Favorite small publishers
June 21, 2007 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I love finding books and authors who have been forgotten until a long time fan decides to make their work available again through some labor of love small press. Do you know of a publisher that has a somewhat esoteric focus along these lines? Who are they? Fiction or non is fine. It doesn't have to be someone who republishes old books though. If you know a house that has great taste with contemporary authors, go ahead and share. I would also like to hear about small presses that do particularly beautiful editions of good reading books as long as they are reasonably priced (barely breaking a $100). I've got a few examples inside.

I'm thinking of publishers like NYRB, Wooden Books and Narrative Press. I'm open to most subjects as long as the prose is good and the writer is insightful. If it's in science and work has advanced past him or over turned some of his theories that's fine. Strict accuracy is not my concern here.
posted by BigSky to Shopping (19 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favourites is Persephone Books, which has a little shop on Lamb's Conduit Street, London. They specialise in rediscovering early 20th century books, particularly by women writers, and their editions are lovely, with a different design of endpaper (I think that's what it's called) for each book.
posted by altolinguistic at 10:03 AM on June 21, 2007

If you like SF, NESFA Press reprints classic science fiction.
posted by fings at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2007

Persephone Persephone Persephone! Their editions are lovely.
posted by goo at 10:25 AM on June 21, 2007

Three of my favorites are Exact Change for experimental classics, Shoemaker and Hoard (really, any lover of small presses should follow Jack Shoemaker around North Point (before he sold it), Counterpoint (ditto), now S&H), and the Phoenix Fiction imprint at the University of Chicago. Dalkey Archive is great for Modernist classics.

NYRB Classics is really doing the best work in this specific field right now, though.
posted by OmieWise at 10:26 AM on June 21, 2007

Thirding Persephone. They are so beautiful, and yes, I love that the endpapers are all different - I believe they try to find prints that are of the period of the book. I have 3 but I want MORE!
posted by phoenixc at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2007

I have a couple of things from Green Integer that I enjoy.
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2007

Well they couldn't be considered small anymore, but Black Sparrow Press is well known for reviving interest in John Fante. Many other notable authors were published by Black Sparrow before really being recognized as great talents, Charles Bukowski among them.
posted by poppo at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2007

Overlook Press has a nice Wodehouse reissues series, as well as having republished Charles Portis (one of my all time favorite writers) and Kyril Bonfiglioli. They are also regular trade publishers but have a dab hand with the reissues.

NYRB is, of course, the shit. I especially recommend "The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll" by Alvaro Mutis, simply amazing.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2007

Exact Change for experimental classics

And if you like Exact Change you will absolutely adore Atlas Press (in fact, Exact Change used to be their US distributor). Beautiful English language editions of seminal but often obscure avant garde works from the 19th and 20th century.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:24 PM on June 21, 2007

I like Europa Editions for contemporary European fiction.
posted by otio at 1:35 PM on June 21, 2007

Steidl & Fuel both publish interesting books, I found one via the other.
posted by selton at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2007

Atlas is good.

I forgot about Europa Editions. I've read three of their books in the past month and they've all been quite good. Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo was a standout, and should be read by any noir lover or lover of Marseilles.
posted by OmieWise at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2007

Green Lion Press puts out some very nice historical math and science texts, although their books are more notable for their usefulness, rather than their aesthetics. Their edition of Euclid's Elements corrects a lot of the problems (and outright errors) present in the Dover edition.

I'd also like to second Black Sparrow Press. I'm sad to see that they've closed up shop and sold the rights to Bukowski's and several other author's (including my favorite in their stable Wyndham Lewis). I guess this explains the John Fante movies. Their titles are easy to spot in used bookstores and worth flipping through if you come across any.
posted by clockwork at 2:34 PM on June 21, 2007

Night Shade Books is my current guilty pleasure. I'm into weird tales/sf/fantasy kind of stuff and they have been putting out stuff that has been very difficult to get a hold of. For example, collected editions of Karl Edward Wagner, William Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith, and Lord Dunsany's Jorkens series. They also put out wonderful contemporary stuff also. Just a great little small press.

I also like Subterranean Press but they mostly are a contemporary sf/f small press.

Overlook Press put out a great edition of Gormenghast in the past few years too.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 3:19 PM on June 21, 2007

I thank crom every day for my copy of the vance integral edition, truly an amazing publishing project. can't get them anymore, but there is a softcover reprint from a new publisher.

Divine_Wino dashed decent of you for the wodehouse reprints, it ain't always easy finding the penguin ones lately.
posted by dorian at 4:30 PM on June 21, 2007

Somehow the grandaddy of them all, New Directions, hasn't been mentioned. And they haven't been resting on their catalog either, recently putting out Roberto Bolano and W.G. Sebald, both bona-fide sensations.
posted by otio at 4:35 PM on June 21, 2007

The Tartarus Press do some lovely limited editions, mostly of fiction with some fantastic or supernatural element.
posted by misteraitch at 12:06 AM on June 22, 2007

Response by poster: No best answer. These are all excellent and the vast majority of them are new to me. Much appreciated.

And likewise to any latecomer.
posted by BigSky at 10:05 AM on June 22, 2007

Station Hill Press might be interesting for you.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:30 PM on December 4, 2007

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