Out Now

Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: The FBI vs. the Earth Liberation Front

Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: The FBI vs. the Earth Liberation Front image

An insider's view of radical environmentalism

Since the mid-1990s, the secretive cell organization calling itself the Earth Liberation Front (ELF, or Elves) has waged a brazen campaign of property damage and arson attacks against entities they hold responsible for environmental destruction, including timber companies, ski resorts, slaughterhouses, and car dealerships.

In Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: The FBI vs. the Earth Liberation Front, former ELF spokesperson Craig Rosebraugh charts the history and ideology of the ELF, as well as the repression strategies the government uses to destroy activist movements—including tactics we continue to see wielded against global liberation movements today. Rosenbraugh himself was the subject of a shocking New York Times article last year detailing the efforts of an informant connected to the FBI and the CIA to draw him into a book contract designed never to reach publication, but which provided authorities the opportunity to comb his drafts for clues that might help them apprehend ELF conspirators. Rosenbraugh, though, only ever transmitted anonymous communiques, and when he made a discovery about the man posing as his "book packager" that he writes "made my heart race, made my breath vanish, and sent me off to gather every weapon I had in my house," the project came to an uneasy end.

Luckily, Rosenbraugh was still determined to let his story see the light of day after this harrowing ordeal, and the book was originally published in 2004. Twenty years later, Microcosm is proud to release this revised and updated edition, featuring a new foreword from Extinction Rebellion co-founder Tamsin Osmond. Burning Rage remains a valuable and illuminating insider account of the ongoing battle between radical environmentalist movements and the powers of the state; one that offers frank insight into the great personal cost of political action, but also the urgency of collective resistance to capitalist violence.

Read on for an excerpt of Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: The FBI vs. the Earth Liberation Front by Craig Rosenbraugh, now available for preorder from our site or from your local bookseller. Out everywhere 7/9/24.

The ALF Makes Contact

Late that spring, the call came. “Check your mailbox,” the rough-voiced caller said sternly, without identifying himself. When the phone awakened Vanessa that morning, she thought at first it was a joke, a disturbing prank. But when the caller repeated the message, she began to feel it might be serious, even urgent. Still half asleep, not knowing what to do, or even whether the call had been real, she awakened Leslie, then knocked on my bedroom door. “Craig . . . Craig,” she whispered. I awakened in a daze.“ Someone with a weird voice just called and told us to check our mailbox.” Unable to register her words at that early hour, I rolled over and closed my eyes again. Leslie and Vanessa went down tothe porch and checked the mailbox, where sure enough, a notewas waiting. Shocked, they brought it upstairs and showed it tome. With the first words on the page, my heart began pounding.I could barely believe my eyes. The distorted writing stated thatthe Animal Liberation Front (ALF) was taking responsibility for the release of 12,000 mink from a fur farm in Mt. Angel, Oregon. The date of the action listed on the page was May 30, 1997. The communiqué stated:

I read it over and over. “Holy shit!” I said. "Do you think it’s real?" Leslie asked. "I have no idea," I admitted. “I don’t know why this would be a fake message, though.” By now Casea and Josh had been awakened by the excitement and had joined us in the upstairs hallway. Neither of them could believe the message we had just received. Why did they pick us? How did they know our address and phone number? We figured that whoever had left this message and called had most likely obtained the Cleveland House address and telephone number from our promotional materials for the Against Animal Testing conference earlier in the year. Was it someone who was at the conference? I couldn’t help but wonder. Maybe they even stayed in this house. We all reminded ourselves that it could have been anyone, as the conference information with our home address and phone number had reached a thousand or more people across the United States. "What should we do?” Leslie asked. All five of us stared at each other for a moment. At that point, I knew we were going to have to make a decision. I had read about the spokesperson work that individuals such as Robin Webb and Rod Coronado had done for the ALF, in England and the US respectively. Now we were faced with a decision that I knew would be important not only for the ALF but for all of us in the house. Either we could pretend that this note had never come to us, or we could alert the news media and try to explain the underlying rationale for the ALF mink raid.The news stories that we might be able to stir up by releasing the message could be priceless for the ALF and the animal rights movement. The media exposure could provide a promising opportunity for publicizing the objectionable practices of the fur industry. Just as many consumers really don’t want to know where their meat comes from (other than a nice cellophane package in the local grocery store), the public also avoids the truth about the fur industry—for example, that the typical mink coat contains an average of forty dead mink, and that the primary modes of killing the fur-bearing animals on the farm are gassing, neck breaking, and anal electrocution. If any or all of these facts could get into even one news story, we felt that our press release could be beneficial to the animal rights cause. My own feeling was that if these people—whoever they might be—had in fact conducted the mink raid, the public needed to know that there are people who are sufficiently concerned about the fur industry, motivated to commit illegal actions to further their beliefs. They had a right to know that the liberation had not been a random act of lawlessness. It had a clear political and social motive, which people needed to be able to consider as they developed their own opinions on the issue. Finally, taking the communiqué to the press allowed the issue to be brought out into the open, where ideally proponents and opponents could work toward a resolution.

