We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

I haven't left any of mine out in the great wide world yet, but I've been thinking about the places I can leave zines. I got familiar with leaving books places with book crossing, but are there any special considerations you have with where you leave your zines or do you just let fly? Have you ever experienced any sort of backlash from leaving your zine in the 'wrong' place?

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here are some ideas to leave zines:

the dollar store
gas station bathrooms
random peoples bathrooms
replace magazines in racks with your zine in stores
place zines in book section at walmart, kmart, krogers, etc
those advertiser like boxes that say FREE - stick your zine in the front, and inside!

I think the best place to leave zines are sites where they appreciate craftiness. I've put my zines in both the usual locations such as zine libraries and Richard Hugo House (a writing center in Seattle), but I would also put my zines in places around my college campus like the wellness center and the dorm areas. I have also given mine away when I host workshops on specific topics (for instance, a knitting zine at one of my knitting club meetings)

I definitely want my zines to be appreciated even if I am giving them away for free, so I like to scope out the places and ask around - I know some friends who plop them down in coffee shops and such, but I prefer to ask someone "in charge" or figure out the feel of the place before doing that sort of thing.


Happy zine-ing!

Jordan A.

My blog: The Cowation

Bathrooms. I also put them into clothes in a Value Village once. That was an odd idea.


Interesting anecdote: I left a zine in a bathroom, then found it (I knew it by the tape on it) later under someone's guitar, mangled and dirty. It made me feel quite sad. This was actually the first time I had ever put my zines anywhere.

It depends on what your zine is about. I publish a free pinball zine and people help me distribute it all over Seattle, mostly at places that have pinball, but also at some coffee shops, book stores and libraries. As time goes on I've cut out some of the places that don't have pinball because I've "sold out" of certain issues and like to keep some available for back issue collections and such. I've only received positive responses.


My other zine(s) are a bit more controversial and are not always welcome at the places I've left them (mostly bars and other 21+ venues). Sometimes they are returned to me via an employee, other times I assume they are thrown away. It's kind of hit or miss. The fun-est way to distribute these zines are to go out at night when bars are getting ready to close and to give them to people as they are milling about on the sidewalk. It's kind of a guerrilla assault on an unsuspecting audience and perhaps a bit of theater since there is usually at least two of us hitting the crowd at the same time. Sometimes the reaction is negative because they think we are handing them a handbill/ad, or they may have not liked a previous issue, but more often people are excited to get the new issue (even if they have never read one before). Word of mouth I guess.


Even without a controversial zine I would recommend handing some out in person sometime. Pick an event (concert, reading, etc) where you think people who would appreciate what you are publishing are likely to be and just hand it to them. It's a great way to get feed back in this age where most people are not likely to write and tell you what they think about it.

This discussion is great! I've got so many neat ideas for where to leave my zines now! The only time I've handed them out is when I've talked about them with someone and given them one as an example of my work.

Great thread, lots of good ideas. The zine that my friends and I are working on is not out yet, but will be in March.We've actually discussed this and have come up with some really good ideas. Since we are gonna rely more on local DIY distribution as opposed to mailing them we had to really brain storm. Right now we have 5 solid places that we know will carry it. From there we'll list the the places it can be found in the next issue, and every time we gain a new location we will list them in the following issue. But we have the 5 to build from and at first will do a lot of drop and leave at spots like doctor's office waiting rooms, bus stations, job site break rooms, and handing them out or leaving them on the train.

We're also gonna have our email on there so someone who finds one can always email us and be like "hey, when is the next one coming out, and where can I find it?" Also if we get any kind of blacklash, the pissed off party can email us and we can then figure if it is still worth leaving them in that spot.

The airport sounds great! I'm gonna have to try that one for sure! Your zine could end up ANYWHERE. It's kinda like a modern, and far more rapid, message in a bottle. Speaking of which, I should send a zine as a message in a bottle sometime. Just for the hell of it.

Britani Sadovski said:

Glad to hear you're inspired! My Feed the Whales project really went international this season, as I sent chapbooks with friends who were traveling home for the holidays. They left books in airports (Pearson, O'Hare, Munich, Frankfurt, and Ataturk), and in the Chicago aquarium! Recently I've mailed copies to musicians, writers, and other celebrities I admire, and last week I left a bunch in the Faculty of Education at the local university (in the newspaper racks). There are so many possibilities for distribution; bookshops, record shops, coffee shops are all good places, but think guerrilla for sure. After bars let out is a great idea that I'll have to try myself sometime, thanks for the tip!

Do any of you geocache??  I started a writers swap cache for trading books, blank journals and zines.  Not sure if any other zines will show up, but I put new issues in every so often for people to discover.

Also, music stores, coffee shops, and the public library are places I've left zines for random discovery.

I like to hide my zines inside of library books or between shelves, I try to put them in a book with a similar topic. 

I also give them to buskers when I walk past and give them some change. 

There is a thing called Advantcard in Australia which is free postcards - some of art, some for advertisers, if my zine is a post card size I'll put a few in an empty shelves. 

Well there are obvious places like book and record stores, but I like to go to a library and find some cool books (music books for music zines and I will just put perzines in random books I like). Oh yeah, I find that in book stores, if I don't put  a "free" sticker on it, it takes longer for someone to take it. My favorite place I ever left a zine was the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur. That place is amazing. I wonder what happened to the zine...

hmm, curious, I mainly send my zines for post or distro in a zine meeting.

geocaching boxes are actually a pretty great idea,thanks! ;) i think geocachers could appreciate

GypsyLoveCircus said:

Do any of you geocache??  I started a writers swap cache for trading books, blank journals and zines.  Not sure if any other zines will show up, but I put new issues in every so often for people to discover.

Also, music stores, coffee shops, and the public library are places I've left zines for random discovery.


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