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Putting zines in new places

May 30, 2013

The last few months we’ve been looking [non-stop] for new places to put the Gupter zine [Issue 14] and our new book ‘Planet Rasputin’.
It’s been tough.
We’re all mostly stuck in LA and Hong Kong at the moment so, to stretch wider, things had to be done by e-mail and twitter and google. [We did manage to physically get to Copenhagen, Lisbon, London, Sevilla and New York…we’ll talk about those some other time]
There must’ve been 100 something e-mails in all.
Some of the zines/books were sent to people we know in other countries…Tyson Bley, the ‘anti-universal translator’ in Ratzeburg, some guy in Fresno, Chris in Edinburgh…we sent 30 to Kaia in Oslo, but they never arrived.
Others were sent to new people we found online:

Cyberpunk Apocalypse [Pittsburgh] – Run by Daniel McCloskey [the guy who wrote Alien Nation and Baise-Moi], this writers’ collective is pretty helpful. They’ve agreed to a trade…we send to them, they send to HK…I don’t know why more collectives don’t do this. I suppose mailing costs might be prohibitive, but if you save up enough cash and take a risk, it’s not too hard.

The Beguiling [Toronto] – it’s a comic shop, but they said it was okay to hide our books and zines in amongst all the pretty looking stuff.

Rock, Paper, Scissors [San Fran] – A store that stocks zines and teaches people how to make them too. There are a lot of places with this name in the world…I don’t think they’re all under the same umbrella, but there must be something about the name that sticks. Anyway, I think we found this one by searching: ‘Zines sleeping rough in San Francisco’. If you search ‘zine stores in [place name]’ the results are usually bullshit. Better to write something unpredictable.

Concord [LA] – Not sure how we found these guys, but it seems like they’re an art collective just starting out. They’ve just done the first issue of their zine and they have exhibitions in their space. They took a while to respond to our e-mail, but at least they responded. Most places don’t bother. Especially places in St Petersburg.
Note: One of us will go to St Petersburg within the next year and make sure we get our zines in somewhere. Russians can be scary, but no-one’s ever given us a beating for showing them a zine.

Wooden Shoes Books [Philly] – A radical bookshop/collective, our favourite kind of store. If you want to know what anarchism/socialism and other isms are really about then go to one of these places. There aren’t any in HK at the moment, which is pretty sad.

Booksa [Zagreb] – we used twitter to blindside this one. It worked. If you’re looking to make money from your zines I don’t think this place can help you, but if you wanna put your zines in Zagreb for the hell of it then this is the place.
NOTE: If you’re in Zagreb and you have zines, you should try Medika – they didn’t reply to our e-mail, but in person most places usually take what you’ve got.

Sticky Institute [Melbourne] – they replied to the e-mail fast, took our zines and sent us some pics. Perfect place to send zines, very helpful/accepting.

Pogo Café [London] – we left zines here last year, and this time we did it again [by post]. As it’s a volunteer-run place and the staff is constantly in flux, you never know what you’re gonna get, but whoever we’re talking to, they’ve all been decent.

Flying Object [somewhere in US] – they seem quite arty, but still let us in. Good for them. A lot of these arty places are humourless [I have extensive experience of fuckers like these, trust me…], but Flying Object has been friendly.

Missing in Action

Irregular Rhythm Asylum [Tokyo] – replied to our initial e-mail very fast. We sent some zines, have no idea if they made it or not. No reply to second e-mail. Hope our zines made it okay. Hope the owners aren’t dead.

Book Thug Nation [New York] – a friendly reply to our first e-mail followed by the same non-reaction as the Tokyo place above. Sent some zines to them, no further communication. Maybe they got taken over by Walter Hill?

Mellow Pages Library [New York] – didn’t know much about this place except they took small press books. Sent them some, no idea if they made it or not.

