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Everything You Need to Know About Zine Printing

Now the world of zines may be a bit of a mystery – but for anyone who has ever yearned to be their own publisher, it’s definitely something to look into further.

You may think that ‘zines’ is just short for “magazines” however they really are an entity in their own right. By definition, a zine is usually an independent, self-published booklet often created by one person around a particular interest.

They were first created way back in the 1920s, spawned by science fiction fans who shared their interests with a close-knit group but it was in the world of music that zines really came into their own, and the word “fanzines” was penned. They were set up by music lovers who were frustrated that their particular interests were being ignored by the mainstream music media, so decided to share their passions with others.

The growth of punk in the 1970s was in no small part down to the zines, particularly one zine actually called ‘Punk’, created in New York which highlighted the arts and music scene and then the popular but controversially named ‘Sniffin’ Glue’ which gained a cult following in the UK.

Zines are a great way for people to share their passions or showcase their artistic ability, creating and distributing a short run booklet or magazine to like-minded individuals.

While in the past these publications were a cut and paste job and then folded and stapled, there are now ways of producing them in a far more professional fashion – but without losing any of their edge or impact.

How to Print a Zine

The beauty of a zine is that it doesn’t need to have a sophisticated design or look – part of its charm is the fact that it’s homemade and highly personalised.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that having your zine professionally printed compromises on the authenticity - most zine producers aren’t too hung up on a polished, sophisticated end result.

If you want to take your zine to the next level in terms of design, it’s just as easy to do that, thanks to a number of easy to use design tools.

At WTTB our customers have access to our huge image library which can help in ensuring you get the desired result.

Originally a zine was very much a homemade publication, with articles and images simply glued on a page and then photocopied and stapled together. As publishing has now moved on it means that zines are far easier to produce and can still be created in a small quantity but using the latest print technology can make it a far easier task!

Sometimes zines can grow to become a huge enterprise. Adult comic Viz started off as a local music fanzine in Newcastle Upon Tyne, sold directly to people in pubs and clubs in the North East, before growing massively and – at its height – selling more than one million copies a week.

That is the exception to the rule however and most zine publishers are happy to be able to share their particular interest with small community of like-minded others.

How Much Does it Cost to Print a Zine?

Once you have decided on the content, it couldn’t be easier. You might decide to do it in the time honoured way – by simply writing copy and including a few pictures in a simple design.

WTTB offer a range of templates you can use and then it’s just about choosing the best format for your particular requirements, and your budget.

Saddle stitched booklets are an excellent choice for would-be zine publishers. They are cost effective and quick to produce and can be done in small quantities. And whilst die hard zine publishers might think you need to stick to your roots and photocopy and staple yourself, why would you? You are in complete editorial control of your content, all you are doing is finding a slick, professional, time-effective and more competitively priced way of getting your product ready for distribution.

And who wouldn’t want that?

How Do I Make My Zine Stand Out?

If you see yourself as the next Viz publisher and believe your zine could end up with a huge following, it’s worth looking at ways to make it stand out.

The first thing to consider is the cover. Do you want to make it glossy with a higher paper stock than the internal pages so it feels like a premium product?

Do you want to add to the quality feel by including spot lamination (where certain aspects of the cover stand out) or even the addition of foils (where words can be highlighted using a foil printing technique)? There are a whole host of considerations that can take your zine to the next level.

Before you get carried away thinking of your budget, your audience and what you’re trying to achieve. Be honest about what solution will work best for you – then head to our expansive book printing section to look at all of the ways we can help your zine stand out from the crowd.


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