Zine Reviews: Bad Reviews

Q: Should we run bad reviews, or only good ones?


  • I say we skip bad reviews. I never bother writing down even the titles of zines I read that I don’t think I’d write up for BZE–just seems like a waste of space when there’s good stuff out there that can be highlighted.
  • I would think that we’d want to review zines that librarians are likely to purchase. If there’s a popular zine that isn’t very good, we’d want to address it. I’m assuming that in the beginning, the column will be more of an introduction to standardly available zines – for some reason that’s my logic. We’d want to start providing fodder for libraries.
  • In general, I’m in favor of posting the occasional bad review, but I wonder if we shouldn’t because we’re trying to encourage building zine collections, or at least not yet.
  • I think running bad reviews is okay if the reviews are critical and not just, “This zine was a boring pile of crap.” (God knows there are a lot of lousy zines out there, so this may be difficult to do.)
  • As for bad reviews vs good reviews: Are we going to accept submitted materials for review? Or are we only going to review what we bring to the table? If it’s the latter, that seems more likely that by default we will only present good reviews. Personally, as you might know from Zine World, I think bad reviews deserve to be published, too. So I would leave it open to include “not recommended” reviews. Again, it comes back to the question of what is the goal for this column.
  • Only good ones unless a magazine tries to pass itself off as a zine to try to encourage libraries to order it (a la the crappy “graphic novels” I see coming through the library system)
  • Since there are so many good zines, and in the spirit of the DIY supportive community, it would be nice to see more good reviews than bad. I think a time for a bad review would be when companies are trying to sneak their advertizing into zinester’s hands by producing an ad in the form of a zine…
  • We should run reviews based on content, which means sometimes bad reviews, sometimes good reviews with reservations, sometimes actual good reviews.
  • Maybe not at this point, if part of our goal is to attract librarians to an entire format of reading material.


In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #5 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)

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