Discover a digital world of zines and directly support the artists who made them! Un-bound and Un-bordered, ZINESTERS is an open community platform for zine lovers and zine makers.

For those who might be curious…what is a zine?

A zine (/zi:n/ZEEN) is a small-circulation independently published book that has historically been used as a way to disseminate information. They are usually produced from a “do-it-yourself” philosophy through photocopier, risograph printer, or small at-home presses. Zines take up a very special space in the book world that is not mainstream, often from an alternative perspective (LGBTQIA2+, BIPOC, marginalized communities).​​​​​​​
ZINESTERS gives zine makers the ability to upload and distribute their publications digitally worldwide. It is an empowering tool for zine makers to disseminate their work, and not be bound to the editions and limitations of physical zines. It also creates a global networked space in which people who usually wouldn’t have access now have a chance to explore this wonderful world.

How might we design a tool that allows zine makers and zine lovers to
disseminate their zines digitally, and as well engage in community?

A large problem that all zine makers face is the ability to disseminate zines in an online space. Often zine makers advertise their zines through Instagram / personal social media sites, and sell them by Direct-Messaging in which they provide their buyers with a link to their E-transfer/Venmo/PayPal account. They would print a limited edition of approximately 50-300 copies and distribute them through mail order and word of mouth. Once they sell out of their edition, they would have to do another run. 

In a pre-COVID-19 world, many avenues in which zine makers can expose / sell their work and connect with other artists are Artist Book Fairs. In Canada there is Expozine (Montreal), VOLUME (Montreal), Toronto Art Book Fair, and Vancouver Art Book Fair. Internationally there is Printed Matters’ New York Art Book Fair, LA Art Book Fair, Taipei Art Book Fair, Shanghai Art Book Fair, Tokyo Art Book Fair - just to name a few. Zine makers prepare for the whole year to attend and table at these Artist Book Fairs, because these are rare and valuable opportunities to exchange, showcase, and network with the community. 

Switching to an online space in a post-COVID-19 world is extremely difficult for these Artist Book Fairs because of the physical nature of zines and books. Most of them are hosting online conferences, talks and workshops as a bandaid to not having access to physical spaces. This causes a huge detriment to the community because it makes zines harder to find and access. It also becomes a hassle to sell zines because there is no centralized platform that zine makers can expose on. 

As a zine maker myself and having experienced the frustration of selling zines through social media and mail orders, relying on Art Book Fairs to expose my art, and being zoom-fatigued from the influx of online conferences, I wanted to create something that I could give back to the community - a centralized online platform in which artists can showcase their zines, and fans can view / directly support the artists.

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