. . . . Feeling certain that we had made the right decision to release the ALF communiqué, none of us in the house stopped for more than a moment to consider that the communiqué we had received could be one of the only pieces of evidence available for a future law enforcement investigation. We didn’t think about the fact that we could be investigated ourselves—or, if we did, those thoughts were overshadowed by the excitement and sense of duty we felt to release the information. Early the next morning, I gathered up the copies of the press release and communiqué and headed downtown. I had scheduled the conference to begin at 10:00 A.M. in order to get a story on the 12:00, 5:00, and 11:00 news. I really didn’t know what to expect as far as the turnout was concerned. My primary experience thus far had been with Liberation Collective events and protests, where two media sources would show up if we were lucky. (Out of these two, one was usually the community radio station, KBOO—we always appreciated their consideration of our work as news.) I expected much the same this time, although J.P. had suggested to me the day before that this could be a big story.

. . . . The news story was much larger than I had anticipated. It was reported locally in Portland throughout the rest of the dayon television, and radio stations in the area also broadcast it as a featured news item. The next morning,The Oregonian (Oregon’s largest daily newspaper) ran a sizable piece on the action, including quotes from me at the press conference. Overall, every story I saw was biased, in the sense that the writers referred to the ALF as criminals or vandals. Yet, in addition to the reporters’ editorial comments, each story seemed to contain at least some information on the ALF and its motivation for the action. I felt pleased and hoped that others, including those in the ALF, would be happy with the coverage.Following the decision to distribute and publicly support this ALF action, I came to be considered one who could be counted on for future press work. In the next several months, more anonymous communiqués from the ALF began to come my way. After this first experience, little thought went into deciding whether or not I would release subsequent communiqués from the ALF. As my philosophical support of the underground organization continued to grow, so did my willingness to support them publicly. As it turned out, however, this debut as a spokesperson for the ALF would lead me down roads I had never thought possible.

Want to keep reading? Check out Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: The FBI vs. the Earth Liberation Front by Craig Rosenbraugh, available everywhere 7/9/24.

Promote Your Book Workbook: Spread the Word, Find Your Readers, and Build a Literary Community

Promote Your Book Workbook: Spread the Word, Find Your Readers, and Build a Literary Community image

When you write a book, your work doesn't end on publication day. In fact, a key part of your job as an author is to get your book into the hands of readers . . . and that means you need to promote it. But how to do that?

In this interactive standalone companion to Promote Your Book, you'll find tips, exercises, and templates to get you started. From building your literary network to identifying your audience to planning social media posts and book tours, this workbook empowers you to create an individualized plan centered on authenticity and community. Regardless of your publishing pathway (traditional, self, or hybrid) and the kind of book you've written, you'll find the tools to make the process of promoting your book approachable, fruitful, and, most importantly, fun.

Eleanor C. Whitney, who is also the author of Quit Your Day Job Workbook, draws on a wealth of firsthand experience promoting her own books, as well as her expertise in teaching artists to be business savvy.

Tarot Through the Witch's Year: 33 Spreads for Spiritual Connection

Tarot Through the Witch's Year: 33 Spreads for Spiritual Connection image

Explore the spiritual patterns of the Tarot with this collection of spreads based on the pagan Wheel of the Year. Reflecting earth-honoring spiritualities, Tarot Through the Witch's Year presents divination in a welcoming, inclusive, non-judgmental, and informative way. Readers, novice and proficient alike, are invited to dive headfirst into the spirituality involved in the witch’s year and to approach divine energy as it moves us and the Great Wheel around. The thirty-three spreads include layouts, images, diagrams, and sample readings for the four equinoxes and solstices, the four cross-quarter days, thirteen full moons, and twelve dark moons. Readers in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres will find valuable insight and tools as they navigate their year, beginning at any point on the calendar. See your year through new eyes, finding deeper meanings and a greater sense of connectedness.

