Someone mentioned wanting to do a study on the effect of PCs on fandom.
After VCRs, though, the next technology to radically affect fandom has
been cheap photocopying and/or photocopiers. Editors purchasing their
own photocopiers has changed the dynamics of fan publishing. Unfortunately.
the effects are not positive.
This brings up another point that needs clarifying. While some editors
are still motivated by the spirit of fandom described in Textual Poachers
and Enterprising Women, the trend for the last several years has been
for editors to make a killing in the zine market. This ties into the
impact of cheap photocopiers.
Ten years ago an editor had to get her zine printed. This required bucks
up front and the result was a set number of zines that were sold through
the mail or at cons. An issue sold out, and leftover money went into
paying the printer for the next issue. The first issue of "Out of Bounds"
was done in 81. We did a print-run of 400 and charged $10.00 for
170 pages of text (no illos).
Today, an editor who has her own copier charges $20.00 for roughly the same
page count when the cost of production has been radically DECREASED. Also,
they are doing 4 issues a year. Frankly, there aren't enough good stories
out there to support all the zines being published. The result is a glut
of bad, overpriced zines with editors making a parasitic living off of
fandom. K/S zines such as Naked Times and First Time have 30 issues
in print because nothing goes out of print. The goal now is to reach
page count. Forget editorial standards, rewrites or refusals. When
an editor comes up short all she needs to do is put an inch wide border
around the text and leave a large margin around the border, increase the
type size and voila!.
Some editors are advertising word count, now, instead of page count. People
I know who wouldn't have dreamed of copying a zine while it was still in
in print ten years ago now don't give it a second thought. The thought
being "why should I pay XXXXXXXXXXX $22.00 for a xerox copy when I can
make my own xerox copy for $5.00?"
Cheap photocopying, through, has helped Pros fandom. With thousands of
pages of stories circulating, cheap/stolen photocopying made it possible
to be in the fandom and pay the phone bill.