Books before profits.
The big boys in publishing may hug the coasts, but a handful of the nation’s leading nonprofit presses are holding their own right here in the Twin Cities. Three publishers—Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press and Milkweed Editions—have turned their backs on the for-profit publishing model. Eschewing the almighty dollar gives them the freedom to make decisions based on a book’s literary merits rather than projected sales. While each of these presses release less than 20 titles a year, the results are noteworthy. This spring, two books from Coffee House Press are finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Graywolf Press poet Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry less than a year ago. Not bad for a flyover state, eh?