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So, I just caught up on the thread about reselling zines, and I was thinking about zine pricing... How do you guys price yours?

The cost of the paper? Do you include anything to compensate for your time?

Here's where I'm at. ReStyle is the first zine I have actually *finished* (there have been many previous unsuccessful attempts). I live in a really small town, so shopping around for color copies, I don't have a lot of options. I've actually found that if I drive 25 miles to the next town I can save 30 cents per copy, which makes it worth the gas as long as I'm getting a substantial number of copies and gas isn't $5 a gallon. And since I do a thrift store shopping zine, and I need to keep finding new outfits to photograph, I do have that expense to factor in as well. (Granted, Goodwill clothes are cheap enough and I will get my use out of most of it. But I do now find myself picking up things that aren't really "me" but work perfect in an outfit, so I get them anyway just for the sake of the photographs when otherwise I'd never buy them.)

My cost per copy (the copies and the ribbon to bind them and the cellophane bags I put them in to keep them pretty) is about $3.

So how much of my time (the initial cut-and-paste, and then the collating and assembling) and my other expenses should I compensate for with my pricing? I guess the time I don't care so much about, since it's something I do for fun. I would love to be able to take a financial hit on them and give them out as cheap as possible, but I live somewhere with a terrible economy and many months can barely keep my utilities on... So I do feel that I need to work my expenses into my pricing somehow.

Sigh.

What's a girl to do?

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Oh, trust me, utilities are certainly higher priority! If it comes to it, I'd rather drop my cable television and my internet service and my cell phone before I let it affect my creative endeavors, though!
My black and white zines are all $1 right now because all I'm directly paying for is card stock (for the covers), and they're relatively easy to assemble. My shoe zine is much more expensive because I have to shell out for color copies and metallic card stock, and they're much more time-consuming to produce (I sew the binding). I'm trying to find a way to bring them down to $5, so I may start stapling.
That's the big thing that's getting me right now -- the cost of color copies. But I'm sooooo in love with how it turned out, and I can't imagine it in b&w... It just wouldn't be the same!

BTW Anna, your copy will be in the mail tomorrow! I was going to send it today, but I totally forgot it was Martin Luther King day, so the post office was closed when I went there on my lunch break. Sigh.
maybe you can try coping in black and white on colored paper? just a thought but i love the way that looks. in my opinion, you cant really factor in time and energy into the price because zines should be something you want to do (which i'm sure you do) not something you want to get paid to do- when i price a zine i factor in how many pages it is and the cost of postage which i include in the price...mostly though you're going to have to use some of your own money without the hopes of getting it back in payments...
Here's a few ideas:

1) Search the interwebs for color deals. There's a few places that offer pretty durn cheap (8¢ a color copy?!) deals on color copies. Of course some of them require a minimum order, or you need to do a good amount of copies to get a good rate, or you'll have to pay a setup fee, or you'll have to pay for shipping. Generally expect some sort of combination of these things. Shop around to see what's the best deal, ask questions, read the fine print.

2) See if the copy shops closest to you would honor the lower prices you find further away. Sometimes this is a "no", especially since color copy machines are not cheap, and a lot of smaller places rent the machines. But it can't hurt to ask, and the local copy shop might work for you in order to keep your business.

3)Does every page need to be a color copy? See if you can get away with color cover and a color insert, and do the rest in black and white.

4)Doing a quarter-letter size zine (i.e. cutting the sheet of letter paper in half and folding) means you'll get twice as many pages out of the color copy, so if it works it can save you some $$$
Shawn Granton said:
4)Doing a quarter-letter size zine (i.e. cutting the sheet of letter paper in half and folding) means you'll get twice as many pages out of the color copy, so if it works it can save you some $$$
This is what I do... I love the quarter-sheet size! It's so holdable.
I have had success with b&w photocopies of photos before, the trick is to convert them to grey scale on photoshop and then increase the contrast and sharpness so they still good look but slightly exaggerated. Maybe you should give that a try, then you could do a weighty zine without bankrupting yourself.
I see that someone else already suggested mixing colour pages with black and white. I looked at the pics of your zine in your etsy shop and it looks fabulous. I love the colour, and I'm not sure it would have the same impact in b&w. BTW I'm a big time thrift store junkie and I really enjoy altering the clothes I find.

I do agree that you can make really good black and white photocopies though. On the machines I've used recently, there are a bunch of options and if you find the one that lets you specify "photo" or "text", it'll make your photos look great, but the text is just a wee bit less crisp.

Anyway, I'd love to do a trade for your thrift store zine, if you are interested, let me know.
M

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