The Zine-Taping Service for Blind and Print Handicapped Readers

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Related terms: Podfic, Audiozines, Taping Service
See also: Sound Tape, Fanzine Library
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The Zine-Taping Service for Blind and Print Handicapped Readers was run by Janice St. Clair and Marcia Nigro beginning around 1992. It was a non-profit service that assembled a library of master tapes for the use of print-impaired fans, who otherwise would not be able to access fan fiction. The process was to ask zine writers for permission and have fans read these zines onto tape, much like podfic today.

flyer, click to read

After getting permission from a zine publisher, fiction from that zine was then recorded by a fan onto an audio cassette. That audio cassette would then become part of a library from which would be used to make other tapes. These tapes would be sold at cost to fans who'd requested them. To help ensure that only eligible fans would utilize these tapes, they were recorded in such a way that they would sound like gibberish on normal cassette players, rather than the cassette players sight-impaired fans received from the government. Sighted fans recorded the fiction on regular machines, and the Janice and Marcia re-mastered the tapes for the special machines.

Reports of Fundraising, and Progress

From a 1993 MediaWest*Con progress report:
THE FANZINE TAPING SERVICE FORT BLIND AND PRINT- HANDICAPPED READERS thanks those who extended us moral and material support during MediaWest'Con. Several fans donated zines, gave permission to tape, and expressed interest in reading zines onto tape for us . Through the Silent Auction and cash donations, we made $58.50 toward our out-of-pocket expenses. Attendees donated two-plus books of stamps and 52 unused name brand cassettes.
In 1994, the taping service had completed several projects:
"As of this printing, the taping service has received permission from 64 fan authors/editors in 18 fandoms to record their zines and stories. We received over 45 inquiries from interested volunteers, and have received 10 audition tapes. 5 volunteers are currently taping zines for us. We have 7 zines-on-tape ready to distribute and have several more in progress. By [August 1993] our ad is due to appear in a national Braille publication. We urge fans to tell us of other ways we might spread the word. We are not in any computer nets, and would appreciate members putting our notices on computer bulletin boards."[1]
In 1995, the service had some financial issues and wrote a notice in Media Monitor #10:
Does your fan group do charity fundraising? If so, [our service] needs your help! We are a fan-run, non-profit service, funded through fan support. Equipment failure has put a temporary halt to processing tapes, and we need sponsors for the estimated $200 repair of our two broken, specially modified, crucial machines. Individual donations are also very welcome! Pending resumption of service, both potential consumers and volunteer readers are invited to file SASEs. Print, Braille, or taped inquires welcome.
From an ad in The Monthly in 1996:
This is a non-profit service operated out-of-pocket by two longtime fans, one sighted, one blind. If you know someone who might benefit from our service, please pass the word. If you write or publish fanfic, please send us written permission to record your work for those without access to print. If you are interested in volunteering to tape zines, please send SASE.

Similar Fan Services


  1. Subject: Fw: zine taping post to Lysator by Sandra K. on April 28, 1994.