Home ] SNW Back Issues ] Star Trek ] Study Guides ] Science Fiction Shops ] Railroadiana ] Celluloid Pins ]

Back Up Next

Focus on Fandom
Strange New Worlds Issue 4 - Oct/Nov 1992

FanZines : Are They "Collectibles"?

by Karen Ann Yost

(This article is a follow-up to Ms. Yost's story "The Few, The Proud, The Insane, The Fanzine Publishers!" in issue #3 of Strange New Worlds.)

You've heard fans talk about them. You've seen them at cons. You've even read about the in the last issue of Strange New Worlds; but are media fanzines really collectible? Well, yes and no.

Fans have been collecting fanzines since zines first appeared on the Star Trek convention scene in the late 1960s. Today, collectors continue to add these amateur fan publications to their private collections, despite their relative high cost due to limited print runs of a few hundred copies. Early mimeographed zines averaged 50 to 100 pages and cost between $5.00 and $10.00. Modern computer-generated zines can run over 300 pages, have full-color artwork, and cost between $15.00 and $35.00.

People usually collect zines for personal enjoyment. Some fans may be drawn to a zine due to its beautiful artwork, while others may be attracted by a zine's particular subject matter. Some people stick with zines that feature one television show and other fans purchase multimedia fanzines covering many different media universes.

Rarely would one want to purchase fanzines as an investment. Unlike many science fiction collectibles, zines tend to lose their value over time. Currently most publishers keep all of their zines in print, so you can buy a third or fourth printing of a zine instead of buying a used copy from a dealer. That's why if you look through a dealer's used zine box at a convention, the fanzines you find will usually be a few dollars less than the original purchase price.

Occasionally an oddity can turn up. "The Professionals" alternate universe zine, "The Master of the Revels," commands a higher resale price than the original publisher's price due to a limited print-run, no subsequent reprintings, a fantastic story, and beautiful artwork. A few older Star Trek fanzines also resell for high prices, but this tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

Another factor that keeps resale prices down is the ever-available photocopy machine. Friends like to swap zines and photocopy them to save a little money. There is little publishers can do about unauthorized photocopying on such a small scale, but they have made an effort to stop unscrupulous dealers who bootleg hundreds of copies and sell them at a profit. Some publishers identify their zines with a special stamp, number each copy, and give a description of their publication on the title page with a stern warning against unauthorized copying.

So, while you won't become rich by hoarding your collection for 20 years, fanzines are still an integral part of science fiction fandom. Zines keep fandoms fresh and alive years after a network has canceled a television show or a movie has disappeared from theaters. They also offer a forum for talented writers and artists who ortherwise would never see their work in print. And, finally, zines provide fans with hours of escape into strange new worlds during the long, hot summer of endless television reruns.  l

Halloween Issue of SNW
Tomb of the Cybermen
Fanzines : Collectibles?
Preserving Fanzines
Trek Ornament Update
Letters to the Publisher

SNW Issue 14
SNW Issue 13
SNW Issue 12
SNW Issue 11
SNW Issue 10
SNW Issue 09
SNW Issue 08
SNW Issue 04





Back Up Next

Home SNW Back Issues Star Trek Study Guides Science Fiction Shops Railroadiana Celluloid Pins • 5591 Shady Brook Trail • Sarasota FL 34243 • USA
Page last updated July 18, 2011
Site designed by Jo Davidsmeyer
privacy policy

Copyright 1992 - 2011 by Strange New Worlds. All rights reserved.