And another paper zinester drops the dead tree format.
In the case of Dale Speirs and his zine, Opuntia, it was the jump with postage rates, in his case Canada. I was surprised when his final print edition appeared in my snail mail box with its announcement that future issues would only be available through www.eFanzines.com .
Opuntia has always been an interesting read, a mix of SF book reviews, short examinations of scientific articles, personal stories, whatever interests Dale. Unlike me Dale would always create a packed edition each month, 16 pages of material.
I understand why Dale has decided to abandon paper for photons, especially with the drastic increase with Canadian postage. With my very short list of paperzine traders - no subscribers - my expenses with postage and printing aren't that onerous. Also, there's not that many pages with each edition.
Some papernetters are loathe to abandon snail mail distribution: they hate the web. And while I'm not a complete fan of digital media, it's obvious where the trend is going in seeking out readers.
One paperzine reviewer, DJ Frederick, at his blog urged Dale to return to meatspace:
"It’s a sad day in zinedom. This is Dale’s last paper issue of Opuntia... Dale – don’t do it! Stay with us out here on the postal plains & fight the good fight."
OK, you might be thinking: Why is DJ upset when he's reviewing zines online? Well, he does share his reviews with his paperzine and he has another good reason:
"I REFUSE to take my zines online where they are at the whim of isp providers and easy digital manipulation or deletion."
Me, I'm not that worried about those potential problems. I'm more concerned with another possible development: Greedy corporations start squeezing the net for all its worth, including access. Remember when a cable TV subscription was only $15 per month? Now they want you buy a bundle with phone and internet services for like $100 a month. Me, I make do at home with basic DSL for the net, the lowest price and slowest speed but doable. As for TV: OTA (off the air) is more than enough for me.
For now I'll keep collecting blog posts and formatting them into a paperzine format. Unless it costs too much or there's no one left on the postal plains. Just tumbleweed drifting through in the lonely wind.