A Completely Idiosyncratic Book List for Thinking about Small Press Publishing and Book Arts

August 14th, 2012 by Front Table

A book list compiled by Stephanie Anderson, Chicago poet and editor of the micro-press Projective Industries, which publishes around 3 hand-sewn chapbooks per year.

A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing 1960-1980, Steven Clay and Rodney Philips (Granary Books, 1998)

          The book that started it all for me; so much more than a simple sourcebook.  Chock-full of pictures and quotes, this wonder contextualizes small press publishing and offers examples galore.


Against the Grain: Interviews with Maverick American Publishers, ed. Robert Dana (University of Iowa Press, 2009 reprint)

          Originally published in 1986, these publishers founded some of the twentieth century’s best-loved poetry presses.  James Laughlin describing his travels to see Ezra Pound are worth the price of admission.

 (This book is in stock at the Co-op!)


The Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections about the Book & Writing, ed. Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay (Granary Books, 2000)

          Another doorstopper from Granary, invaluable for its essays on the materiality of text and its examples.

 (This book is out of print, but check out your local used bookstore!)



Hanging Quotes: Talking Book Arts, Typography & Poetry, Alastair Johnson (Cuneiform Press, 2011)

          More interviews for the insatiable interview buffs – these are less for a general audience than the Dana interviews, and delightfully geeky.

 (This book is in stock at the Co-op!)



The Book History Reader, ed. David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery (Routledge, 2006)

          Because no list would be complete without a reader.

 (This book is in stock at the Co-op!)


The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst (Hartley and Marks Publishers, 2004)

          This book taught me everything I know about typography – and I only made it through half.  The go-to resource for those still seriously hungry after viewing Helvetica.



 Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2: A DIY Resource to Zines and Zine Culture (Lunchroom Publishing, 2009)

          Want to make books, but are more drawn to a Xerox machine and a glue stick than to talk of kerning and font?  This one’s for you.



0 to 9: The Complete Magazine: 1967-1969, ed. Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006)

          Anything Ugly Duckling does is worth picking up, but this beautiful reprint of a 1960s mimeo magazine is special indeed, as it provides the texture of the original without the trip to the archive.



 Non-Adhesive Binding: Books without Paste or Glue, Keith A. Smith (Sigma Foundation, 1999)

          Keith A. Smith has written about 8 million books about book-binding, with clear and explicit instructions.  If you really want to get into binding, this might be the place to start.




Posted in Book Lists, Uncommon

(comments are closed).