Criterion Collection for Books
December 28, 2016 11:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for interesting publishing imprints. Examples inside.

I really enjoy the NY Review Classics imprint and the Hard Case Crime imprint, and I'm looking for more publishing imprints that are either really narrow in focus (like Hard Case Crime) or just a broad collection of whatever the editors find interesting (like NYR Classics), but have at least some sense of unifying theme. I'm not looking for reprints of conventional classics (Penguin Classics, Modern Library , etc.) or exclusively newly printed material (FSG, Picador, etc.), just weird or interesting publishing imprints with a distinct identity. I don't want my interests or tastes taken account of, just a list of cool imprints.
posted by R.F.Simpson to Society & Culture (28 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Persephone Books sounds like just what you're after. Their books are beautiful and the bookshop is a treat.
posted by tavegyl at 11:21 PM on December 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

Graywolf Books? They've put out several really important books in the last couple years -- Eula Biss's On Immunity; Claudia Rankine's Citizen; Leslie Jamison's Empathy Exams; Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake. It's definitely a broad collection of what very sharp editors with excellent taste find interesting, particularly in poetry, essays, and hard-to-categorize fiction, lots of little gems that wouldn't come from a major publisher.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:52 PM on December 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'd nominate Dalkey Archive Press as the Criterion Collection for books. Two series from Melville House also come to mind: the Neversink Library and the Art of the Novella. Things more like your Hard Case Crime example to me include Soho Crime, Felony & Mayhem, and British Library Crime Classics. And here are a few "Personally, I'd read a blog with nothing but reviews of these" imprints: Haikasoru, Tartarus Press, and Open Letter Books.
posted by Wobbuffet at 12:00 AM on December 29, 2016 [7 favorites]

One of my favorite targeted small presses is Wakefield Press. I buy pretty much whatever they publish sight unseen and have rarely been disappointed.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 12:12 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Pushkin Press is one of my most reliable sources. Their Vertigo series is a must for crime classics from around the world that they have had translated.
posted by vacapinta at 2:00 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Seconding Wakefield Press. There's also Les Figues Press who lean more "conceptual," and Archipelago Books who deal exclusively in translations.

None of these to me has a particular "theme" that ties their output together. It's more that they have a consistent sensibility(Archipelago is literally two people last I heard, and one is kinda part-time) such that if something ends up working for you, you can likely trust other things from them.
posted by Su at 2:06 AM on December 29, 2016

Crippen and Landru publish collections of crime short stories.
posted by Azara at 2:45 AM on December 29, 2016

Virago Press is an older company with similar goals to the aforementioned Persephone Books (mostly mid-twentieth century mostly women writers) -- their catalogue is wide-ranging and fascinating.
posted by jeudi at 3:51 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Girls Gone By Publishers - school stories and other re-published (and a few new) children's books.
Bettany Press - children's books, disability.
Fidra Books - children's books.
Greyladies Books - crime, vintage.
Dean Street Press - crime, vintage, and recently added the Furrowed Middlebrow collection of women's writing.
I was also going to suggest Rue Morgue Press, but it looks like they are no longer operating.
Slightly Foxed - better known as a magazine, but also republishes books, mostly memoirs.
There was also Old House Books of Devon, who published some good historical stuff like Booth's poverty map and a nineteenth-century London guide, but I think they are now an imprint of Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury has taken over Shire Books (history, archaeology, collectables) too.
Hesperus Press - this one is quite varied, nineteenth-century, vintage, non-fiction, children's, translated work.
And maybe Granta Books - non-fiction, literary fiction.
posted by paduasoy at 5:06 AM on December 29, 2016

I love books in translation and have subscriptions to these publishers, all of whom I recommend highly:

Open Letter Books
Deep Vellum
Restless Books
& Other Stories

In genre fiction, I'm a big fan of Subterranean Press, which publishes beautiful editions of past and present fantasy and science fiction.
posted by JohnFromGR at 6:17 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also, Small Beer Press has some interesting stuff going on. I just picked up their beautiful edition of John Crowley's The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz.

For general high-quality quirkiness, there is McSweeney's, both their books and their quarterly literary journal.
posted by JohnFromGR at 6:24 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cool question.

