|Synonyms:||Zine fandom, in-person fandom|
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Print fans is a term sometimes used as a contrast to net fans when talking about fans who are interested in zines. Within zine-producing fandom, this type of distinction continues to be made as of the 2010s. Outside of it, the term is likely to be unfamiliar.
I was on a panel at Escapade called "Crossing the Line," which was conceived of as an explanation to net fans of how to find print resources, and to print fans of how to find net resources. It turned into much more than that, however, at least for me, and I've been thinking about it for days since. As I began to explain how to make connections to the print world, mundane details like the importance of SASEs, etc., the murmur began to rise of "but why should fans pay for zines when they can get stories free off the net?" Now, that's a fair question, but I wasn't very successful at answering it until Rachael Sabotini, who is fluent in both net and print fandom, explained something to me in words of few syllables. Net fandom, she said, is about the stories. It's about the stories as *product*. That's what fans want. If they can get product free, why should they go to more effort and incur costs to get it? I stared at her for a moment. Then I said, "May I have a totally gut-level and uncensored reaction to that? "*Eeeuuuw*." And suddenly I understood why there was resistance to my explanations of how to establish contact, and suddenly I began thinking about fannish activity and fannish community and fannish 'products', not quite in a new way, but from a perspective I hadn't seen before. And as part of that, I am going to try to drop the term "print fandom," which I think over-emphasizes the importance of zines, of physical products, and replace it with "in-person fandom." That isn't perfect either -- lots of the kind of thing I'm about to discuss goes on by mail and email, not face-to-face -- but it's better.