According to the University of Wisconsin’s Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian, there are approximately 20 feminist presses in the U.S., and most of them are niche and/or micro presses. PW interviews with three of the largest of these presses found that their sales have surged in recent years and that they are feeling optimistic about the future.
Jisu Kim, who handles marketing, sales, and publicity for the Feminist Press, said that sales in 2017 were up 80% from 2015. The 48-year-old press is the oldest feminist publishing house in the U.S. and has had its offices on the CUNY campus in New York City since 1985. “Feminism as an idea has been on the rise even before the election,” Kim said, noting that while sales are up across the board, direct sales to individuals via its website, as well as at conferences, have done particularly well.
Kim attributed the sales increase to FP’s more aggressive marketing strategies, as well as to readers being more cognizant of its offerings. Its current bestsellers include The Crunk Feminist Collection by Brittney C. Cooper and a group of other African-American feminist bloggers, which has sold 5,500 copies since its publication in January 2017, and Radical Reproductive Justice by Loretta J. Ross et al., which was released last fall and has sold 2,000 copies to date. With the election, Kim said, debates over such issues as the intersections between feminism, class, race, and gender, have become more mainstream.
Another book that has sold well recently is The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza. FP released the title, which had originally been published in Mexico in Spanish, in October 2017. The book, Kim said, “really resonated because of the controversies concerning Mexico and Mexicans” that erupted during the last presidential campaign. The Iliac Crest has sold 1,500 copies to date, “which is good, especially for a translated novel,” she added.
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