Failures

Taiga art space [St Petersburg] – no reply to e-mail. Nothing much else to say, really. Maybe if we knew some Russian, it might’ve helped…

Metelkova [Ljubljana] – we put our zines there when we were in Ljubljana two years ago, but they don’t seem to have any contact info online. Damn. I really like this place too.

Edward Norton – a shot in the dark, didn’t pay off.

The grave of Kierkegaard – went there, thought about it, but decided it was disrespectful.

Lee Van Cleef – No-one told us he was dead.

Belgrade, Cluj, Paris, Barcelona, Santiago etc.

Most places in Europe were tough to get a response from. I guess the only way is to go there in person. Or get to know someone from that area online…
Problem: how can you know they’ll spread your zines?
You don’t. You can ask them to take pics as evidence…but usually they don’t. They could be getting the zines and throwing them in the bin, there’s no way we’d know about it. But if they did, they’d have to live with being a twat, wouldn’t they?
Basically, you’re probably not gonna get pic evidence, and it’s a bit cheeky to hassle them so either take the risk or don’t.

Other ideas?

Putting zines in places where people expect to see zines is okay, but you’re gonna be crammed in with all the competition.
To get noticed, you’ve gotta stand out somehow. Put the zines in places where people have to stay a while and where there are no other zines fighting you. Places like tattoo dens or video stores. Regular people go here. Try it.

Conclusion

Europe is a bitch to conquer.
In trendy areas, 95% of places are usually shit [how do these places stay in business?], but 5% are decent.
E.g. a place like Shoreditch still has some decent places, even though people seem to not like it now. Bookartbookshop is okay, so is Nobrow comics [well, one or two of their comics were about Space, which we like…the rest were good-looking and pretty shit].
But really, the places we’ve been leaning towards recently have been radical bookstores. They’ve got more interesting things to read and they believe in something. Pretty much every city has one or two of these…56a and Housman’s in London, Demos and Fulkuts Hus in Copenhagen, Wooden Shoe books in Philly…except Hong Kong, of course.

What else?

You find a lot of decent writers in zine stores and small bookshops. But it can be overwhelming…chances are you’ll miss the best ones cos there’s just so many to look at.
Copenhagen has some good artists/writers, especially in English.
Literature, especially online, is actually a much, much [much] smaller circle than you think it is. Seriously, everyone’s connected, every site, every review…all done by friends and friends of friends. In the long run, this must be damaging for the integrity of lit. It might even kill it off…
Unless no-one finds out…?


Gupter zine Issue 14 is at [full list]:

Hong Kong
The Coming Society
Kubrick Café
Brunch Club [Soho]
People’s Recreation Community Café
Culture Club
Joyce is not here
Club 71
HK Reader
Woofer 10
London
The Alibi
Pogo Café
56a Info Shop
Housmans
Evil from the Needle
Bookartbookshop
Vintage shit for twats café
Nobrow Comics
Foyles [stairwell]
Copenhagen
Under Konstruction café [1/F in Folkets Hus]
Demos
CMYK kld
NiklasBendtnerisnogood Cafe
Lisboa
Ler Devagar [Bookshop in LX Factory]
Rossio Hostel
Outra Face da Lua
Porto
Didn’t end up going there.
Sevilla
Red House Café
Ron Silver’s beard Gallery
Edinburgh
Transreal Fiction
Deadhead Comics
Forest Café
Others
Ratzeburg, Germany [ask Tyson Bley if you wanna know where]
Booksa [Zagreb] Note: last I heard, the zines were lost in transit.
Book Thug Nation [New York]
Cyberpunk Apocalypse [Pittsburgh]
Flying Object [?]
Fresno [not sure where]
Wooden Shoe Books [Philly]
Rock Paper Scissors Collective [San Fran]
The Beguiling [Toronto]
Irregular Rhythm Asylum [Tokyo]
LA/San Diego [don’t know where, ask Marc Horne]
Sticky Institute [Melbourne]
The Book Society [Seoul]
Robocop statue [Detroit]
The Mars from the Martian Chronicles [Mars]
Ned’s Café [Winterfell]

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