I'm saying. I would refrain from reselling if I knew the publisher was against it. [Though I don't think there's a moral right to expect anybody else to respect those feelings unless they're made clear at the point it's sold]

I didn't think you were disagreeing with me but wanted to make that clear, as the word "though" seemed to imply to the casual reader that my views were different.

PS: I'm not in favour of people photocopying etc my stuff without permission though, especially with Attack!!!! as the copyright is with the writers and artists and not me! Complicated business, this innit...
[Though I don't think there's a moral right to expect anybody else to respect those feelings unless they're made clear at the point it's sold]

I'm not sure where any "moral right" could be expected when the transaction also includes the word "sold". It's a pretty odd thing to ask an interested party to pay money for an object and then make demands of them on top of their payment. I think it's shaky even when the item in question was gifted -- but when money has changed hands?
well, in defense of zine libraries...i used to volunteer at papercut in cambridge (massachusetts), & still have friends that are librarians there. they have been going strong for almost four years now, they have something like 8000 zines, & are definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. but running a library is hard work. keeping up with donations is a challenge sometimes. right now papercut has about two milk crates PACKED with new donations that have yet to be processed (the processing involves making a card for the card catalogue, stamping the zine with papercut's contact info in case it gets lost/mixed up with a patron's own zine collection, & figuring out what section it should go in--not terribly labor-intensive, but it can be a time suck when you have literally three hundred new zines to sort through). & donations come from EVERYWHERE: zinesters donating their own zines, people like me donating a couple of zines here & there that i'm not interested in keeping, long-time zine people donating enormous quantities from their own collections, the occasional order placed by the library to acquire titles that patrons are especially interested in...it can be confusing to keep everything straight, & nearly impossible for a library to stay in direct personal contact with people who make the occasional donation. papercut has an e-mail list, & everyone who gets a library card is subscribed to the list, so they are kept informed of library-related news, but sorting out where all the donations have come from & who has requested personal contact & which zines are from 1985 with the zinester long since disappeared from the larger zine world...it gets confusing. very confusing.

i think the best bet with libraries is to either dedicate yourself to a local library, if you have one, & maybe even volunteer your time there so you can ensure that it doesn't fall by the wayside, or rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. just like with distros & all other aspects of the zine world, people do pop up, thinking they're going to take on big projects, & then they disappear, taking people's zines with them. but there are good distros that are highly recommended by orderers & zinesters, & there are good trustworthy libraries.
additionally, i can't believe we are STILL having this tired old argument about re-selling zines. let's just accept the fact that some people are assholes who think that because they spent a buck or two on a zine, they have this moral higher ground they are claiming so they can hypothetically sell it off (even though it's a ZINE--it's a subcultural artifact, & not an especially valuable one in monetary terms, so this is pretty much ALL hypothetical; even "cometbus" is unlikely to fetch much money since aaron published about 10,000 copies of each of the last twenty issues, so they're not that difficult to come by). & some people are aware that those people are assholes & are horrified by it. & then let's all move on with our lives. this is an unwinnable argument for all parties involved. everyone thinks they are right & won't hear a word of the opposing side. i know how i feel (i haven't been very objective in my phrasing here), & i know that people who think they're going to finance their kid's college education selling zines on ebay are in for a rude awakening. *yawn* let's move on.
For certain collectible zines there is somewhat of a market, but it's pretty small. My general rule for selling anything on Ebay is if it won't sell for $10 or more, it's probably not worth the time and fees to put it up for auction. Very few zines will sell for over $10, save for '70s punk zines, an old Sniffin' Glue can sell for $30, but most zines won't sell for more than what you paid for them. As for collectible titles beyond the '70s music zines: older Factsheet Fives, The Probe, early issues of Flipside and MRR, Ben is Dead, Pathetic Life, Punk Magazine, Answer Me, Cometbus and maybe a few others. But if you have piles of zines from the '90s, you'd be better off donating them to zine library. That's what I've done with most of my collection, donated piles to ZAPP, the EMP, Seattle Public Libraries. I have no ethical problem with selling an old zine on Ebay, to me it's the same as selling an old punk record, but I think you will find the collector market is really small, unlike comics and vinyl. That said, I check Ebay fairly often to see what old zines are up for sale, and I've been able to track down old copies of Factsheet Five generally for $5 or less to fill my collection in, which rocks.

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