Recommendations from friends?
Reviews in other zines?
Distros that carry other zines you already enjoy?
Reading about them on here?
Randomly searching Etsy?
Browsing the racks in stores?
Or something else?
I think this could provide some interesting information for all of us when we're trying to promote our own zines.
The biggest source for me buying zines has definitely been zine fairs. Being able to pick them up and flip through is essential in my purchasing, since I don't have tons of excess money to throw around on zines I might wind up not liking.
if i dont get to physically survey the zine (i.e. if i'm buying it from a distro online, etc.) then being able to see some snapshots or a table of contents... good reviews or seeing them on a friend's site makes me interested too (sometimes).
I'm a terrible audience. I judge zines by their covers & titles - if it looks & sounds interesting, I'll give it a go. My thinking is that if I'm on the same enough wavelength as the zinester to get a buzz out of the title, I'll get same enough wavelength to connect with the zine.
Mostly, I go by the zinester's other work - their other writing, artwork, design, style, blog. That's how I found Rachael Kuan's "love like pop". Same thinking again - if I like the stuff they do, I'll probably like their zine too. :)
When I'm feeling flush I often search on etsy and buy 5-6 zines that look interesting, especially ones I've never heard of before. I also pick up a lot of zines from trades at zine events I go to. In the past few years the no of zine events in the UK has multiplied dramatically, which is great! My friend Ed who does Mujinga went to the Müllheim Zinefest in Germany last year, and I gave him a fat envelope of my zines and told him to trade them with any German people who were interested. I got some great stuff out of that, that I never would've come across otherwise.
I trade quite a bit here too, but I'd like to trade a bit more this year. I don't order from distros very often, I buy stuff from them in person at events quite frequently, I'm not sure why I never get mail order stuff off them, I guess it slips my mind.
i think i mainly use distros anymore. occasionally i buy or trade off this site, or livejournal. very rarely do i use etsy though i see a lot of cool looking zines there. i've been to only one zine fest (which was really a comic con that just happened to have a few zinesters) so that's not really an option for me, though when i see zines being tabled at a show i feel pretty obligated to buy them for some reason. just to support the fact zines are there?
The better the description, the more likely I am to buy the zine, be it through posts on LiveJournal zine communities, Etsy listings, fliers, whatever. I do a lot of trades, I buy zines on Etsy and from various distros, at zine fairs, and so on... I've also purchased a few zines after reading reviews.