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Zines, Pamphlets, Artists' Publications, and Chapbooks: The World of Self-Publishing & Small Press

This zine provides history, context, and resources for students and faculty seeking to learn more about alternative publications as protest, as alternative culture, as art practice, and as community resource. Zine publishing and creation is more popular t

Zine Orientation

"Whatcha Mean, What's a Zine?"  (Esther Watson and Mark Todd)

In general, zines are part of booklet publications that include chapbooks, pamphlets, and artists' publications. The staple is usually a key feature of booklet culture.

Zine publishing and creation is more popular than ever, but zines are just part of the larger world of independent and self- publishing. This guide is for students and faculty who want to learn about the making, writing, printing, and publishing of not only zines but many other types of publications such as pamphlets, poetry chapbooks, posters, flyers, religious tracts, artists' books, photobooks, alternative press, little magazines, small press, and even vinyl and cassette objects.  Overall, the print form prevails in the zine world, but this guide includes some discussion about e-zines and digitized, historical zines.


The Physical Details of Booklets

Book printers manufacture paperback books with a form of bookbinding called perfect binding, in which their pages are glued together to form a spine. Booklets like zines are not perfectly bound but are saddle stitched, a printer's term for stapled or wire stitched, or saddle sewn, bound with a needle and thread or string. A "foldy" zine consist of several pages folded together without any binding. Booklets tend to be produced in small runs, sometimes in numbered editions. Zines, chapbooks, and pamphlets share the booklet form.


Small Press

Small Press has become the accepted term for modestly financed book publishers that issue the sorts of titles that commercial publishers would not publish. . . . Thus, compared to commercial publishers, Small Presses have been particularly open to those who are generally excluded – political or sexual radicals, avant-garde writers, black writers, or religious writers, to name a few.

Log in with your Pace credentials to read the complete definition: "Small Press." In A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes, by Richard Kostelanetz. 3rd ed. Routledge, 2019.