The Newsstand: Independently Published Zines, Magazines, Journals, and Artist Books, contributions by Lele Saveri, Phil Aarons, and Ken Miller.
It’s easy to conflate the rise of self-publishing with the internet age, when digital technology provided not only an easy medium but a free one for anyone with an opinion or even point of view to distribute their ideas. But years before kindle singles, print-on-demand, and book versions of tumblr blogs, self published works existed in the form of zines. For those of you unfamiliar with zine culture, a zine is the dingy, eccentric cousin to the pamphlet (I’m talking about the Thomas Paine pamphlet here, not to be mistaken with the college campus health center kind). Zines are homemade, often photocopied and stapled together works with modest circulation and often distributed for free.
The Newsstand, a book recently published by Rizzoli, celebrates this unique format, more specifically it tells the story of and concept behind a pop-up newsstand inside the Metropolitan/Lorimer subway station in Brooklyn, that existed for a period of eight months in 2013. Unlike most subway newsstands in NYC, which sell candy and the Daily News, this newsstand sold zines—and lots of them. The premise behind the shop was anyone could make a zine and drop it off at The Newsstand, and many people did. A total of 1,200 zines were housed in at the newsstand during this period. The book documents a selection of these zines and explores both the history and spirit of zines in all of its humble and glorious variety. It’s an invigorating reminder of the power of self-publishing and I hope it inspires more of these types of newsstands to pop up (hint, hint, librarians…).