Zines in the Library: Underground Communication and the Property Regimes of Book Culture

Janice Radway*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Janice Radway unearths the story of how a form of countercultural communication and indie art entered one of the key institutions of American book culture—the library. Tracing the efforts that American librarians undertook in the 1990s to collect zines—ephemeral handcrafted publications that typically combine image and text to espouse idiosyncratic or politically dissident views—Radway interprets the interest of US “book custodians” in zines as an index of their dissatisfaction with the commercialization and homogeneity of mainstream book culture. Conceptualizing zines as an early form of networked communication, Radway urges us to examine the economic, social, and political power dynamics shaping US book culture and the literary marketplace as well as to ask how the book as a “social form” may contribute to a genuinely democratic culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Book History
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameNew Directions in Book History
ISSN (Print)2634-6117
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6125

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Library and Information Sciences


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