Strange New Worlds Issue 4 - Oct/Nov 1992
Preserving Your Fanzine Collection
"What did I do wrong? Why is my collection of classic
zines falling apart?" by Jo Davidsmeyer
If you find your older zines literally crumbling in your hands when you attempt to turn
a page, don't berate yourself for your poor archiving skills. Early zines were generally
printed on the cheapest paper available, many on "twiltone" an
inexpensive, lightweight paper a grade below newsprint quality.
Several publishers are now re-issuing classic zines from the dawn of SF (science
fiction) fandom. These are being offered both on "authentic twiltone" and on
heavy white bond. Amazingly, publishers are charging more for the twilltone editions,
since they are a truer reproduction of the original. If you are a purist and wish to see
these zines as they were originally produced, by all means, enjoy the look and feel of
these reproductions. Just be aware that these, like the originals, will begin
deteriorating within years of purchase. Do not consider these "special editions"
to be long-term investments in a collectible that will appreciate in value.
The same applies to zines published using photocopying technology. This process bonds
the print to the paper, but this bond deteriorates with age. As time progresses, the print
will, quite literally, slide off the page.
Storing zines in acid-free wrappers and avoiding extremes in temperature will slightly
prolong their shelf-life; but, by their very nature, these low-quality products will
rapidly deteriorate with age.