Features art from Gerta Oparaku Egy's Divine Deco Tarot.

Beyond Manifestation: A 31-Day Guided Journal to Transform Your Life Through Emotional Awareness

Beyond Manifestation: A 31-Day Guided Journal to Transform Your Life Through Emotional Awareness image

Freedom from stress, anxiety, worry, fear, and suffering

Step back from the ups and downs of life and practice presence. You can find contentment in the here and now and discover profound freedom from stress and anxiety within this 31-day interactive workbook and planner.  Instead of constantly chasing manifestations, shed your worries and fears and eliminate the need for external changes. 

Reflect and ground yourself in the moment in these highly visual, calming pages. The School of Life Design, creators of Monthly Manifestation Manual and Monthly Magickal Record, show you in these pages that presence is key to attracting what you desire and finding true peace, love, and happiness. Embrace the infinite Now and see that life already is the way you want it to be. When you feel life is already perfect, it has no choice but to show you evidence of that truth.

The Encyclopedia of Rootical Folklore: Plant Tales from Africa and the Diaspora

The Encyclopedia of Rootical Folklore: Plant Tales from Africa and the Diaspora image

This A-to-Z treasury of stories and poems features plants of Africa and the wider Caribbean region. With each entry, plants become much more than material for humans to use. They serve as links to the orisha deities of African diasporic religions. They speak for themselves, forming alliances with people and animals. They serve as points of connection between the many generations of people who share their stories.

In The Encyclopedia of Rootical Folklore, botanical folklorist Natty Mark Samuels keeps the oral tradition of plant lore thriving in the present day. The stories sometimes involve characters of his invention (as well as age-old folklore staples like Anansi) and invoke contemporary situations, from bad bosses to mental health struggles. A baobab tree misses his old friend Birago Diop, a poet of the Négritude movement. Basil comes to the rescue for a woman who’s had a rough day. On moonlit evenings in a square in Kingston, kids gather round a Rasta elder to hear tales of dates, guava, and the orishas linked to each plant.

The 88 entries, each accompanied by botanical information, blend age-old lore and modern sensibility to bring the plants of Africa and the Caribbean to life. Includes a glossary, illustrations, multilingual species index, and references.

Mostly True: The West's Most Popular Hobo Graffiti Magazine

Mostly True: The West's Most Popular Hobo Graffiti Magazine image

In Texas in the early 1900s, a little chalk drawing started to appear on boxcars: a minimalist sketch of a figure with a 10-gallon hat, smoking a pipe, signed “Bozo Texino.” This famous railroad tag defied the human lifespan, appearing over 100,000 times over 90 years. Who was Bozo Texino? Artist and filmmaker Bill Daniel set out to solve the mystery of the man behind the pipe and hat. It turned into a 25-year quest, taking Daniel on a tour of railyards and graffiti throughout the US. The result was the documentary Who is Bozo Texino? and the book Mostly True—a chronicle of modern-day hobos, rail workers, and a forgotten outsider subculture. Obscure railroad nostalgia, freight-riding stories, interviews with hobos and boxcar artists, historical oddities, and tons of photos of modern-day boxcar tags are all presented in the guise of a vintage rail fanzine. 

The book spotlights beloved railroad artists Matokie Slaughter (Margaret Kilgallen), Colossus of Roads (Russell Butler), Herby (Herbert Meyer), Mind Detergent (Big Will), Twist (Barry McGee), and others, including an interview with itinerant sign painter Heidi Tullman. Contributing writers, researchers, photographers and artists include: John Held Jr., Joey Alone, Duke Riley, Old Broads, Daniel Leen, Eden Batki, Andy Dreamingwolf, North Bank Fred, Michele Lockwood, The Historical Graffiti Society, Susan Phillips, Walt Curtis, Beau Patrick Coulon, O. Winston Link, Murray Hammond, Brad Wescott, Marisa Evans, Roxy Gordon, and many, many others.

The book's design team was Rich McIsaac, Gary Fogelson, Phil Lubliner, Jordan Swartz, and Vald Nahitchevansky.  

