Shopping Cart
 

We want to direct you to the right website. Please tell us where you live.

(This is a one-time message unless you reset your location.)

Please Touch the Books, The Legacy of New Society Publishers

New Society Publishers cofounder, and Publisher Emeritus Judith Plant

We are celebrating 40 Years of Publishing Books for a World of Change and we are honoured to have today's post from Judith Plant, New Society Publishers cofounder, and Publisher Emeritus, sharing with us her story of how a meeting at a book table changed the trajectory of her and partner Chris (Kip) Plant's lives.

Judith Plant looks back on 40 years of NSP

In 1986 I was asked to give a talk on ecofeminism and bioregionalism at the North American Bioregional Congress in Michigan. I also had a book project in mind on this subject and knew that New Society Publishers from Philadelphia were exhibiting at the event. Mustering up the courage to talk with them, I took the 'author's chair' set up next to their long table of books, with a strategically placed sign reading “Please Touch the Books.” I wanted this company to be my publisher because I had been very influenced by Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence, by Pam McAllister, an early NSP title. Little did I know then but this first conversation with Ellen Sawislak and David Albert, would mark the beginning of an enduring relationship.

We signed a contract for Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminsm and right away I felt at home with David and Ellen. They believed in me and the book and never once failed to support and encourage both myself as a writer and the importance of the material. In fact, we became friends. And then collaborators. Around the time my book was released in early 1989, Ellen and David had all but convinced us that Kip and I would reach many more people through books than our quarterly magazine, The New Catalyst.

New Catalyst Magazine

We signed a contract for Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminsm and right away I felt at home with David and Ellen. They believed in me and the book and never once failed to support and encourage both myself as a writer and the importance of the material. In fact, we became friends. And then collaborators. Around the time my book was released in early 1989, Ellen and David had all but convinced us that Kip and I would reach many more people through books than our quarterly magazine, The New Catalyst. Our publishing mission at the time was to provide a forum for thinking globally and acting locally. The magazine was a labour of love. We worked hard for our 2,500 subscribers. In the end, Healing the Wounds would sell well over 20,000 copies and we could see that they were right.

With the blessing of the rest of the NSP collective in Philadelphia, Kip and I opened a Canadian office in the fall of 1990 on Gabriola Island. What this meant in practice was that our new friends were undertaking to teach us the business of book publishing. In true form, we worked together on the basis of a mutual aid agreement where we collaborated on editorial decisions, foreign rights and international distribution, but left domestic sales and marketing to our respective countries. We had F2Fs – face-to-face meetings. Once the whole collective came to Gabriola for a week of meetings interspersed with kayaking, swimming, sailing and delicious meals.

Then, in 1995, it began to be obvious that the Philadelphians were wanting to let go of NSP, for a variety of reasons. After five years of training, Kip and I felt ready to take the whole business on ourselves. After much back and forth, the Philadelphia contingent gracefully accepted our offer to buy the US based business.

Cofounders Chris and Judith Plant continue the legacy

I am forever grateful for my entire experience with New Society Publishers. To meet up with a publisher whose intentions in the world dovetailed so well with my own was remarkable in itself. While the financial bottom line was and remains to this day an essential parameter of our work, the whole operation has always been driven by our mandate to provide resources for changing the world toward one of peace and nonviolence...a legacy from the original collective.


Want More?
Read the Book

Sold out

Additional Reads

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

More from our Blog

The New Catalyst Magazine


Older Post Newer Post