Maybe Dorothy?
posted by latkes at 7:25 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Canongate did a really cool series of books, The Myths, written by famous authors who were instructed to rewrite a famous myth. There's also the 33 1/3 series, where each volume is written by different authors about a specific music album.
posted by LKWorking at 7:41 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Peirene Press does English translations of books that most English readers might not get to read otherwise. They do sort of a book subscription with a theme. You sign up and receive four unique and translated books a year.
posted by Kitteh at 8:08 AM on December 29, 2016

Peirene Press publishes each year a themed set of three short novels / novellas, translated into English. Their selections are so interesting and unique.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 8:08 AM on December 29, 2016

33 1/3
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 8:14 AM on December 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Nobrow Press puts out gorgeous illustrated books and graphic novels for all ages, as well as a magazine and small press editions. Internet pictures do not do justice to just how lovely some of these books are to hold and look through.

And Drawn & Quarterly books are on just about every “Best of Comics and Graphic Novels” list out there.
posted by D.Billy at 8:47 AM on December 29, 2016

More topical than literary, Chelsea Green Publishing and New Society Publishers are pretty much the only publishers I am willing to be on the mailing list of. (That and Small Beer Press, because, Gavin Grant.)
posted by libraryhead at 10:47 AM on December 29, 2016

Snuggly Books: obscure 18th-19th century weird fiction + similar work from today.

Aqueduct Press: feminist science fiction, both new and reprints of classic feminist speculative fiction from the sixties and seventies.

Cleis Press: one of the largest and oldest LGBT publishers. Many classics in their catalogue.

RE/Search Publications: It's hard to describe these people. Their site banner has photos of their founder, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Genesis P-Orridge, and J.G. Ballard, if that gives you an idea. Catalogue includes much archival work on zine culture and performance-art culture, plus things like the foundation text of all cultural studies work on body modification, Modern Primitives. They were Ed Hardy's publisher waaaaaay before he had a popular clothing line. Also sell posters and T-shirts.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 12:50 PM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dover Press. A home for advanced texts for a number of disciplines as well as a line of low-cost editions of classic lit.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:12 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dedalus Books, which focuses on "its own distinctive genre, which we term distorted reality, where the bizarre, the unusual, the grotesque and the surreal meld in a kind of intellectual fiction which is very European."
posted by inire at 4:27 PM on December 29, 2016

Dover has amazing books in math/science/philosophy. And they're cheap.

Hackett does something similar for history of philosophy. No frills.
posted by persona au gratin at 3:07 AM on December 30, 2016

The great Univocal--letterpress covers! Laruelle! Wow!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:30 PM on December 30, 2016

Centipede Press makes beautiful, highly curated horror books.
posted by thetortoise at 11:22 PM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Black Lizard is the great short-lived predecessor to Hard Case Crime, though the original imprint is defunct and it continues in somewhat more conventional (though still well-chosen) form at Vintage today.
posted by thetortoise at 11:37 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

On the more egg-heady side, I like Zone Books, almost everything from the Princeton Architectural Press, Twin Palms' photography, and Reaktion, particularly this Animals list, and finally the University of Texas Press' music list has been pretty amazing recently .
posted by Stanczyk at 5:41 AM on December 31, 2016

Vertical Inc. publishes translated Japanese books, including fiction, manga, and craft books.
posted by phatkitten at 8:04 AM on January 1, 2017

Seconding Dedalus Books, which was my NYRB Classics before I discovered NYRB Classics. I always picked them up whenever I came across them cheap, and they were always somewhere on the spectrum from "interesting" through "good" to "excellent". My first was The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.

Black Sparrow Press titles were always worth picking up too, and they made nice editions. I discovered them via my fleeting Bukowski obsession.

Rebel Inc Classic were great as well. Fante, Brautigan, Hamsun - quality line.

Also I know you said "no Penguin" but I just wanna say...the Penguin Great Ideas collections are all absolutely gorgeous objects, especially if you have full runs in their slipcases, and though I haven't collected them for a while, looking over their page I can't see a dud amongst them. Just look at these things! Designer is David Pearson.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:28 PM on February 2, 2017

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