Orphan Zine Table

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Synonyms: Orphan Zine Table
See also: Other People's Treasures
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"The Orphan Zine Table: The place to exchange a zine you’ve read for one you haven’t." From the K/S CONnections 2002 convention website.[1]

An orphan zine table is a table for fanzine publishers who want to sell their zines but can't attend the convention. The orphan zine table is run by the con committee who agents zines for a small percentage, usually around 10-15%. Some conventions also allow attendees to sell their used fanzines at the orphan zine table, and, room permitting, other items like songtapes and actor photos.

One of the logistical challenges of running an orphan zine table is that the items must be shipped either to the convention organizer's home and then transported to the convention and with the unsold inventory being shipped back. Over time, conventions had the publishers ship directly to the hotel the week before the convention. These logistics, along with the added shipping costs, often deterred the non-attending casual zine seller.

The orphan zine table was first invented in media fandom in 1984 at IDICon. [1]

From a 1998 Black Bean Soup:
Star Borne Press is now the new agent for orphan zine sales at MediaWest*Con 18. If you publish and wish to sell your fan zines and newsletters at one the the major zine conventions of the year, now is the time to make arrangements. There really is not that much time left to consign your zines for the Memorial Day weekend convention being held in Lansing, Michigan. Star Borne Press understands the difficulties that some consignors may have experienced with former orphan zine table dealers in the past. We know that you may have reason to be hesitant to consign your zines with somebody new. But we want to change things. We want to be a different kind of orphan zine table dealer... We are accepting zines in any fandom, rated from children's reading material to adult and slash. Even if you have a few copies for sale, contact us. MediaWest*Con 18 members are known for their eclectic Finnish tastes.

Not every convention has the resources (or interest) in hosting an Orphan Zine Table. They will often rely on other attending dealers to handle the logistics. For example, Jim and Melody Rondeau bring a Traveling Orphan Zine Table to KiScon, a Star Trek slash convention.[2]

From the 2009 Media West Program Book:

Where you can find fan fic unplugged! Where it is cheaper to buy a 'zine that to use your own printer to print out an unedited Internet version. Where all the fan fic sites on the web cannot compete with the joy of owning your very own hot and steamy 'zine with a Sue Lovett or Jean Kluge cover! Kate & Richard! Anna & her Visitors! Napoleon & Ilya! Bodie & Doyle! Jack & Daniel. K/S! Laura & Remington! etc. etc. etc. Where you can sell your premiering and new 'zines for FREE! Or sell your used 'zines, in order to make space for all the new stuff that you just have to have from MWC*31! A place to feed your obsessions even though you know that drugs would be the cheaper hobby, especially after the mover gives you a quote for moving you and your zine collection across country! The Orphan 'Zine Table -- where you can find intriguing new 'zines, great old 'zines, memorably bad Mary Sue 'zines, the really, really, really cheap 'zines, & lots of other interesting items of fannish interest including DVDs, CDs, T Shirts, books, movie stuff, & art work. We also are home to the Fannish Garage Sale, where you can dump, er, donate fannish items in need of a good home to be sold for the benefit of the Fan Fund!

Sample Text of a 2000 Orphan Zine Table Letter

Wanna sell your zines and memorabilia? Several Unlimited has handled the Orphan Zine table at REVELcon for over ten years, and has run a month-long Internet Zine Sale for the last three years. REVELcon will be held from March 16-18, 2001, and our Internet Zine Sale will be the month of April.

If you want to participate, here are the following rules and guidelines: You can participate in both events or only one. If you participate in both events, you will receive one check for all sales. We recommend that you send your items as soon as possible. The deadline for REVELcon is March 5, 2001. You can send your control sheet in advance, and bring your items to the convention. We definitely prefer an electronic listing of your items. The listing should have the following information for each item:

Fandom of the item (use Gen for General items, and Multi for Mixed Media or multifandoms items)
Name/Title of the item
Issue number of the item (if it has one)
Price for the item
Quantity of the item
Rating for the item (G for all ages/unrated, / for slash items, and A for adult items)

We can accept most electronic formats. If you can, please save your items in a spreadsheet format. We use Microsoft Excel, but can accept many different formats. We will accept books, photos, tapes and other memorabilia for sale. Please use discretion in the number of new zines you send us (of the same title). REVELcon is a moderate-sized con, and we recommend not more than 5-10 copies of an issue. Please indicate on your Control Sheet whether you are the editor, publisher, agent or owner of the zines. We also need a phone number where you can be reached, and an email address (if you have one).

All items must be priced. We do not set prices. REVELcon does not sell unauthorized copies of zines, or personal photocopies of zines. Any items identified as unauthorized will be returned unsold. Several Unlimited will deduct a 15% commission from the zine's sale price, so price accordingly. This commission applies for both the REVELcon Orphan Zine sales as well as the Internet Zine Sale. If you are attending REVELcon, you can pick up unsold zines at the end of the con and save the return postage. Otherwise, unsold zines will be mailed to you, via the method you requested, and insured. The cost of return mail/UPS will be deducted from your total profit. If you have any questions, contact Carolyn O'Neal Several Unlimited. Zines can be mailed to either address shown below: [2]

References

  1. Marnie S. from Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
  2. Several Unlimited Zine Letter