Bikes, the Universe, and Everything: Feminist, Fantastical Tales of Bikes and Books

Bikes, the Universe, and Everything: Feminist, Fantastical Tales of Bikes and Books image

Ever gotten lost in a book? Or on your bicycle? Or both at once, by falling through a portal on the page? Anything is possible in this collection of fifteen very short stories and one comic. Ranging from science fiction to fantasy and traveling in time from a reimagined past to the heat death of the universe, these stories combine the personal and popular power of spokes and words. Meet a young graduate who rides off to become a velo-archivist, a bookstore owner who must learn to bike after cars are banned, a daredevil messenger who makes a harrowing textbook delivery run, a talented scribe who creates a braille bicycle guide, and many more adventurous souls in disparate realities, united by their love for spinning wheels and the written word.

Includes stories by Kathryn Reilly, Kiera Jessica Bane, Julie Brooks, Aaron M. Wilson, Elizabeth Frazier, Annie Carl, Grace Gorski, Gretchin Lair, Cherise Fong, L. Y. Gu, Remy Chartier, Mariah Southworth, Dawn Vogel, Summer Jewel Keown, and Aidan Zingler, and a comic by Allison Bannister.

Missed the Kickstarter? Check out the PledgeManager page to get access to rewards and goodies!

Intimacy Conversation Deck: Reflections and Discussions about Love, Sex, and Dating

Intimacy Conversation Deck: Reflections and Discussions about Love, Sex, and Dating image

"Do you feel content in your current relationship?" "What would you most like your partner to understand about you?" "What turns you on?" Explore these questions and many more in this 52-card deck from Dr. Faith G. Harper, bestselling author of Unfuck Your Intimacy and Boundaries Conversation Deck. Intimacy isn't always easy to talk about, which is why this deck offers approachable, bite-size prompts that you can use to jump-start conversations, gain new insights, and improve your romantic and sexual relationships. Use the cards with one or more partners, among friends, in therapy, or for your own personal journaling and reflection.

Merriment

Merriment image

As many of us do, Mack is having a hard time coping with life in New Jersey. Watching her friends figure their lives out while she is stuck living at home, Mack is looking for any kind of lifeline out of her Mom’s house and into the City where she is convinced she will be happy. Then again, it's hard for anyone to be happy these days, a fact her mother will not let her forget. And what's worse: she thinks she might have committed a murder. And that maybe, just maybe, the FBI is spying on her?

Merriment follows Mack on her quest for happiness and/or sanity, through the horrors of life, as she navigates existential dread, real life dread, and all the dread in between.

How to Get Your Period: A Guide to Performing Menstrual Extraction

How to Get Your Period: A Guide to Performing Menstrual Extraction image

Take charge of your reproductive rights, learn about your body, and build a supportive community.

In 1971, as part of their work with their feminist reproductive collective, Lorraine Rothman and Carol Downer invented menstrual extraction (ME), a suction process to pass the entire period all at once, which has the side effect of ending any undetected early pregnancy. An underground network of providers has kept ME alive ever since, and now, in a post-Roe era, the demand is surging. Written by an anonymous medical professional, this book provides a short history of ME and detailed instructions and diagrams explaining how to safely and effectively perform a manual exam, use a speculum, assemble a Del-Em kit, and complete a menstrual extraction procedure. You'll also learn when not to perform ME and find an overview of other safe and effective options for bringing about menstruation or ending a pregnancy in the first trimester. In addition to heralding the incredible discovery of these historical heroes and affirming the need for abortion rights, this book offers menstrual extraction as a method to understand and protect our own bodies, choices, and reproductive rights even as they are under attack.

Cat Party!: Cats We've Known in Words and Pictures

Cat Party!: Cats We've Known in Words and Pictures image

The cats in our lives are always close to our hearts, whether they're napping in a sunbeam, demanding pets and treats, playfully attacking our shoelaces, or haughtily ignoring us. From joy, whimsy, and coziness to nostalgia and loss, these diverse images, comics, and real-life stories span the emotional highs and lows of a life shared with cats and kittens (and, in one case, collectible cat figurines). The many ways of felines are chronicled here in over 50 multimedia contributions, compiled from the first 10 issues of the Cat Party zine along with some new content just for this book. Editor Katie Haegele drew inspiration from the readers of her book Cats I've Known, who wanted to tell the stories of the cats that had touched their own lives. The result is like a series of conversations and encounters with a panoply of some of the most relatable people on the planet: cat people.

