Portland's most colorful, authentic, and empowering publishing house and distributor, Microcosm Publishing & Distribution is a vertically integrated publishing house that equips readers to make positive changes in their lives and in the world around them. Microcosm emphasizes skill-building, showing hidden histories, and fostering creativity through challenging conventional publishing wisdom with books and zines about DIY skills, food, bicycling, gender, self-care, and social justice. Microcosm was started by Joe Biel in his bedroom as a distro and record label in 1996 and is now among the oldest independent book publishing houses in Portland, OR. Microcosm focuses on relating the experiences of what it's like to be a marginalized person and strives to be recognized for spirit, creativity, and value. All books are printed in the U.S. on post-consumer papers, and the company doubles the industry average in number of women authors and prioritizes hiring of special needs employees. Microcosm constantly poses the question “How can we remove barriers to success for marginalized people in our industry?”
Microcosm has lived in milk crates, in closets, in a mud room, in a windowless basement, in a church, and under a desk at a major credit card company. We've brought our brightly colored books to infoshops, zine fests, media summits, bicycle conferences, parks, street corners, house shows, dirty bars, all night coffeeshops, art museums, and every corner of the mainstream where we can clear away a little space to set up shop. We set out to save ourselves from not caring, but out there in the margins we've found communities worth always doing it better for. Now we have contracts instead of handshakes, a warehouse instead of a fanny pack full of zines. We have a staff, we have relationships in the industry that send our books to places we wouldn't have dreamed we could walk into ourselves. We're not as drunk or dirty as we used to be. But still, at heart, we've got this milk crate strapped to the back of a bike and we're riding wildly across town to hand you the book that might just be the one that saves your life.
Not sure where to get started? Check out our starter pack.
Microcosm Publishing hQ
2752 N Williams Ave map
Portland, OR 97227
Open for pickups and deliveries only: 11am–3pm Mon thru Sat (or call 503 233 3666 for an appointment)
Who we are:
Kalen Landow is our sales director. After 12 years at National Book Network she now handles managing our field sales teams and lovingly placing books in thousands of small retailers (and some large ones too).
Contact Kalen about books for your store!
Kristine Anstine is our major account sales manager. She is thrilled to join the Microcosm sales team as connecting people and stores with books is her lifelong passion that she pursued for the previous 25 years at Last Gasp and before that at Comic Relief. She also enjoys saddle-stapling zines, modifying signs, and traveling with her family.
Contact Kristine about books for your store!
Sidnee Grubb is co-owner and operations manager. She makes white guy management theories into relevant, actionable policy so that our employees get what they need. She oversees customer service, handles the internship program, human resources, fixes problems, finds ways for our system to run more smoothly, and makes sure that we are as awesome as we can be!
Contact Sidnee if you have a problem with your order.
Sarah Koch oversees incoming shipments and is a marketing and editorial associate. She receives deliveries relentlessly, adds them to our catalog, makes sure things are accurate, and checks out walk-in customers. You will find her cursing a box full of damaged books while listening to the Cure. She is not related to the brothers that you are thinking of.
Contact Sarah to discuss why so many books are damaged in transit.
Jake English is our staff photographer, production associate, and customer service advocate.
Contact Jake when you have concerns about your order.
Dylan Ray is our logistics associate, event staffer, production associate, publisher's assistant, and customer service advocate.
Contact Dylan when you have concerns about your order.
Nathan Lee Thomas is the warehouse assistant: he fills orders night and night, making sure that orders leave the building in a timely manner. He is the digger of metaphorical trenches around the office to make the stuff that appears in your mailbox that much brighter.
Contact Nathan about deep thoughts and philosophical analyses of Batman villains.
Jeff Hayes is a co-owner who manages outgoing shipments, packs orders, and oversees that what leaves our building is accurate and beautiful.
Contact Jeff about your order or to make sure things that you sent us have arrived.
Rubine Red (2006-2020) was our community manager. Constantly forging new relationships with the outside world, she tirelessly meets new people, demands snacks, and excitingly shares our message of self-empowerment!
Contact Ruby if you want to propose a community project with us!
Tomy Huynh is our marketing and eBook manager. He handles our title data and propagates it into the world via an ONIX feed, as well as eBook production.
Contact Tomy if you find incorrect data about our books or on our website.
Lydia Rogue is our publicity, marketing, and editorial manager. They handles promotions, publicity, press, and helps execute our editorial development.
Contact Lydia if you want to feature one of our titles.
Elly Blue is our co-owner, marketing director, editorial director, and events manager. She operates her own publishing list of feminist bicycling books (EBP).
Contact Elly about event ideas.
Joe Biel is the CEO, founder, co-owner, managing editorial director, and art director. Joe manages growth, acquisitions, finances, art, and production.
Contact Joe to propose a publishing project, ask printing questions, or get paid.