10 Independent Book Publishers Producing Quality Literature

Not every author is fortunate enough to have big dollars behind them, and not every great book ends up on bestseller lists. With so much of the marketplace dominated by big commercial titles with movie tie-ins and lots of publicity, it's important for someone to look out for personal stories written with extreme care and more delicate sensibilities. These publishers find those undiscovered gems and bring them to the world so we can enjoy contemporary literature that takes risks and reveals new insights about humanity. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Exciting Independent Publishers

Name Areas of Emphasis Notable Titles
Ashland Creek Press Ecofiction, veganism, nature, the environment, and animal welfare Three Ways to Disappear by Katy Yocom Love and Ordinary Creatures by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
NeWest Press Canadian writers, particularly those from the Western provinces Blood Relations and Other Plays by Sharon Pollock Chorus of Mushrooms by Hiromi Goto
Alva Press, Inc. Contemporary poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and e-books Once a Gypsy by Betty Hampel Jolt: A Rural Noir by Roberta M. Roy
Tartarus Press British house focusing on contemporary and overlooked horror and spec fiction Rupetta by Nike Sulway A Wild Tumultory Library by Mark Valentine
Sourcebooks Educational, self-help, parenting, and personalized children's literature, along with fiction and non-fiction Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson If The Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
Augury Books Contemporary short fiction, poetry, and memoir from a diverse range of voices Hook by Randall Horton The Family Cannon by Halina Duraj
Les Fugitives Francophone writers previously unpublished in English Selfies by Sylvie Weil, translated by Ros Schwartz The Living Days by Ananda Devi, translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman
Atelier26 "Idiosyncratic works of quiet merit," in physical print, given liberating rights agreements and royalty structures A Thousand Distant Radios by Woody Skinner Bird Book by Sidney Wade
Bellevue Literary Press Seeks to connect science and literature as parallel examinations of the human experience Tinkers by Paul Harding A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice by William E. Glassley
Scotland Street Press Supports distinctly Scottish creative voices, particularly female writers From Corsets to Communism: The Life and Times of Zofia Nalkowska by Jenny Robertson ANT: Collected Short Stories, War Serials, and Selected Poems of C. K. Scott Moncrieff edited by Jean Findlay

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Literary Charities

If you want to spread your love of literature with those in need, then you should consider looking into these non-profit organizations that help young minds get access to books and high-quality education.

  1. First Book
  2. Books for Kids
  3. Room to Read
  4. LitWorld
  5. 826 National
  6. KIPP
  7. Street Poets Inc.
  8. Get Lit - Words Ignite
  9. WriteGirl
  10. Academy of American Poets
  11. Asian American Writers' Workshop
  12. Beyond Baroque

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In Depth

In an age when the publishing industry, like so many others, is increasingly dominated by a few enormous companies, some readers may be heartened to learn that there are still independent publishers working and thriving. Many of these boutique outlets are organized around unique visions of the ways that literature can enrich our lives, curating their collections with an eye to a particular audience or mission. In no particular order, here are 10 independent presses bringing creative works to print.

#1 on the list is Ashland Creek Press, a vegan-owned publishing house that produces books of all genres about nature, the environment, and animal welfare. This includes ecofiction, in which conservation forms a central theme, and novels aimed at presenting vegans as characters rather than caricatures. It also means works that portray the lives of animals or the natural beauty of ACP's home state of Oregon. Each year the company awards the Sisikyou Prize to an outstanding work of environmental literature.

ACP's blog provides a home for news about their authors and for discussions about the intersection of nature and literature. The company also sponsors EcoLit Books, a web journal dedicated to writing with an environmental focus. Interested readers can download samples of Ashland Creek titles, and their online store carries gifts and apparel along with their publications.

The company also sponsors EcoLit Books, a web journal dedicated to writing with an environmental focus.

Next we have #2, NeWest Press, among the first independent publishers in Canada. NeWest offers fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, and places a special emphasis on authors from the Western provinces. Its Nunatak line, a platform for previously unpublished authors, is the oldest of its kind in the country. The company also produces the Writer As Critic series which showcases reflections on Canadian literature from some of its preeminent figures, like acclaimed poet Fred Wah or noted feminist writer Daphne Marlatt.

