Criteria for Inclusion in Alternatives in Print


The APBNA (Alternative Publishers of Books in North America) presses meet the following criteria for inclusion in the database. Book titles and content must have a political left orientation -- for example, sustainable development, punk, social justice, gender studies, race relations, Third World studies, anarchism, or alternative globalization. Publishers are located in the United States or Canada, or are international presses with distribution channels in North America. Presses are independent of corporate or conglomerate ownership, or if an imprint of another publisher, has control over content. Publishers are currently active in publishing.

There are innumerable clues to determining an alternative press. Do the books encompass progressive and political thought? Do they, for example, take risks on new literature, publish new or controversial authors, or champion marginalized groups? Are they affiliated with a progressive movement or organization? Do they publish critical works that address social issues, such as, human rights, combating hunger, and environmental justice? These are factors we consider in determining presses for inclusion.

The more than 170 publishers currently profiled will be updated, and presses new to us will be added periodically. Recommendations of presses new to the database are welcome. Email this information to beau804 [at]


Periodicals in the database were either indexed in the Alternative Press Index or were active members of the Independent Press Association as of Fall 1998. Many titles fit into both categories. API titles are determined through a democratic selection process at the Alternative Press Center. The Alternative Press Center was founded in 1969 at Carleton College "to increase awareness of the so-called underground, or critical, press in the United States." Its main project, the Alternative Press Index, originally appeared with the subtitle, "An Index to the Publications which amplify the Cry for Social Change and Social Justice." Publications qualified for Independent Press Association membership by affirming their commitment to IPA's mission statement and paying membership dues. The Independent Press Association was founded in 1996 at the Media and Democracy Congress in San Francisco. The IPA's mission was "to promote and support independent periodicals committed to social justice and a free press," by providing "technical assistance to its member publications" and by acting as "a vigorous public advocate of the independent press." The IPA ceased its work in 2007.

Although we feel that this combined process has been remarkably inclusive of the publications these organizations exist to promote, we recognize that some valuable titles may have escaped our notice. We invite suggestions of new periodical titles to include, based on the criteria described. To make a suggestion, contact the Alternative Press Center.