Top Five

Some people paint rooms of their house in their favorite sports team's colors. Others follow Widespread Panic on tour across the country. Me? My obsession is, and always has been, books. I love the feel of them. The way old folios dryly crackle. The way their open pages rest in the crook of my thumb and index finger. In fifty years I will be the crotchety old woman who still refuses to use an e-reader and still comes home from every thrifting trip with an armload (They need a home. I can't just leave them there.). I love them. I collect them. I make them.
I nerd out about books so hard that I have given much careful consideration to which are my favorite publishers. There are those who new catalog I anxiously await every year. There are those that I know still care about creating little works of art and shun super-mass production. There are those that I can rely on to introduce me to new quality authors. Here, in no particular order, are my current top five (subject to change, without notice, at any given time).

I know, I know. This is the default favorite of every wannabe hipster out there, but, man do they put out good books. They offer the perfect marriage of quality writing and attention to the book-as-art-object. Example number one would be The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia (featured in the photo above and my favorite work of fiction). I bought it solely because of the publisher and was blown away by the writing, the story, and the clever use of formatting (such as the cut-outs).

My current favorite for cookbooks. As the home of the River Cottage and Mooswood cookbooks, with a delicious selection of books that focus on whole food and seasonality, how could you go wrong? Although to be fair, their catalog is huge, so it would be hard not to find something that I like in there.

This would be one whose catalog I anxiously await every year. When I get it I circle all the books I want (which is usually all of them) in much the same way that I used to circle every toy in the big ol' JC Penny catalog for my Christmas wish list. For all topics "green" this is the place to go.

This is the new imprint launched by Shambhala Publishing this summer (the photo above is misleading--Trumpeter is also an imprint of Shambhala and the the only titles I own are from there--all my Roost Books have been checked out from the library). It's the new home of all of Amanda Soule's titles and she is in good company; an awesome selection of crafting books are found here. Shambhala in general is a wonderful place to find books on mindfulness and gentle living.

Peter Pauper Press

I know that I said this list was in no particular order, but if I had to choose a favorite, this would be it. I have no experience with their current offerings, but PPP titles from the 1930s are my absolute favorite treasure to uncover at the thrift store. The two above I got for just a couple bucks each; a price that can't be beat for a breathtakingly beautiful letterpress printed book. Each little book is a work of art. Such love and care was given to the illustrations, the design, the weight as it rests in your hands...there's just really nothing like it out there today. McSweeney's comes close, but Peter Pauper is still the best, in my eyes.

So, there you have it. But, wait...there are so many more! What about Rodale and Chronicle Books and Abrams and Interweave? What about all the University Presses? The list could go on and on...

What about you? Are you a book nerd like me and do you have a favorite publishing house that I should check out?


  1. Your post now has me wandering to bookshelves and checking out the publishers! I love books and collect them too. I love walking into a used bookstore and seeing all the books on the shelves just waiting for a home; make my heart beat faster!I do have an ereader, but still bring home bags of books. The ereader is nice for when I am laying in bed reading and my husband is sleeping.xx

  2. I love this! I'm a huge book-lover, and I am always looking for new authors and publishers to check out. Have you ever read anything by Twelve Publishers? Their premise is that they try to put out non-mainstream books by lesser-known but hugely talented authors, and they never publish more than one book a month. I've found a few wonderful treasures on their website:

  3. @Kimberly: I hadn't heard of Twelve Publishers. They look awesome! Thanks for the tip!

  4. I love that you have favourite publishers! So cool.
    Those last couple of photos looks amazing! I'll have to keep my thrifting eyes open!

  5. i too love books, but actually downsized two years ago and got rid of maybe 2/3 of my books. i am now trying to have just a tight collection of my favorites. i know of a few of your publishers, but you introduced me to some new ones. thanks! what a great idea for a post!

  6. I love the look of that haiku book!
    Old books with heaveyweight paper and beautiful illustrations make me weak at the knees :)

  7. One can never have too many books! Lovely post!

  8. Gorgeous, gorgeous books! I have to admit I have more of an affinity for the writing and reading of books than collecting them. But there's nothing better than a books with beautiful illustrations, a sturdy binding and a good cover.