Books from NeWest Press have won or been finalists for a number of national and international accolades, like the Arthur Ellis Awards and the Commonwealth Writers' prize. The first ever Governor General's Literary Award went to a NeWest title, Blood Relations and Other Plays by Sharon Pollock; other notable works they have brought to print include Chorus of Mushrooms, Hiromi Goto's seminal exploration of the experience of Japanese immigrants in Canada, and Icefields, Thomas Wharton's celebrated novel about obsession, time, and the glaciers of the Canadian Rockies.

Coming in at #3 is Alva Press, Inc, which has been serving their readership with well-regarded contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry since 2004. The company is committed to environmentally responsible publishing, and their works are distributed primarily as e-books, viewable on computers and e-readers and made available through Alva's website, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. They are selective about the manuscripts they produce, working closely with authors to ensure their audience and writers alike benefit from professional-quality work.

The company is committed to environmentally responsible publishing, and their works are distributed primarily as e-books, viewable on computers and e-readers and made available through Alva's website, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Alva's motto is "Cherish the writer...delight the reader." In their online Writer's Forum, both established and emerging authors can engage with colleagues and audiences through short essays, stories, and poems, and aspiring fiction writers can find resources for their own growth as wordsmiths on the site's blog. Alva's titles include anthologies that have received Gold Medals in Poetry from the International e-Lit awards, alongside romance novels, mysteries, and even children's books.

#4 on the list is Tartarus Press, an independent small-scale publishing house based in Britain. Founded in 1990, this company produces horror and uncanny fiction, specializing in limited printings of high-quality hardcovers with a spare and minimalist design. They accept submissions from contemporary authors as well as bringing out new editions of works by past masters of the macabre. Tartarus and its publications have received numerous accolades, including several World Fantasy Awards and a Specialty Press Award from the Horror Writers' Association.

Alongside novels and single-author compilations, Tartarus periodically publishes Strange Tales, a collection of speculative short fiction by both emerging and established writers. The company also sponsors the print journal Wormwood, an examination of modern developments and past achievements in bizarre, unsettling, and fantastic literature. Many of their essays and articles aim to shed light on overlooked or underappreciated titles; the 'Camera Obscura' column, for example, reviews contemporary but obscure books, while the 'Late Reviews' segment offers new looks at older works.

The company also sponsors the print journal Wormwood, an examination of modern developments and past achievements in bizarre, unsettling, and fantastic literature.

#5 in our rundown is Sourcebooks, an independent press committed to bringing people books that will change their lives for the better. They offer a wide variety of educational and self-help materials in addition to fiction and children's literature. Begun in 1987 by a former advertising specialist seeking to publish titles for finance professionals, the company has expanded to encompass numerous specialty imprints. Examples include Sourcebooks Casablanca, now one of the world's biggest sources of romance novels, and Baby University, a science education series for small children.

Founded on innovation and experimentation, Sourcebooks continually looks for new ways to enhance the customer experience and deliver content. They've pioneered mixed-media works like the Shakesperience, a way to interact with the Bard's famous plays through a combination of text, illustrations, video, and audio. They've explored novel publishing models like their partnership with online storytelling platform Wattpad. And they continue to promote their authors and engage with their audience through their website, blog, and numerous academic and library conferences.

Our #6 is Augury Books, a small press headquartered in Brooklyn, New York and dedicated to publishing original and creative work from both up-and-coming and well-established writers. Augury aims to reflect the diverse experiences of their audience and create a space where a wide range of voices can be heard. Their authors have received honors including the O. Henry prize for short fiction, the Great Lakes Colleges Association's "Discover" Award for creative nonfiction, and the Tony Quagliano International Poetry Award.

Augury aims to reflect the diverse experiences of their audience and create a space where a wide range of voices can be heard.

