You might ask yourself, what is a zine? And how is a zine different from a magazine? This article is about to put into perspective the main difference between these two.
Many people think zine is short for magazine. That could be right, however, there are a few major differences between the two types of publications. Let’s start by defining the two concepts.

What is a magazine?

Well, this one’s quite easy to define, we’ve all read at least one in our lives. A magazine is usually a periodical, which is printed or electronically published (usually known as online magazine). Magazines are generally published on a regular schedule and contain a variety of content. Here’s more on how to start a magazine from scratch.

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So then, what is a zine?

A zine (pronounced zeen) is an independently or self-published booklet, often created by physically cutting and gluing text, icons, and images together onto a master flat for photocopying, but it is also common to produce the master by typing and formatting pages on a computer. The publication is usually folded and stapled.
Historically, zines have been around since 1776 when Thomas Paine self-published Common Sense and used it as an instrument in promoting the ideas that contributed to the U.S. War for Independence. Just a perfect example to demonstrate the free spirit of zine culture.

Zine comes from fanzine which is a term that generally describes a small-circulation science fiction publication. Fanzines first appeared in the late 1920s.
Zines were used to promote punk music in the 1970s, a time when this type of music received very little interest from the larger press music. This phenomenon spawned a new interest in self-publishing.
There are many bold, funny and beautifully designed zines out there.
Some zines became so popular and turned into regular publications, such as Bitch.

How to make a zine?

Zines are in no way, mainstream. This type of publication is nonconformist, just like their authors. There are a lot of ways to create a zine and there are no written rules. You can go wild with your content and images as zines have more of a DIY inspired look.
Also, when it comes to publishing zines, things are a lot different than publishing magazines. And this is because zines are not mainstream, as I said. While magazines are often produced by publishing companies, zines are self-published for a small circulation, distributed through mail order and word of mouth. Magazines may be focusing on selling advertising space and making a profit, whilst zines are mainly created for spreading bold, strong, revolutionary ideas.

Zine culture

Zine culture has made its comeback in the recent years, due rise of individual expression in social media. Social movements like Black lives matter Portland launched a zine to express their work and beliefs. Worth a flip.  And what’s cool about creating your own zine in the modern era of the internet is that you’ll have no circulation restrictions. Everyone with an internet connection can easily read and share your ideas. 

Going digital 

Zine is a type of publication made for a smaller circulation but ever since more and more publications shifted towards digital publishing, a lot of zines publishers did the same. We, here at Flipsnack, have a lot of ‘zinesters’ who are sharing their work with the entire world. 
You can either select to make your own ezine with one of our many templates or upload your own pdf.

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Zines are the fastest way for writers to produce self-published work. If you’re really passionate about something and want to make your voice heard, creating a zine is the right way to start sharing your ideas with the entire world. So, now that you know what a zine is you should spread your ideas and create one. With Flipsnack!


  1. Christine November 22, 2018 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Hey Adelina!

    Great post–this was a great piece to read, as I am just creating my own physical zine!

    I am curious how you were able to publish your zine onto this website, with the ability to flip pages? Since I am not making an ezine, I’d still like to publish my physical one in my portfolio on my website!


    • Adelina January 7, 2019 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment!
      The zines presented as examples in this article are made from scratch using our intuitive editor.
      If you wish to create one and embed it on your website, you can easily do so. You’ll see it’s very fast and easy!

      • Morgan May 10, 2019 at 3:25 am - Reply

        use Indesign and create a SWF that can have the page turn option and then export as an interactive PDF

        • Jani May 17, 2019 at 11:30 am - Reply

          That is a valid option too, but SWF files are somewhat obsolete and have security vulnerabilities, so most browsers will block them by default.

    • Lisa Campbell February 11, 2019 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      Interesting. I learned something. I thought “zine” was a typo and was looking forward to a daily wine…..

  2. Xufeng Tu February 2, 2019 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Hi Adelina,

    Thanks for your article about zines! I am really interested in zines and I want to know if I can interview you with some question? Please reply me if you are free to answer.

    Thank you!

    • Adelina February 4, 2019 at 11:15 am - Reply


      Thank you for your kind words! I just sent you an email regarding the interview.

  3. François Giboulet March 30, 2019 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Extra article about Zines. Merci beaucoup …!

  4. Alameen February 22, 2021 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    A zine is really fun to make and I look forward to making it

    • Lavi Buciuman February 23, 2021 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      Yes, indeed, it is an entertaining thing to do. :) Wishing you lots of fun and luck! Don’t forget to check Flipsnack’s gallery for zine template inspiration.

  5. Burn March 15, 2021 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    I am a bit confused about the choice of Common Sense as the first Zine.

    In addition to seeming as a very different thing as it was produced very differently, it was professionally published, with well over a dozen different editions in the first year, many companies got involved as well.

    And, if we are counting all poltical pamphlets, why is Common Sense specifically the first one counted as a Zine? There is a rich history of poltical pamphlets published centuries before it. One impactful one was Martin Luther’s 95 theses. If you want something less religious, why not pick something from the English Civil war, like a century before a Common Sense. A lot of the pamphlets from that are the lines of thinking Common Sense draws from.

    • Adelina March 24, 2021 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Hey there, thank you for your comment, it’s a lot of information in here that we definitely didn’t know about. We found out about Common Sense being the first ever zine, from Wikipedia. We will definitely dig deeper into this subject. Thanks!

  6. greg June 14, 2021 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Thoughts on china

  7. Zo September 13, 2021 at 5:14 am - Reply


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