These cat people include Quimby's Bookstore founder Steven Svymbersky, cartoonist and performance artist Dame Darcy, punk legend Joe Genaro (Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen), Microcosm founder Joe Biel, comics artist Mardou, Defectivepudding, Heidi Moreno (Heidiroo), Justin Duerr, Vanessa Berry, and many more artists, writers, musicians, homebodies, dreamers, and close observers of the world.

Weird Music That Goes on Forever: A Punk's Guide to Loving Jazz

Weird Music That Goes on Forever: A Punk's Guide to Loving Jazz image

Once you've collected every 7" from your favorite label, broken your back in the mosh pit, and become so well-versed in the interpersonal dynamics of every hardcore band that there's nothing more to learn, what's a punk to do? Try jazz, recommends Bob Suren. No, really. Suren, who wrote Crate Digger about his life and work in punk, turns his obsessive gaze onto another form of rebellious, improvisational outsider music, but this time with more sax.

What does Dixieland have in common with D.R.I.? Did Charles Mingus write the first punk song? And who was the Butthole Surfer of jazz? Suren answers these questions and many more. Reading his irreverent guide to jazz, filled with punk references and colorful language, is more fun than getting arrested for vandalism. Learn about the surprising history and scandalous etymology of jazz, explore its connections to punk, and take in biographical sketches of over 25 notable artists—with plenty of recommendations thrown in for your listening pleasure.

In The News

Events! Microcosm In Your Town

Want to meet us in person, check out our books, or see an author speak? We've got author events and convention events coming up!

Upcoming Author Events

None right now, check back soon!

Interested in having an author at your store or event? Reach out!!


Microcosm at Roller Con 2023

Upcoming Tabling Events

Zine Youth Workshop with Queer Futures!

  • Saturday, June 8 2024 | 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
    Off the Beaten Path Books — Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Join Kalen from Microcosm Publishing at Off The Beaten Path for a zine workshop. Make your own books, publish your own stories! More info

Microcosm at the Portland Indie Book & Art Fair! 

  • Saturday, June 29 2024 | 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
    Honey Latte Cafe — Portland, OR
  • The Portland Independent Book Fair returns bigger and better with a summer edition featuring Portland publishers, best-selling authors, as well as a lineup of zinesters and artists all selling their work directly to the public.

    The participating Indie Publishers are representing hundreds of authors with a wide variety of books in all genres. Artists will have a variety of offerings from prints to stickers to apparel. All sales go directly to the vendors. Stock up on summer reads and support independent publishers at the same time! Know your local! This is an all-ages, ADA-accessible, and free event.

    Participating Presses Include: Microcosm Publishing, Fonograf Editions, Kitchen Table, First Matter Press, Airlie Press, University of Hell, Two Plum Press, Believe in Wonder Publishing, Gobshite Quarterly, The Poet Heroic, Zines n’ Things, Pile Press, Perfect Day, Conjunction Press, Lovely Magazine, Cooklin Comics, Chess Club, Forest Ave Press, Korza Books, Book Arts Editions, BERM, Secret Room Press; Artists include: Lindsey Perez, Judy Jiang, Megan Chin, Claire Gunville, Stephanie Hatch, Ree Artemisa, Sylvie Huhn, Krystal Perez, Seth Sypko, Melissa Reed, Chelsea Wilkinson, Destinee Davis; Tarot by Mealz Mealz and Kya Papaya and ice cream creations by Brain Freeze Treats. More info

Upcoming Trade Shows and Industry Events

Usually not open to the public, these industry events are a chance for store buyers to peruse our books, write orders, and chat about terms. We plan to either attend or exhibit at the following events. If you'll be there too, drop us a line—we'd love to meet you.

Microcosm at the Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon's Peerpocalypse!

  • Monday, May 6–Thursday, May 9, 2024 | Seaside Civic and Convention Center — Seaside, OR
    Members of the Microcosm crew will be hanging out and tabling at this annual conference of leaders, emerging leaders, innovators, and peers in the mental health and addiction fields who want to become more involved in the peer community. Adopting the philosophy that peers bring with them a great deal of knowledge and expertise, the event is about bringing the community together to share information, skills, and experience. More info

Microcosm at Roller Con!

  • Wednesday, July 10–Sunday, July 14, 2024 | World Market Center — Las Vegas, NV
    Microcosm returns to this fun annual event for roller skaters of all disciplines to get together. A few thousand derby players, park skaters, dance skaters, officials, productioneers, vendors, announcers, vendors, photographers and fans from all over the world, all gather in Las Vegas to share stories, raise hell and skate, skate, skate. New to roller skating? Seasoned and scarred veteran? Every skill level is welcome, and we’ve planned tons of events for everyone to enjoy! MCP will be in the house to hang out and peddle our booksome wares. More info

Microcosm at XOXO Fest! 

