For the past couple years I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Oakland-based AK Press, a small, “anarchist collective” press that publishes about twenty to thirty books a year, most of which deal with radical politics, current affairs, anarchist/leftist history as well as D.I.Y., gardening and homesteading, and the whole span of sex, drugs, punk-rock and outlaw culture.
All of their titles are beautifully-bound, printed on recycled, Union-made paper, and are written by writers from all over the globe. I respect any publishing company that can take its politics seriously and also publish such incredibly varied books. And as a writer who hopes one day to publish a book, I can think of no better organization to support than an independent press. Inevitably, my AK Press hoodie which I’ve worn into near tatters, garners nearly daily comments, all of them positive from passersby, friends-of-friends, bookstore browsers, leaflet distributors, sex workers, or just tough-looking, tattooed men and women sipping whiskey at Benders in the early afternoon.
My support, over the last couple years has been as a “Friend Of AK Press”, a financial contribution deal that means I give them about 25 bucks a month and, in turn, I receive a copy of every NEW book they publish as they appear. Which sometimes means, for $25.00, I receive like four or five books a month, all of them brand-new and most retailing for about 15-20 dollars each. Now of course, that’s more books than I can possibly read in a month but since they are all about issues I’m interested in or curious about, and by authors I respect it is a great arrangement for both parties involved.
Some of my favorites AK Press titles include Clandestines: The Pirate Journals Of An Irish Exile, The Ecology Of Freedom, The Memoirs Of Vidocq: Master Of Crime, Nowtopia, and Partisanas.
If becoming a friend of AK Press is too daunting, then check out their blog, and if you get a chance, the AK Press warehouse is located in an interesting, industrial part of West Oakland where I used to live.