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Think Out Loud

Zine Culture

Pete Springer/OPB

This weekend, creators of zines from across the country will descend on Portland for the annual Zine Symposium. These small-run publications are often assembled by hand with the help of a stapler and a photocopier. The subjects explored within their pages range from travel stories to parenting adventures and tales of dishwashing in kitchens across the nation. The Pacific Northwest has spawned many zines over the years and Portland is home to sizable zine collections at the Independent Publishing Resource Center as well as nine branches of the Multnomah County Library.

Though self-publishing can be traced back to Thomas Paine (and earlier), the heydey of zines was in the 1990s when they served to connect like-minded individuals before the dawn of the internet. Now that anyone can publish their thoughts on a blog, some might wonder how zines will survive and how they are different from blogs.

Do you make or read zines? How did you first discover them? Which are your favorite? What is the key to survival for this small part of the print world?


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