Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good piece in the Sunday New York Times Business section about Zines (short form of "fanzine" -- a short, often handmade limited-run magazine in tribute to a very narrow subject or particular person) by Jenna Wortham called Raised on the Web, But Liking a Little Ink this morning.

This supports my personal ebook and epublishing theory that most publishing will be very digital, very ubiquitous, very fast, but another side of the business will be customized, handmade, unique, slow, one-of-a-kind publishing.

As the fountain pen was a mainstream, must-have item you could buy cheaply anywhere in 1900 and now is more likely an expensive, rare objet d'art, serving less as a writing instrument and more as a collectible -- so goes the book, in my opinion.

A quote from the piece:
For Barbara Frankie Ryan, 19, a graphic design student in London who recently curated an exhibition of zines at a boutique there called Tatty Devine, the Internet and handcrafted publications exist in tandem. She runs a popular fashion blog and also makes a series of zines — although she said she wasn’t even aware of the rich history of zine culture when she started creating them in her bedroom at the age of 15.

Instead, she was looking for an outlet for her drawings and innermost musings on popular culture and romantic crushes. And she wanted to be able to experiment. While Web sites come and go, in another sense the Web is eternal: tidbits can be searched and found when you least want them to be. That can be inhibiting.

“I’m becoming more aware how permanent and accessible things are online,” she said.

Ms. Ryan also said zines have an air of exclusivity: they are like other artifacts that were never intended for mass consumption or distribution, like a scarf knitted by a friend, a sketch or a cassette tape filled with handpicked songs.

“I like the idea that I’ve only made 40 copies, and only 40 people will see it,” she said. “It’s really easy to reveal a lot about yourself, and so this is a way of getting control back, and I find that quite comforting.”

They also talk about the work of Malaka Gharib who's food zine, The Runcible Spoon, is pictured here.

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