The production of zines – self-published booklets of texts and images, usually made with a copy machine – gained momentum during the 1970s when artists adopted the medium as a means of circulating artworks at a low cost. This exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, New York is the first dedicated to the history of the zine in North America (17 November–31 March 2024). It brings together more than 800…

The Rise of Zines: A Look into the Future

The world of publishing has undergone significant transformations over the years, with the rise of digital media and online platforms reshaping the way we consume and distribute content. However, amidst this digital revolution, there is a growing trend that harks back to an earlier era – the revival of zines.

Zines, or self-published booklets composed of texts and images, have gained momentum since the 1970s. Artists, writers, and creators have embraced this medium as a means of circulating their works at a low cost while maintaining creative control over their content. The recent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, dedicated to the history of zines in North America, is a testament to the enduring popularity and cultural significance of this art form.

The Power of Zines

While zines may seem like relics of a bygone era, they continue to hold immense value in today’s fast-paced and digitally saturated world. Here are some key reasons why zines are experiencing a resurgence:

  • Authenticity and Individuality: Zines provide creators with a platform to express their unique perspectives and voices without the constraints imposed by traditional publishing houses. They allow for personal narratives and unconventional ideas to flourish, fostering a sense of authenticity and individuality.
  • Low-Cost Distribution: The accessibility of zine production and the low-cost distribution options offered by copy machines and independent bookstores make them an attractive option for artists and creators. Zines offer an affordable way to reach a wider audience and build a community around a specific theme or interest.
  • Tactility and Tangibility: In an increasingly digital world, zines offer a refreshing tactile experience. The act of physically creating and holding a zine allows readers to engage with the content in a more intimate and meaningful way, creating a bridge between the creator and the audience.

The Future of Zines

As we look to the future, it is clear that the allure of zines will only continue to grow. Here are some potential trends and developments that we can expect:

  1. Digital Integration: While zines have thrived in print form, we can anticipate a greater integration of digital platforms. Online zines, in the form of e-books or interactive web experiences, can expand their reach to a global audience and provide additional multimedia elements to enhance the reading experience.
  2. Collaborative Zine-making: Zine-making has always had a strong community aspect, with artists joining forces to create collaborative publications. This trend is likely to continue, with artists leveraging online communities, social media platforms, and crowdfunding to collaborate on zine projects across geographical boundaries.
  3. Mainstream Recognition: As zines gain more visibility through exhibitions, art galleries, and museums, they are on track to receive greater recognition within the mainstream publishing industry. Traditional publishers may begin to embrace zine aesthetics and independent publishers could emerge as significant players in the market.

Recommendations for the Industry

For the publishing industry, recognizing and embracing the potential of zines is crucial. Here are some recommendations for publishers, artists, and creators:

1. Embrace Collaboration: Publishers can foster collaboration between artists and writers, allowing for the creation of unique zines that appeal to a diverse audience. The power of community and collective creativity should be harnessed to drive innovation in content creation and distribution.

2. Experiment with Formats: Publishers should explore different formats and mediums to engage readers in new and exciting ways. From interactive digital zines to limited edition collectibles, there is ample opportunity to push the boundaries of zine production and elevate the reading experience.

3. Promote Diversity and Inclusivity: The zine movement has always been a platform for marginalized voices and alternative perspectives. Publishers should actively seek out diverse creators and amplify their voices, ensuring that the zine industry remains a space for inclusivity and representation.

The future of zines is bright, filled with possibilities for innovation, collaboration, and creativity. As we witness the resurgence of this art form, let us embrace the unique power of zines to inspire, provoke, and connect.


  • Brooklyn Museum. “Zines: Self-Publishing as a Means of Circulation.”
  • If Not Now, When? “The Future of Zines.”
  • Alaimo, Danika. “The Future of the Zine: From Analog Punk to Digital Age.”