Monday, November 21, 2011

before you hit the mall, occupy literature!

Beyond bringing blankets and soup to protesters camped out at your local city hall, what’s the best way to support the 99 percent this holiday season? How about buying books published by small presses and sold at independent bookstores for 100 percent of the people on your gift list? Small presses give voice to writers and viewpoints overlooked by the mainstream. Indie bookstores let you be a literary locavore. And subscriptions to literary magazines are gifts that keep giving all year long. Consider the lists below your holiday literary activism starter kit. Happy browsing!

Southern California-based Presses:
Ammo Books: one-of-a-kind titles featuring amazing design, thoughtful writing, and exquisite printing
Angel City Press: nostalgic yet cool illustrated books
Arktoi Books: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that give lesbian writers access to “the conversation”
Beyond Baroque: books by local, emerging, overlooked, and previously out-of-print poets
Cahuenga Press: poetry that honors creative freedom and cooperation
Cloverfield Press: books as visually beautiful as they are intellectually and emotionally stimulating
Dzanc Books: literary fiction that falls outside the mainstream
Green Integer: essays, manifestos, speeches, epistles, narratives, and more
Les Figues Press: aesthetic conversations between readers, writers, and artists, with an avant-garde emphasis
Otis Books/Seismicity: contemporary fiction, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and translation
Perceval Press: art, critical writing, and poetry
P S Books: micro-press that publishes conceptually motivated series on a project by project basis
Red Hen Press: works of literary excellence that have been overlooked by mainstream presses
San Diego City Works Press: local, ethnic, political, and border writing
Santa Monica Press: offbeat looks at pop culture, lively how-to books, film history, travel, and humor
Tebot Bach: strengthening community and broadening the audience for poetry
Tsehai Publishers: literary fiction and serious nonfiction, with an emphasis on first-time authors and writers from under-served communities
What Books Press: books by L.A.-based writers whose work spans the full scope of the past quarter century

Independent Bookstores:
Book Soup, West Hollywood
Beyond Baroque, Venice
Chevalier’s Books, Larchmont Village
Diesel, Brentwood and Malibu
Eso Won Books, Leimert Park
Family, Fairfax District
Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse, La Cañada
Hennessey + Ingalls, Santa Monica and Hollywood
The Last Bookstore, Downtown
Libros Schmibros, Boyle Heights
Portrait of a Bookstore, Studio City
Skylight Books, Los Feliz
Small World Books, Venice
Stories, Echo Park
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore, Sylmar
Village Bookshop, Glendora
Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena

Please forward this widely to those interested in books and writing. Happy holidays from the Future of Publishing Think Tank*!

*The Future of Publishing Think Tank is an ad hoc group of writers and representatives of independent publishers and bookstores, nonprofit literary organizations, and community radio. Our task: to consider the changes occurring in publishing, distribution, and marketing of literary work and to envision new ways for writers to engage readers and build audiences for their work. Visit us at to see the results of our reader survey and find more bookstores and literary activities in your area.

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