Celebrating the Bookstores That Make University Press Publishing Possible

University Press Week

As part of university press week, we wanted to shine a light on some of the independent and campus bookstores, an integral part of the university press community. Without these stores, university presses would not be able to publish what we do. Independent stores not only stock and champion our books but also provide a space in which ideas and books are taken seriously.

We asked our sales reps to feature some of the stores in their territory that carry a wide range of books, including many titles from university presses. This list, arranged alphabetically, is by no means exhaustive but merely a small sampling of the great stores out there:

Amherst Books (Amherst)

Book Culture (New York City)
Serves the Columbia University community by providing textbooks and well-priced general interest and academic contemporary titles.

Bridge Street Books (Washington, D.C.)

Boulder Book Store (Boulder)

City Lights Bookstore (San Francisco)
City Lights is a legendary bookstore, founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1953 as the first all-paperback bookshop in the U.S. They now carry a variety of books on poetry, fiction, art, progressive social history and causes, philosophy, theory, and more. They are a particularly great supporter of university presses and small presses and longtime buyer, Paul Yamazaki, is respected and beloved throughout the industry for his excellent sense of what is a City Lights title.

Diesel Books (Malibu, Santa Monica, Oakland)
Diesel Books originated in the 1980’s in Oakland, but has expanded over the years and now includes two great stores in the Los Angeles area—one in Brentwood neighborhood of Santa Monica and the other in Malibu. John and Alison, the owners, have a great sense of community involvement and have understood and responded to the needs of each of their very different communities in the stores they and their staff have created over the years.

Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle)
Another legendary store, Elliott Bay Book Company changed locations a few years ago from a location it had occupied since 1976 (the store was founded in 1973). Rick Simonson and the other great people at this store have continually created a store that mixes the best of popular titles with literary gems that to surprise their customers. Rick is a big supporter of university presses and of small, literary presses. Like Paul Yamazaki at City Lights, Rick is a big supporter of contemporary literature in translation.

Harvard Bookstore (Cambridge)

Labyrinth Books (Princeton)

Penn Book Center (Philadelphia)

Prairie Lights (Iowa City)

The Regulator Bookshop (Durham)

St. Mark’s Bookshop (New York City)
Carries a wide range of literary theory, cultural criticism, and continental philosophy.

Seminary Co-op Bookstore (Chicago)

Skylight Books (Los Angeles)
Skylight Books is best at reflecting the style and interests of its community. Skylight is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles and serves a variety of types of readers in their area. The neighborhood is probably most populated by young, progressive, politically active and artistically inclined readers. Charles, the longtime buyer, has a great sense of what will work at this store as well as a deep personal interest and commitment to the books published by university presses. They also have reputation for their successful author event programs.

Talking Leaves Books (Buffalo)

Tattered Cover Bookstore (Denver)

University of Minnesota Bookstore (Minneapolis)

University Press Books (Berkeley)
The name of the store tells it all. University Press Books was founded in the 1970’s with the express purpose of supporting the publications of university presses. Located directly opposite of the entrance to the UC Berkeley campus, this store is a must for faculty, students, and visiting scholars. Among the original founders, Bill and Karen McClung continue to serve the community through their selection of books, author events, and community outreach.

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