a distro is a person/persons who distribute zines (zines being something like an underground press/ backlash against corporate owned media/ forum to young writers/artists/activists to have their say, whether it be on personal events, political matters, or just pure expression of artistic and creative talents), to put it simply. kind of a mail order method, whereby people who write zines can distribute their works through these people, and thus increasing exposure for themselves. similar to the way a retail store is run, where you buy products at wholesale ("cost" price), and then resell to general public for a markup. however, the idea of a distro is NOT for profit, as most distros barely break even anyway (when a distro wholesale price is around 30 - 50c and the distro owner is selling them to the community for 75c - there's not a lot of profit to be made, given the expenses for running the project). why be a distro owner? -- my reasons include expanding the zine scene in australia/south australia as i've mentioned before, promoting free expression, an avenue for spreading the words & thoughts of everyday people with a say on the world. we're tired of being fed what the corporates want us to hear through the media. we're tired of not being told the truth about the way the world is, about being told what to wear and whats "in fashion" and so on by glossy magazines and other pop-culture avenues of media. zines are a way for everyone to have their say.
it doesn't mean they're all good or all worth reading; but it gives people a chance to express themselves. like a weblog on paper.
i believe that people should have their say. we are the people who make the money that the government squanders on things like military & wars & their own cosy lifestyles, while our own children get "taught" in classes that are double the size of what they should be because they've cut public education funding again; who are urged to donate money for cancer research and helping the homeless and running community care phonelines because they don't receive any help from the government for such causes. we are the people who make it possible and yet, we aren't allowed to be told about it.
a zine is a small thing, in many cases, a zine is an irrelevant thing. but it is free expression. it IS free speech, but in a truer sense of the world than our governements allow. underground press, a rebellion against government restrictions on what we're allowed to know. and a distro is a way of spreading this.
so that is in short what a distro is, and why i want to run one. although admittedly i've taken a more political/activist stance on this description that what i'll probably end up stocking. but hey, it's all about free expression anyway.
(*disclaimer: quality of written work is still important, a distro owner holds the right to agree or to disagree against stocking certain zines they believe won't sell. but not "sell" as in money-making like corporations use the word, but as in, wanting to actively distribute to the greater community. i'm not sure if that's censorship, but i call it quality control)