Collecting Small & Independent Presses

There are so many small and independent presses out there that there is no way to cover them all. That said, most of us just buy our books from the regular bookstores and pay little attention to who actually publishes them.  We're familiar with Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, DoubleDay, and the like, but there are a number of smaller entities making a big splash in the collectibles market.

We like small presses because they usually hand pick their titles and authors based on a theme (obscure, sci-fi, out-of-print, poetry, etc), and then they print a small run or limited edition. Some go so far as to print on a letterpress and/or hand bind their books. 

Some smaller presses offer the same fare as larger presses and bookstores - with the prices being equal to those you'd find at any book shop. Others focus on specialty items: broadsides, artist's prints, limited edition titles, etc, with a costlier price tag.

City Lights | ABE Listings  
San Francisco based independent bookstore and publisher. They publish "cutting-edge fiction, poetry, memoirs, literary translations and books on vital social and political issues." Some of their authors include Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, William Carlos Williams. Their earlier editions are most collectible (1950s-1980s).

Graywolf Press | ABE Listings 
A not-for-profit publisher based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Graywolf is "[f]ounded on a dedication to the creation and promotion of thoughtful and imaginative contemporary literature essential to a vital and diverse culture, Graywolf Press publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry."  Out Stealing Horses, by Per Peterson appears to be their big collectible title to date.

Pomegranate | ABE Listings 
Specializes in art books, calenders, note cards, etc. Look for the higher priced newer items, or titles published between 1970 -1992. With these items, it's probably best to collect the things you like (ie: Edward Gorey calenders) because they have a huge catalogue and it's hard to know what will be worth $200 down the road and what will be worth $2.

McSweeney's | ABE Listings 
(sorry, I'm pilfering a bit from Wikipedia here) an American publishing house founded by writer/editor Dave Eggers. McSweeney's also publishes the quarterly literary journal Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, ... the monthly magazine The Believer, the quarterly food journal Lucky Peach, the sports journal Grantland Quarterly.... The publishing house also runs several additional imprints including, Believer Books (works from some of the monthly magazine‚Äôs most popular contributors), the Collins Library (reprints of forgotten classics), and McMullens (their new Children's imprint). McSweeney's is famous for putting out several different editions of the same book without making mention on the copyright page if it's a first edition, first/second/third printing. Instead, they usually change the cover color.

Centipede | ABE Listings 
This one's for all you horror genre junkies - limited editions, signed and unsigned copies.

Subterranean | ABE Listings 
"Subterranean Press is widely considered to be among the finest specialty publishers in the horror, suspense, and dark mystery genres, and has published Peter Straub, David Morrell, Dan Simmons, Poppy Z. Brite, Robert Bloch, and others.Subterranean Press has a close relationship with Joe R. Lansdale, which includes an ongoing program to release much of his previously unpublished work in Limited Edition format, while offering his latest releases in finely bound signed first editions." They also do Sci-fi. Limited editions, some signed and hand bound.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill | ABE Listings 
Publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction.

Copper Canyon | ABE Listings 

New Directions | ABE Listings  
earlier editions can be EXTREMELY valuable, especially if signed.

Arion | ABE Listings 
hand-bound limited editions

Arundel Press | ABE Listings 
bookstore and small press, limited edition books and folios.

The Permanent Press | ABE Listings 
small press, reg. book prices.

Moving Parts Press | ABE Listings 
a fine arts press, specializing in letterpress, broadsides, and limited edition artists books

Cadmus Editions | ABE Listings 
limited, signed editions.

Labels: , , , , ,