First, a quick word of thanks to the poet Will Nixon for making The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl the center of his holiday wish for everyone to read local. Nixon (whose poetry collections My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges are phenomenal) proposes that reading books from small presses is akin to supporting local businesses: ” ‘Buy Local’ yes. But why not ‘Read Local’ too? I wish that the enthusiasm so many people share for local businesses and independent enterprises could find its way to books.”
Along these lines, I have to say that small press books (and not just mine!) make great gifts for a couple of reasons. Since these books aren’t quite “mainstream,” there’s a good chance that your reader friends don’t know about them — so there’s no danger of buying a book that’s already on your book lover’s shelf. Additionally, introducing an avid reader to a new and interesting author demonstrates how hip and cutting-edge you are as a reader yourself. Finally, if it’s a local writer, there’s a better than average chance that you can pair the book with a promise to see the reader in person sometime.*
So if you’re struggling to find the perfect holiday gift for the reader in your life, take a look at what small presses have to offer.
*Preferably at a public event. Showing up at an author’s house uninvited might come off as a little creepy.