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Syndicated Zine Reviews Blogspot & Etsy: Comments and Questions

I got back from the University library a little while ago where I did one of my occasional web document printings. One was of Syndicated Zine Reviews Blogspot, 2009 and 2010 so far. I was pleased I was able to do this. In the past, when I'd tried, the print preview always came up blank, which made me assume it wouldn't work, but I realize now you just have to wait a little while for the pages to come up.

2009 was 19 pages (sides not sheets). The library charged 3.6 per page, so that's 68.4 cents for this yearly "review zine".

Zine World 28 was 50 pgs, and because I subscribe, $3.33 an issue. But ZW has about 12 reviews per page (just selecting a random page and counting. They start on 10 and end on 40, which gives about 30 pages of reviews. If we guesstimate, taking into account some pages have display ads instead of reviews, that the average number of reviews are about 9 per page, that's about 360 reviews. SZR-2009 averages about 1 review

per page because a few pages are blank or filled with "links", etc.

That would then be about 3.6 cents per review for SZR (68.4 cents/19) and about .925 cents (333/360) for ZW.

Compared to SZR at 3.6 cents per page, Zine World is 6.6 cents per page. But, as noted above, each page of ZW has roughly 9 reviews per page as opposed to SZR's one, and also has articles, ads, word-of-mouth, letters, etc. all of which I find interesting and definitely of value.

Now, you *could* say SZR needn't have cost ANYTHING, because there was no *need* to print it at all. But that's a question of "experiential quality". I am very unlikely to read SZR unless I DID print it out. Browsing and "manually controlling" a paper publication is an *indefinably* better, easier and more enjoyable experience for me than reading, scrolling, mouse-clicking and waiting for a computer screen, so for me, I've "disregarded" the latter option.

Etsy

Emboldened by my success with SZR, I went to Etsy and found and clicked on to the "Zines & Books" link. 1,651 CYBER-pages came up. (A cyber-page is usually several standard paper pages, I'd estimate, roughly 4 to 12.) I then found the "Zines" sub-link, clicked on it, and that brought it down to 110 c-pages. (I think "Zines" and "Books" should be seperate links on the home page index. That'd save a step.)

As far as I could see, unlike SZR, that you can print out a year at a time, as far as I could see, you can only print out one cyber-page of Etsy at a time. Printing out 110 one by one would have been too tedious for me. Clicking through each cyber-page and then each potentially interesting zine to bring up the description and ordering instructions for it would also have been wearisome, though I did try it a little.

Many or most of the zines on Etsy seem to be around $20, some even more. (That's okay. I understand some zinesters are trying to make money, which I don't fault them for in the least, and realize the expenses involved in their production and distribution.) Much fewer are much cheaper. I found one for 80 cents, but it was tiny. I found some more "traditional" as opposed to "craft" zines, in the $3 range.

This might improve the search process:

A *compact* printable version of the *whole* "Zines" sub-link. A few sites, maybe more than I'm aware of, offer printable versions of their catalogues, and even allow you to customize them, including only categories that interest you. Even I found these easy to assemble. (Lucky Vitamin is just one, but it sanctimoniously "warns" you to "consider the environment" in deciding to print it, ignoring the mercury and other toxic materials in computers.)

A "Price-Range Option", like that found in Google Shopping. That might radically shorten the list of zines one might be willing to "spring for" and be quicker and easier to "wade through". I might start at "$0 to $3" for example, then maybe, if I'm feeling rich, gradually go up.

Physical addresses displayed on-screen with cash/stamps ordering options would be "nice", but I'm not inclined to insist on that. I've surrendered to PayPal, have it, and even though it doesn't work for me half the time, I'd be willing to use it. (When it didn't work, I'd probably just let it go.)

Question:

How many zines listed on Etsy are also listed on other review sites or zines? Many? Few? My quess would be that most or all of the "craft" zinesters do *not* choose to list their zines on review blogs or print zines. What about "traditionals"?

So. Just felt the need to give some "feedback". No putdowns intended. I'm just trying to "troubleshoot" and "examine the numbers" ("Quick and Easy!" versus "content and quality", etc.) Maybe we luddites and technophiles can come a little closer in meeting each other half-way.

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Comment by James N. Dawson on June 20, 2010 at 4:11pm
Okay. I went back to Etsy, followed your suggestions and it did bring it down to 95 pages of the cheaper zines, which was convenient. But I think having to click "Buy" to get to the price-range filter is pretty counter-intuitive. That should be right there on the browsing page, with it's own seperate button.

I saw one zine that looked pretty reasonably priced I suppose, a digest with 30-something pages I think it was, for $3, but postage was $1.50. Additional zines in the same order I think were 25 cents, maybe 50c. The first postage seems a bit high, but I admit I'm cheap. The 25 cents, maybe 50, for subsequent items isn't too bad. But I'm used to $3 or less postage paid.

I realize pricing is sort of a sensitive issue, so I don't want to bruise any feelings. But I just did a 34-page standard-sized zine and it turned out to be about $1.25 an issue ($98 for 75 copies) and I think thats about 78 cents or $1.05 to mail. I'll probably price it at about $2 ppd., or of course a trade (no prior arrangements necessary) or "the usual".

That's the zine culture I'm from, but I can't say Etsy is wrong for doing it their way either.

P.S.---Why don't computer keyboards have a "cent" symbol?
Comment by James N. Dawson on June 17, 2010 at 6:39pm
Thank you. I'll check that out.
Comment by kit feral on June 17, 2010 at 10:50am
Etsy does actually have a price range option- if you click on "BUY" which I believe is at the top of the screen, it will bring up a bunch of different ways to search. If you go to "advanced search" you can enter price, country, keywords, etc.

I agree zines are overpriced on Etsy. Especially shipping. Some people charge a few dollars to ship a 1/4 size zine within the same country! It's ridiculous and really turns me off sometimes. Doesn't seem to fit with the zine spirit at all. Etsy is convenient in a way, but it's just a little too detached for me, honestly.

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