  • Thursday, August 22–Saturday, August 24, 2024 | Revolution Hall — Portland, OR
    Microcosm is excited to be back at XOXO Fest for its long anticipated final ride. XOXO is an experimental festival celebrating independent artists and creators working on the internet, bringing together writers, designers, filmmakers, musicians, game developers, coders, cartoonists, and more to share their stories and struggles of living and working online. XOXO focuses on the emotional experience of making things online, with difficult subjects including financial insecurity, anxiety, depression, mental health, impostor syndrome, burnout, racism, sexism, and online harassment. At its evening events, XOXO spotlights the best indie artists and online projects in four days of programming across multiple disciplines, including online video, podcasts, music, videogames, tabletop gaming, and internet art. More info

Interested in having an author at your store or event? Reach out!!

Planning an event and want us to be part of it (speaking, author readings, movie screenings, setting up a book and zine pop-up shop, etc.)? Let us know!!

In the Portland area? We can set up a book fair at your workplace like the ones your school used to have.


Bookstore Solidarity Project: An Interview with Paul McKay of King's Co-op Bookstore in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Welcome to the next installment of the Bookstore Solidarity Project! Every month, we’ll be highlighting indie bookstore owners and booksellers across the country (and beyond!)

For April, we're featuring King's Co-op Bookstore, in Halifax!

King's is a kickass store, which they cheekily claim is "Canada's hardest to find indie bookstore." It's Halifax's only co-op bookshop, and they're definitely good friends to the Microcosm community.

Check out our interview with Paul below!

Your name and pronouns?
Paul MacKay, he/him

Tell us a little bit about the store and your community!
Our store was primarily created in 2006 by students who needed an easy and affordable place to buy their coursebook texts. The Foundation Year Programme at the University of King's College is about 45 books in very specific editions and translations and it could be incredibly hard to find exactly what you needed. A group of students got together and found a free spot on campus which is quite small but special shelves were created that allowed the bookshelves to open and close and lock up so that common areas could still be usable for the bookstore. (This shows an old video showing how it works, I've since updated the fixtures and it looks a lot better)

We're pretty hard to find at first, being in the basement of a building on campus, so I leaned into it and describe us as Canada's Hardest to Find Bookstore since even google maps will only put you on campus but not right at the store. Since we're owned by the students we're not like usual university bookstores and we're also a regular indie bookstore with fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, etc. We're also totally open to the public and do special orders all the time either in store or on our website where we promote ourselves as a friendly and easy amazon alternative. We like to engage with things we think are important in the community and we like to champion books and reading, and work hard to bring authors to town who people might not usually have the chance to see.

Our standing in the community grew a lot as word of mouth got out of what we were doing during covid. Since the university closed we had to stay closed too, but I would run books outside for people and also delivered books on my bike. People really liked that idea and also were looking for ways to support local since so many businesses were struggling. Between that and a more personal approach to social media we've really become more of a community bookstore which was always my goal when I took over this place (about 6 years ago)

How did you choose your store's name?
The store name was already chosen by the time I took over the store. I do appreciate it's specificity, King's co-op bookstore, a co-op bookstore at King's. Does what it says on the tin.

What got you into bookselling?
This was never something I ever really intended to do. I've always loved books and would often cut classes in school to go hang out at the bookstore and learn things I cared about, but my real career plan was to be a musician and music professor. I picked up the guitar when I was around 18 and really took to it, earning a double major degree in music and psychology shortly after, and then went for more schooling in jazz guitar performance. That was my sole reason for being for years and it was all I cared about but eventually the strain and overuse of my arm caused repetitive strain injury that meant I had to quit playing. When I take to something I get kind of obsessive, so I was practising from about 8am to 10pm every day which my body just kind of revolted against.

