The 2010 National Book Award for fiction goes to Jaimy Gordon for Lord of Misrule and published by McPherson and Company, a small New York press that typically plans print runs of 2,000 copies for literary titles (they bumped this one up to 8,000 for the first run when the nomination for Lord of Misrule was announced just before the first run, knees shaking, no doubt, with worries of unsold returns.)
On the bestseller list...the first volume (and a doorstop at that) of Mark Twain's autobiography, published by the University of California Press. It has now sold something over a quarter of a million copies after a planned initial print run of 7,500.
Another NBA finalist this year was I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita, published by Coffee House Press.
Just a few recent examples of wonderful success stories from small publishers. Good for the editors at these and other fine small presses.
Dare to be smart and buy books that fuel the imagination and challenge the mind. Don't let sales volume and marketing budgets determine what should be read. One way to see a more eclectic vision and read a greater breadth of work is to support small presses with your purchasing power.