Most readers are familiar with the big publishing houses, like Penguin Random House and HarperCollins, but there are thousands of independent, small publishing houses in the US and abroad committed to publishing diverse and debut voices, unconventional narratives, and works in translation, as well as hosting workshops and community programs. In honor of National Small Press Month, and with no small amount of hand-wringing — there are so many excellent choices — we present 24 of our favorite indie presses.
New Directions is a renowned press founded in 1936 by James Laughlin, and publisher of such groundbreaking authors and poets as Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Neruda, and Anne Carson. Recent offerings include The World Goes On, Compass, and Mrs. Caliban.
Located in Portland, Oregon, Future Tense proudly publishes groundbreaking and provocative work “by people often thought of as weirdos or outsiders.” Recent offerings include Excavation, I Don't Think of You (Until I Do), and The Folly of Loving Life.
Founded by Scott Walker in 1974, Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher that focuses on contemporary American and international literature, including modern-day luminaries Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith, and Maggie Nelson. Recent offerings include Don't Call Us Dead, The Empathy Exams, and Her Body and Other Parties.
Tin House Books launched in 2005 as an offshoot of Tin House magazine, an eclectic literary journal that focuses on established and emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Tin House publishes an average of 12 beautifully produced books per year. Recent offerings include Grow Your Own, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing.
Coffee House Press is committed to redefining “literature” to encompass an ever-increasing range of voices and communities. Recent offerings include Stephen Florida, Tell Me How It Ends, and A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing.
House of Anansi Press, founded in 1967, focuses exclusively on Canadian authors and French Canadian works in translation. House of Anansi also specializes in discovering and developing new literary talents in poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction. Recent offerings include Tokyo Digs a Garden, The Outlander, and The Sisters Brothers.
Located in Portland, Oregon, Hawthorne Books specializes in literary fiction and nonfiction, with a special emphasis on narratives that straddle the lines between essay, memoir, and fiction. Recent offerings include Narrow River, Wide Sky, True Portland, and Call Me Home.
Operating out of the University of Rochester, Open Letter is uniquely dedicated to literary works in translation. Recent offerings include The Endless Summer, Frontier, and North Station.
Europa seeks to bring fresh, high-quality fiction from international writers to the American and British markets. Notable authors include Elena Ferrante, Muriel Barbery, and Alina Bronsky. Recent offerings include My Brilliant Friend, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, and The Distant Marvels.
McSweeney’s is a nonprofit publishing company based in San Francisco. In addition to operating a (truly hilarious) humor site, McSweeney’s publishes a quarterly journal and several books a year, with a focus on unconventional and ambitious new writing. Recent offerings include A Load of Hooey, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, and White Girls.
This venerable small press began in 1917 as the Atlantic Monthly Press, merging much later with the small but groundbreaking Grove Press to become Grove Atlantic. The press publishes four imprints, Grove Press, Atlantic Monthly Press, Black Cat, and The Mysterious Press, and has many award-winning authors and titles to its credit. Recent offerings include History of Wolves, Freshwater, and Hotel Silence.
Founded in 1994, Counterpoint publishes Counterpoint and Soft Skull Press. Counterpoint’s books run the gamut from literary fiction to graphic novels and philosophy, but are unified by the press’s focus on literary voice and cutting-edge themes and forms. Recent offerings include Heart Berries, Gifted, and The Job of the Wasp.
Founded in 2012 in Portland, Oregon, Forest Avenue Press publishes literary fiction, often with a speculative bent. Recent offerings include City of Weird, Queen of Spades, and Parts per Million.
According to its website, “Microcosm is a vertically integrated publishing house that equips readers to make positive changes in their lives and in the world around them.” Microcosm’s emphasis on DIY, bicycling, and social justice helps to make it one of our customers’ favorite publishers. Recent offerings include Make Your Place, This Is Portland, and Unf#ck Your Brain.
This family-owned children’s book publisher puts out some of the most beautiful books on the market. Recent offerings include Chirri and Chirra, The Snowy Day, The Gold Leaf, and Bear and Wolf.
Akashic’s slogan is “Reverse-gentrification of the literary world.” A Brooklyn-based press, its focus is on urban literary fiction and political nonfiction, as well as authors disinterested in or ignored by mainstream media and publishers. Recent offerings include An Unkindness of Ghosts, Go the F**k to Sleep, and Havana Libre.
Bellevue Literary Press, based in the historic Bellevue Hospital in New York, publishes literary fiction and nonfiction that explores the interdisciplinary relationship between art and science. Recent offerings include Wolf Season, Hap and Hazard and the End of the World, and Autopsy of a Father.
Founded in 1955, City Lights publishes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and literature in translation. Recent offerings include Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, Like a Dog, and Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?
Copper Canyon Press is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to poetry from around the world. Recent offerings include Unaccompanied, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, and When My Brother Was an Aztec.
A husband-and-wife operation, Two Dollar Radio is an Ohio-based press that specializes in novels, essays, and graphic novels. Recent offerings include They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, The Vine That Ate the South, and Found Audio.
Focusing on innovative nonfiction since 1989, Feral House, based in Port Townsend, WA, likes its books on the dark side. Recent offerings include LiarTown, Rose City Vice, and The Gates of Janus.
Catapult, which launched in 2015, is committed to celebrating life in all its guises through extraordinary storytelling in fiction and nonfiction forms, including short stories and graphic novels. Recent offerings include Edisto, Large Animals, and The Middlepause.
Milkweed Editions "seeks to be a site of metamorphosis in the literary ecosystem." A nonprofit that focuses on debut and experimental writers, Milkweed publishes literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young readers and adults. Recent offerings include Four Reincarnations, The Orange Grove, and Island Home.
Dzanc Books is a nonprofit publisher of literary fiction that also runs several writing instruction and literacy programs across the country. Recent offerings include Darkansas, The Suicide of Claire Bishop, and The Brunist Day of Wrath.