Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


How We Assembled Indiespensable #26

Since Indiespensable's inception, we've wanted to do a box with Portland-based publisher Tin House.

We've been impressed with their amazing literary journals since they began over a decade ago. In 2005 they launched as an independent press, publishing books of stellar quality and with an emphasis on debut authors, which makes them exactly the kind of publisher Indiespensable was designed to highlight.

Plus, well, they're our neighbors! Their offices are only a few blocks away from ours. When we had a graphics question, it was easier to just dash up the street and take a look in person than to email countless files back and forth. You can't get much more local than that.

So, when Jill read Bright before Us (part of Tin House's New Voice series), she said, "This is the one." She was eager for someone else to read it, not just to see if it worked for Indiespensable, but to be able to talk (or even argue) about it — it's that kind of novel. Megan and Kim loved it too, and a happy partnership with Tin House was born.

We can't argue with Amy Hempel, one of our favorite writers, who called Katie Arnold-Ratliff's debut "an eerie, impeccably told story," or with Robin Romm, who raved,

What a rare book! Bright before Us is an unrequited love story, but it's also a meditation about the flash decisions we make, or fail to make, and the devastating way they undo us. A remarkable and compassionate debut.

When Tin House offered to create an exclusive hardcover edition just for Indiespensable, and the delightful Arnold-Ratliff agreed to sign the books at our warehouse (cookies were promised), we couldn't have been more pleased.

But Tin House kept on wowing us with their suggestions. We're proud to include an exclusive signed excerpt from Scott Sparling's forthcoming novel, Wire to Wire. Sparling is another Tin House New Voice, and his book is already garnering acclaim, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly and praise from authors Donald Ray Pollock and Willy Vlautin. We're also excited about Tin House's upcoming October title, Moby-Dick in Pictures, which will include a picture for every page of text in Moby-Dick.

In case any of these offerings inspires you to whip out your own pen, we've added a Tin House journal. Write in it, draw in it, make lists of movies or vegetables, or past loves; it's up to you.

And, finally, to keep this literary bounty (or anything else) safe from spring rains, we offer our sturdy, blue reusable tote bag.

The Indiespensable Team

÷ ÷ ÷

A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Bright before Us (Tin House New Voice)
    Used Trade Paper $4.50

Post a comment:

Get Your Gravatar

  1. Please note:
  2. All comments require moderation by staff.
  3. Comments submitted on weekends might take until Monday to appear.
PowellsBooks.Blog uses Gravatar to allow you to personalize the icon that appears beside your name when you post. If you don't have one already, get your Gravatar today!
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at