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Good Places to put Zines in Melbourne #1 – Sticky Institute

March 10, 2015


NOTE: I’ve never been to Sticky, but I have mailed zines there 3-4 times.


Oli: You’re based in Melbourne, in a subway tunnel as far as I can tell [I might be wrong]. Is it a good place for zines?

Sticky: We have been based in the tunnel under the main train station in Melbourne since 2001. It took a while to get the word out that we are here but we have been around so long now that people know where to find us. I spent the first few years writing letters to as many zines as I could find asking them to send zines to us, I don’t have to do that any more as the zines come to us.

Oli: I remember you said you could only take 10 or so of our zines as your shop was so small. There’s a record shop in HK that can only fit 4-5 people in at any one time. Is yours on that level or bigger?

Sticky: The shop is very small. Maybe the size of a living room. But we have managed to support over 12,000 individual zine titles from all around the world since we opened in 2001. And the rent is very cheap. If we moved above ground our rent would literally be 10 times what we currently pay so we are happy to stay where we are.

Oli: I live in Hong Kong and I found you. Do you get a lot of people from different countries sending you stuff?

Sticky: We get a lot of Australian zines, New Zealand zines, American zines, Canadian zines, UK zines, one of our best sellers is the Latvian comics collection ‘Kus’.

Oli: Do you focus on political zines, perzines or Jim Jarmusch style zines?

Sticky: There tends to be around 12 volunteers working at Sticky in any given week and it depends who is volunteering at the store what zines are chased to be stocked at the store. If we have more comics people volunteering at the shop then there tends to be more comics in the space. If we have more punks volunteering then there tends to be more punk zines. We do really love zines though and have always been more interested in the more DIY end of the self publishing spectrum.

Oli: Joan Severance once said, ‘the best way to keep a zine shop in a subway tunnel afloat is to hold events.’ Do you follow this advice?

Sticky: We do hold events. This week alone we have held the launch of the Piss factory/YOU split zine launch as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, the launch of Canberra based zine, as well as the launch of the David Mahler comeic

Oli: If Melbourne were suddenly taken over by fascists and they came to your shop and said they were gonna burn all the zines, but the chief fascist still had 2% of his/her conscience and said you could keep three of them, which three would you keep?

Sticky: I’d call up the zine kids and they would come down to the shop and kick some fascist ass. The zines would all be saved.

Oli: Zines usually have a small but loyal following. Do many people come to your shop? Do they just look around or do they buy?

Sticky: We usually have around 200 people a day coming to the shop and we sell around about $1000 of zines a week. We are set up as a not for profit space that supports zine makers so 80% of anything we sell goes straight back to the zinemaker.

Oli: We’re always looking for new, decent places to put our zines. Can you tell us any other places you know of that might take a zine with mega man on the cover?

Sticky: Some great Australian zine distros worth checking out include Take Care Zine Distro (Sydney), Aunty Mabel’s ZIne Distro (Perth), Co West Co Working Zine Shop (Adelaide), Canberra Zine Emporium (Canberra)

Where to find you:

Sticky Institute, Shop 10 Campbell Arcade, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (in the subway under Flinders Street Station). We get around to stack of Australian zine fairs too, this year attending The Festival of the Photocopier (Melbourne – which we coordinate), Tonerpalooza (Melbourne – which we coordinate), Canberra Zine Emporium (Canberra), Other Worlds (Sydney), Zine and Indie Comics Symposium (Brisbane), Auckland ZIne Fest (Auckland New Zealand).

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