the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Agt. Paper Chibi)
Have you ever had a series you really loved? A series you loved enough to buy each new volume on its release date? And when the last one came out, you still got excited and bought it on its release date, but then put off reading it, possibly for years, because you weren't ready for the series to be over yet? Or is that just me?
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Kaboom!)
Deb Walsh posted to her announcement list a couple of days ago that Vendredi Press will no longer be publishing zines. She said that it was too hard to recruit enough writers and to sell enough zines to make all the hard work of putting a zine together worthwhile. I also heard that the zine dealers at Kazcon had low sales and were surprised by how many fen didn't even know what zines were. This really surprised me, since I bought so many zines at MediaWest this year that I had to go out to the car and empty my backpack 3 times in the first hour and a half of the con.

From a writer's standpoint (not that I'm a writer, I'm just sayin'), I can kind of see the problem. Why submit a zine fic, wait months for the zine to be published, and wait after that for letters of comment from the few (percentage-wise) readers who comment on zine fic, when you can post a fic on your LJ (or Web site or Yahoo!Group) and be knee deep in feedback within hours? You can even discuss points of the fic with your readers while the fic is still fresh enough in your mind to remember the details of what you wrote.

But as a reader, I still love my zines. For one thing, they're more portable than a laptop. I'm no technophobe and I do plenty of fic reading online, but whenever I hit some 87,000 word epic, I wish it came in zine form. I can't read that much in one sitting, and it's hard to mark your place when the whole massive fic is on one big Web page. I'd much rather be able to relocate to the couch or my bed or the lunch table at work and read the fic in installments like a regular book. For another thing, electronic fic is highly perishable. I read somewhere recently (and I wish I could remember where so that I could link it for credibility's sake) that the average lifespan for an individual Web page is 3-5 years. How many times have you gone back to a favorite bookmarked fic, only to find it (and possibly the archive it was on) gone? Sometimes the fic (or archive) has just relocated to another domain and can be found with some Google-fu, but sometimes the author has pulled his or her fic off the 'Net for whatever reason. Sometimes the archivist is no longer willing or able to maintain the fic archive he or she was presiding over and can't or won't find a replacement archivist, and then all the fic on that archive is lost. Even if you save the fic on your hard drive, that's no guarantee that it's safe. Hard drives crash, files get corrupted, and CD-ROMs that you burned fic on get lost or broken. Yet, no matter how old my zines get (and some of them are over 25 years old), I've never opened one up and gotten a 404 File Not Found error.

Zines are expensive, and the current increase in shipping rates make them more expensive yet if they're not bought at a con, so I can see why some people aren't willing to chance buying a zine they might not like when they can get fic on the 'Net for free. But if we turn out to be the last generation of zine consumers/producers, that will make me very sad.

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