Those who follow the literary world know the agglomeration of mega-publishers that was once termed the “big six” long ago became the “big five,” and through yet another merger/acquisition will soon become the “big four.” It seems just a matter of time before we’re talking about the “big one.” Fortunately, there are many many small publishers out there bringing a panorama of distinct editorial styles and missions to bookstore and library shelves. As you approach this Book Bingo square, you may want to browse this mega-list of small and independent publishers from our catalog. Here are just a few of my own favorites from this eclectic list:
Archipelago Books specializes in beautifully produced international titles, often in their English language debuts, making them a sort of United Nations of literature. Their big cash cow has been Karl Ove Knausgaard’s popular soul-searching six volume memoir My Struggle, the kind of commercial success that most small publishers dream of, and one that helps underwrite a wide range of other less profitable but no less fascinating titles.
Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Diane DiPrima, Frank O’Hara, Paul Bowles, Gary Snyder, Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Howard Zinn… the list goes on and on. For over seventy years, City Lights Books has been publishing daring countercultural voices from their famed San Francisco Bookstore, and making literary history in the process. More exciting still are all their newer titles that keep the flame alive.
Graphic novel fans know that Seattle’s Fantagraphics is one of the medium’s most fertile and productive epicenters. The other great Indy house that is a must for lovers of sequential art – or bandes dessinées as the French say – is Montreal’s Drawn and Quarterly, publishers of a marvelously eclectic range of artists and writers including Adrian Tomine, Guy Delisle, Lisa Hanawalt, Lynda Barry, Shigeru Mizuki, Julie Doucet, and many more.
Love classics? Get to know Pushkin Press, who publish a wide range of international novels, stories and mysteries, many in fresh translations or appearing in English for the first time, in svelte irresistibly portable editions that just beg to be taken along on a walk or commute.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg: visit our full list of a hundred of our most interesting small and independent publishers, a gateway to thousands of intriguing reading experiences. No matter what kind of books you like, there’s a small press that specializes in it.
If you haven’t yet, you can download your Bingo card and find some of our curated lists and related articles at our Book Bingo page, and find our Spanish-language Bingo card and lists here! Still looking for ideas? Don’t forget you can ask for a personalized reading list from Your Next 5 Books! Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.
~ Posted by David W.