What Is a Zine

Glossary > Zine

💬 Definition of Zine:

A zine is a self-published work intended for small circulation featuring original works or texts, usually reproduced by a copy machine. The term was coined in 1940 by Russ Chauvenet, gained popularity within science fiction fandom, and was introduced in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1949.

Related questions about a zine:

What is the purpose of a zine?

Zines are a medium of communication in many sub-cultures, intending to develop identity, not seek profit. It can be written by one person or a small group of people, allowing them to express their thoughts and artistic vision. It’s usually inexpensive or free. 

The range of zine topics is broad. It can target art, music, memoirs, sexuality, humor, or politics. In terms of style, a zine can be written, drawn, printed, or made up of collages. It's usually a combination of text and imagery, similar to a magazine. Regarding structure, zines can be narrative, journalistic, or written as comic books—which is the preferred choice.

How many pages are in a zine?

Traditionally, zines have around eight pages with saddle stitches. They also come in small batches, usually under 100 copies. If the zine has many more pages, it must be perfectly bounded (like soft-cover books). There are no preset rules for making zines. They can even be handwritten as a part of a DIY culture. 

Why are zines so popular?

A zine can feature any subject, from artistic visions to manifestos, pamphlets, and comic strips. They are mainly dedicated to unconventional subject matters, making them popular among readers.

Zines provide a sense of community and belonging and have long been favorites for the young generation trying to find their place. They originated in the amateur press of the 19th and 20th centuries and have made different comebacks in various sub-cultures, from the Punk Subculture to Gen Zers

Can you make money from zines?

The whole idea of the zine was to be anti-publishing and against the classical distribution system and the profit that comes with it. This is why reproduction through copy machines rather than traditional publishing is preferred. Zines are offered for free or sold for a small price at fairs, symposiums, special events, and concerts or through direct correspondence with the author that created them.

They can be sold on Etsy, social media, or other independent artist studios. Some independent publishers even specialize in art zines, such as Nieves Books in Zurich.

Write more.
Worry less.

Publish and distribute your books to hundreds of stores worldwide in ebook, print or audio formats.

Publish Your Book


Are you looking for something on PublishDrive?