Figuring out what you want to read next can be challenging. Using appeal factors is a good place to start if you've got some idea of what you want (or don't want!) but what if you're in the mood for taking a chance on something totally new? Identify your favourite publishers!
In a lot of cases, publishers will have a specific focus - some are quite narrow (like Library Juice Press, below) and some are more general, but see if you can identify a few that either seem interesting to you or have published some things you've really liked in the past. This isn't foolproof, so a great way to do this is use your local public or academic library if possible.
Checking out the backlist and upcoming releases of your fave publishers can be a great way to stumble on something new that you'll hopefully like. I've compiled my faves below - which publishers do you like to use for reading roulette?
Library Juice Press
An imprint of Litwin Books, Library Juice Press is my favourite publisher for books about critical librarianship. I first encountered them through the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium in 2014 and its sister book, The Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader. Since then, I've bought almost every book the press has published (which is a feat for me, as they are only in print and I mostly read ebooks!). They've since published some of my favourite books about the profession, including Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science, Class and Librarianship: Essays at the Intersection of Information, Labor and Capital, Where are all the Librarians of Color? The Experiences of People of Color in Academia, and The Psychology of Librarianship. If they started publishing in electronic format, I'd truly be the happiest librarian!
Between the Lines Books
This press is a new discovery for me. This independent Canadian press celebrated it's 40th anniversary last year. To reflect its mission of books that "promote equitable social change" the press has no boss or individual owner, but is run by a small office staff and an Editorial Committee. The Toronto Public Library (TPL) happily has many Between the Lines ebooks in the catalogue, and I've been happily reading up.
Tor Books and Tor.com
While I read mostly non-fiction, I do enjoy a good fantasy or sci-fi book. It turns out that a huge number of my fave authors (such as Ian Tregillis, Brandon Sanderson, and John Scalzi) have had works published by Tor (an imprint of Macmillan). In addition to the press, Tor.com is a fantastic site for fantasy and sci-fi news, publisher-neutral short fiction, and read- and watch-alongs that are helping me (sloooowly) work my way through the Malazan series and a Silmarillion reread.
Dreamspinner Press and Less Than Three Press
Romance and erotica publishers were at the leading edge of ereading, so it's not a surprise to me that they'd also be leading the way on inclusive, sex-positive, and affordable romance publishing. Dreamspinner Press and Less than Three Press publish a huge variety of works by both independent and established authors with a variety of identities (queer, straight, kinky, poly), formats, languages, and genres.
Seal Press was fairly recently acquired by Hachette (through it's purchase of Perseus Books Group in 2016), though it's gone through a few different hands over its lifespan. Though the website is now pretty useless (I have yet to be able to find a backlist page? Is this just me?) a lot of my fave books over the years (including Whipping Girl, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion, So You Want to Talk About Race, and Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive) were published by Seal Press. They're always on my radar!
Use your networks to keep an eye out for books that have been crowdfunded! Through Kickstarters and Indiegogo campaigns, I've discovered new books (and new presses to watch) such as:
- The Bi-ble: An Anthology of Personal Narratives and Essays about Bisexuality by Monstrous Regiment (the MINUTE this is made into an ebook I'm buying it)
- Ask: Building Consent Culture by Kitty Stryker from Thorntree Press (which I've now discovered is publishing critical works about polyamory)
- Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels on Summoning the Power to Resist by Fiction and Feeling
- The Smut Peddler comics by Iron Circus Comics (NSFW!)