Founded in 2010, Augury has produced notable works including: Hook, Randall Horton's epistolary memoir about his descent into and recovery from addiction and crime; You're the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, Arisa White's collection of surrealist poems exploring identity, prejudice, and gender; and The Family Cannon, the award-winning compilation of short stories by Halina Duraj. Augury Books proudly counts itself among the members of CLMP, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, and continues to publish fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by authors of every stripe.

#7 on the list is Les Fugitives, a collective of translators, editors, artists, and publishers working to bring critically lauded French literature to the English-speaking public. They seek out exemplary titles that have gone unnoticed by mainstream outlets in the US and UK, focusing particularly on short books that serve as ideal introductions to their authors' bodies of work. Through the efforts of translators like Cecile Menon, Mark Hutchinson, and Sophie Lewis, the group offers Anglophones the chance to experience a new range of highly acclaimed stories.

The work of Les Fugitives focuses on genre-straddling books with non-linear narratives after the modernist style. Inspired in part by their initial effort, a translation of Nathalie Legere's unconventional biography of actress Barbara Loden, they strive to reflect the interplay between cinema, photography, and literature. Their collection explores themes of representation and solidarity with titles like Sylvie Weil's Selfies, a memoir tied to historical female self-portraits, or The Living Days, Ananda Devi's portrait of interracial attraction and conflict in London.

The work of Les Fugitives focuses on genre-straddling books with non-linear narratives after the modernist style.

At #8 is Atelier26, an independent press from Portland, Oregon devoted to producing expressive, aesthetically captivating books that provoke conversation and reflection. The company is also committed to making equitable and non-restrictive agreements with their authors in order to support their creative endeavours. With acclaimed works like the darkly comic stories of Woody Skinner's A Thousand Distant Radios and the avian-inspired poetry of Sidney Wade's Bird Book, Atelier26 aims to be a home for unconventional talent.

Opposing the reduction of literature to commerce, Atelier26 is sponsored by the non-profit arts group Fractured Atlas, and seeks to serve audiences and creators. They offer resources like the podcast In the Atelier, discussing the challenges of authorship, or their workshops for aspiring writers. The organization also connects with the reading public through its blog and events. Anyone interested in supporting this independent publisher's mission can donate online or by mail.

Entry #9 is Bellevue Literary Press, a publisher bridging the divide between science and the humanities. Their staff and leadership, many of whom have backgrounds in research and medicine, view the arts and sciences as parallel examinations of the human experience. BLP began in NYU's Bellevue Hospital, intended to offer an interdisciplinary approach to life's central questions. The results include works ranging from The Cage, a harrowing portrait of the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, to Natural Selections, an exploration of our shared past and future through the lens of genetics.

Their staff and leadership, many of whom have backgrounds in research and medicine, view the arts and sciences as parallel examinations of the human experience.

Bellevue Literary Press strives to foster a lively exchange of ideas, forming partnerships to bring the conversation between science and literature into educational, clinical, and community venues. BLP outreach resources include teaching guides to aid instructors using their books for coursework, group guides to help readers organize discussions of their titles, and an online forum hosting dialogues between eminent thinkers in STEM and humanities fields. Bellevue is funded by donor gifts; you can support them by contributing directly or purchasing tickets to fundraising events.

Our final entry, #10, is Scotland Street Press, founded by Jean Findlay in 2014 with the proceeds from her biography of her ancestor, noted translator Charles Scott Moncrieff. This boutique publishing house was established with the aim of supporting distinctly Scottish creative voices; they also strive to correct the under-representation of female authors in their nation's literary canon. Among their many talented creators, Scotland Street introduced the world to the writings of PEN Award winner Tania Skarynkina and Carnegie Medal nominee L.J. MacWhirter.

Scotland Street aims to complement the literary excellence of their books with superb visual presentation, creating works that engage the eyes as well as the mind. Their printing, design, and editorial teams collaborate to give each work a distinctive style that reflects the themes of the text. Many of their publications, like the collection of illustrated poems Aspects of Edinburgh or the historical novel 66: The House That Viewed The World, explore the unique history and character of the city this small press calls home.