I moved back home and needed to get a job quickly so I applied at the same chain bookstore i used to hang out at when I cut classes. I got hired there and would shelve books with my one good arm. I got promoted to being one of the managers of that store after a few years and during that time I met a lot of great people who introduced me to amazing books that really changed my life and that I developed a real passion for books that has only grown over the years

What’s something about your store that you think will surprise people?
I think the most surprising thing about our store is how we fold up and close down every day like we're a pop-up shop every day. As far as I know we're the only bookstore in the world like it, and it's always something I show people when authors come to visit. I wasn't around at the time the bookstore was started but I do love that it was a very DIY project with a sort of "whatever, we'll do it ourselves" punk attitude. Bookselling is getting harder and hard nowadays and there's a huge financial barrier to opening a bookstore or even buying one that's for sale, so I take pride in what we've been able to accomplish in such a weird space without much in the way of money

What are some of you favorite ways your community supports your store?
We recently started a program with Books Beyond Bars which is a local group that works to get books to inmates in the women's prisons here. I asked them to share their book requests with me and I put them on our website with a promo code so people can buy the books to support the program at a 20% discount.

So far we've managed to get them close to 100 books and we're all really happy about it. The people supporting the program get to pay less, we help give the prisoners books they actually want to read, and the money stays the community instead of going you know where. You never know how a certain initiative will land with people and I've been really happy with the response this has gotten.

Outside of that, I manage all the social media for the store and people taking the time to make posts about how much they like the store or recommending us to others is always nice. They absolutely don't need to do anything like that so if they feel the desire to do something like that you know they mean it :)

What are two books you can't wait for people to read, or your current favorite handsells?
I'm really stoked for the new Hanif Abdurraqib book There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension. I read an advanced copy of it and like everything he does it's just amazing. I'm not a big sports fan at all and even I was taking breaks from reading it to watch slam dunk contents from like 30 years ago because the way he writes about them is so incredible.

Kaveh Akbar's Martyr! is easily one of my favourite fiction books in the last year too. It's his first novel after some poetry collections, and his writing is just beautiful. Another one that I just devoured and want everybody to read.

How can customers who aren’t local shop your shelves?
Our website kingsbookstore.ca has everything on it that we have in store and we offer a flat $5 fee for shipping whether it's 1 book or 20 books. we can also order in anything we don't currently have also, so instead of going to the evil A they can just go to our website instead :)

twitter and facebook are: kingsbookstore , instagram is kingscoopbookstore , my personal instagram is @talentedruins

(Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance. - James Baldwin)

Anything else you want to share?
I won the contest for Danny Caine's How to Resist Amazon and Why a while back which was great. I sold tons of them and also left copies at busy places in the city for people to find. Danny mentions us in the book which was a nice surprise when I was first reading it :)

Be sure to follow King's Co-Op on their socials, and check back in a few weeks for their podcast episode!

You can read our other Bookstore Solidarity Project posts here!
And click here to get a copy of How to Protect Bookstores and Why.

WorkingLit: Publishing Software from Microcosm

WorkingLit is live in beta! Sign up now!

a logo showing an open book

WorkingLit is cloud-based software developed by Microcosm Publishing that gives independent publishers tools to thrive and grow at their own pace. Our industry is run by billionaires and conglomerates, and we want to give our fellow publishers the freedom to market and sell your books, understand your business, and painlessly pay royalties.

Microcosm built our own software from scratch starting in 2002, and we owe it our survival, success, and continued independence. Now we want to share it with you. 

WorkingLit is currently in beta and open to any publisher who would like to use it in exchange for letting us know about bugs and giving us feedback on how to make it better.

Features

  • Manage your product and author metadata
  • Track your sales and expenses
  • Manage your customer account data
  • Calculate royalties and track payments to authors
  • Understand the health of your business and what you need to do to grow
  • See our spec sheet for all current and planned features.

Pricing

The first month is free so you can kick the tires. After that, our rates are based on the number of products (with separate ISBNs) that you manage in WorkingLit:

PlanFeaturesPrice per month
Free planUp to 10 productsFREE
Basic Plan11-25 products$25
Basic Plus Plan26-100 products$69
Premium Plan101-500 products$299
Premium Plus Plan501-1000$599
All Access PlanUnlimited products!$1299

Get stuck or have questions? Check out our site documentation and instructions or email workinglit at microcosmpublishing dot com for help.

Get involved and stay in touch!

  • Sign up to use WorkingLit
  • Join our email list
  • Are you a programmer? We're looking to grow our team. Email apply at microcosmpublishing dot com with your skillset and why you're interested in being part of WorkingLit
  • Take the tour:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/uRj8l2paG2Y

Summoning All Witches

Since 1996, Microcosm has published and distributed books, zines, and other goods that put your power in your hands. Including, lately, an increasing number of pagan, mystical, and othersuch witchy books, zines, and decks.

We've recently updated our submission guidelines to make it extra clear: We're looking to publish and distribute more works of magic, witchcraft, and pagan spirituality. Send us your anarcha-feminist oracle deck, your spellbook for finding queer platonic relationships, your comics journalism about the history of witchcraft, a guide to the magic your grandparents taught you, agricultural tips for witches, adorable drawings of animals on broomsticks, or whatever creative way you've found to help people see beyond the pale of normalcy to change their lives and the world.

We are always, especially, looking for submissions from authors and artists who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, mixed race, disabled, neurodivergent, queer, transgender, nonbinary, or who don't see themselves well represented in mainstream publishing.

What we publish

We're proud to publish Friday Gladheart's annual The Practical Witch's Almanac — an incredible resource and weekly planner.

Francesca Black's Year of the Witch: A Planner and Spellbook for the Novice Witch is a great resource for beginners, and also serves as a weekly planner.

Our first tarot deck, The Gold Lyre Tarot, was funded on Kickstarter in early 2021.

And we have many more books, zines, and stickers in print and on the way, like these:

To submit your work to our publishing program, check out our submission guidelines to assess if we might be a good fit. We aim to work with authors and creators who can work within our processes, so following our guidelines exactly is an important first step when submitting a project.

What we distribute

Microcosm is also a specialty wholesaler, selling thousands of books, zines, and decks from other publishers, big and small primarily to non-book-focused gift stores. We work with Big 5 publishing houses, zinesters cutting and pasting in their closets, and everyone in between. And these folks are putting out more and more books celebrating paganism, crystals, astrology, tarot, the occult, the moon, and more.

a screenshot of a page from microcosm's catalog
A page from our online catalog, sorted by the "Witchy" subject tag

If you already have your own publishing program and want to see if our wholesale program is a good fit, check out our distribution info.

Call for Submissions for Neurodiversity zine series

Neurodiversity now occupies a similar place in the public consciousness at this moment as gay rights did in the 1970s: no one understands it and The Borg demand our assimilation! 
Neurodivergent Pride: What Autistic Minds Can Teach Each Other and the World offers exposition on neurotypicals' neurophobia and the frequent claim that they are supportive of #ActuallyAutistic people...as long as we act like they do. One reviewer for my book Good Trouble mentioned that she couldn't believe that I wasn't part of a radical zine community on the forefront of Autistic theory...so I decided to start one! The inspiration emerged from the homocore roots of punk and Don't Be Gay in the 1980s. Queer punks were told that they would be accepted as soon as they acted like straight people. Featuring advice and explanatory narrative about the neurodiverse experience for the less divergent, so we can be seen as real, whole people, if you are neurodiverse, you should contribute to the next issues! The deadline for issue #14 is July 1, 2024 and the theme is Mutual Aid. The theme for issue #15 is Creativity and the deadline is January 1, 2025. The theme for issue #16 is Emotions and the deadline is July 1, 2025. The theme for issue #17 is Controversies and the deadline is January 1, 2026. Submissions should be 500-2,000 words as a rough guideline! 
We want your personal narrative, origin story, misconceptions you've faced, how people could better interact/collaborate/interface with you, and aspirations of how you would like the movement to grow that can serve as a narrative for NTs understanding our people's experiences. 500-2,000 words is a good guideline.
email submissions/questions to joe at microcosmpublishing daht com

BFF Book Subscription

BFF Book Subscription imageBe our Book Friend Forever (BFF)! For 6 months you'll receive every new title we publish. The subscription is sliding scale price $15-30/month—check it out here!  Thanks for your support!

Blogifesto!

Can booksellers increase bonding over Corgis? Janet Geddis of Avid Bookshop (People’s Guide to Publishing)

Publishers often think of booksellers as our frontline marketing force; the people who we outsource our jobs to. This week, Janet Geddis of Avid Bookshop does a great job of outlining the actual role that bookstores play in a daily role. It’s more matchmaking than pushing the newest thing on some poor, unsuspecting browser. It’s a deep game of familiarity that ultimately results in hilarity of two people of disparate backgrounds relating to each other in the store at the same time. Publishers interested in taking her up on her “Hang out in my store and learn what bookselling entails” offer, get in touch!

And if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a link to Avid’s Solidarity Project interview.

Get the People’s Guide to Publishing here, and the workbook here!
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