Microcosm Publishing

Microcosm Publishing Store
Microcosm Publishing Williams and Graham

A series of posts about places where you can buy, borrow or donate books in and around our amazing neighborhood. 

The​ ​east​ ​side​ ​of​ ​Portland​ ​has​ ​an​ ​affinity​ ​for​ ​buildings​ ​that​ ​are​ ​painted​ ​outlandishly​ ​bright​ ​colors.​ ​It is​ ​necessary​ ​in​ ​a​ ​city​ ​that​ ​has​ ​more​ ​overcast​ ​days​ ​in​ ​a​ ​year​ ​than​ ​sunnier​ ​ones.​ ​Another​ ​essential aid​ ​for​ ​surviving​ ​the​ ​melancholy​ ​Portland​ ​winter​ ​is​ ​books.​ ​Add​ ​a​ ​lime​ ​green​ ​coat​ ​of​ ​paint​ ​and books​ ​together​ ​and​ ​you​ ​get​ ​Microcosm​ ​Publishing​ ​on​ ​Williams​ ​and​ ​Graham.​ ​Microcosm Publishing​ ​is​ ​an​ ​independent​ ​publishing​ ​house​ ​that​ ​highlights​ ​skill-building,​ ​telling​ ​hidden​ ​histories, and​ ​fostering​ ​creative​ ​pursuits​ ​by​ ​publishing​ ​books​ ​about​ ​DIY​ ​skills,​ ​food,​ ​bicycling,​ ​gender, self-care,​ ​and​ ​social​ ​justice.

Joe​ ​Biel​ ​founded​ ​Microcosm​ ​Publishing​ ​21​ ​years​ ​ago​ ​in​ ​Cleveland,​ ​Ohio.​ ​Joe’s​ ​love​ ​for​ ​punk​ ​rock and​ ​comic​ ​books​ ​led​ ​to​ ​his​ ​foray​ ​into​ ​underground​ ​publishing.​ ​His​ ​first​ ​publication​ ​was​ ​a​ ​catalog called​ ​Microcosm,​ ​which​ ​compiled​ ​pieces​ ​from​ ​zines​ ​all​ ​over​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​Joe​ ​moved​ ​Microcosm​ ​to Portland​ ​in​ ​1998,​ ​where​ ​Microcosm​ ​lived​ ​out​ ​of​ ​whatever​ ​spaces​ ​it​ ​could​ ​afford​:​ ​a​ ​mud​ ​room, closets,​ ​under​ ​the​ ​desk​ ​of​ ​a​ ​credit​ ​card​ ​company,​ ​and​ ​eventually​ ​the​ ​lime​ ​green​ ​building​ ​with purple​ ​trim​ ​on​ ​Williams​ ​and​ ​Graham.

Microcosm​ ​Publishing​ ​produces​ ​many​ ​valuable​ ​resources​ ​that​ ​help​ ​people​ ​make​ ​the​ ​changes​ ​they want​ ​to​ ​see​ ​in​ ​their​ ​own​ ​lives​ ​and​ ​communities.​ ​Joe​ ​Biel,​ ​the​ ​founder​ ​of​ ​Microcosm,​ ​elaborated, “We​ ​have​ ​perhaps​ ​the​ ​only​ ​alphabetized​ ​bookstore​ ​in​ ​the​ ​state​ ​with​ ​a​ ​very​ ​Old​ ​Portland​ ​vibe​ ​that offers​ ​many​ ​historical​ ​and​ ​politically​ ​radical​ ​understandings​ ​of​ ​the​ ​phenomenon​ ​that​ ​continue​ ​to change​ ​our​ ​city.”

Microcosm​ ​approaches​ ​both​ ​publishing​ ​and​ ​who​ ​they​ ​hire​ ​from​ ​a​ ​radical​ ​lens.​ ​Joe​ ​Biel was diagnosed​ ​with Autism​ ​in​ ​2009.​ ​He​ ​explained,​ ​“This​ ​revelation​ ​allowed​ ​me​ ​to​ ​reconsider Microcosm​ ​as​ ​an​ ​employer​ ​and​ ​to​ ​consciously​ ​begin​ ​hiring​ ​special​ ​needs​ ​employees​ ​to​ ​work​ ​in our​ ​store,​ ​mail​ ​order,​ ​and​ ​office.​ ​It​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​the​ ​typical​ ​retail​ ​experience​ ​but​ ​we​ ​need​ ​visibility and​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a​ ​powerful​ ​way​ ​to​ ​educate​ ​the​ ​public.”

The​ ​staff​ ​at​ ​Microcosm​ ​are​ ​knowledgeable​ ​and​ ​will​ ​assist​ ​you​ ​in​ ​finding​ ​what​ ​you​ ​are​ ​interested​ ​in. Some​ ​of​ ​Microcosm’s​ ​best-selling​ ​publications​ ​include​ ​Make​ ​Your​ ​Place:​​Affordable,​ ​Sustainable Nesting​ ​Skills​ ​by​ ​Raleigh​ ​Briggs;​ ​Henry​ ​&​ ​Glenn​ ​Forever​ ​by​ ​Tom​ ​Neely,​ ​Scot​ ​Nobles,​ ​and​ ​Igloo Tornado;​ ​Zinester’s​ ​Guide​ ​to​ ​Portland​ ​by​ ​Shawn​ ​Granton;​ ​and​ ​Basic​ ​Fermentation​ ​by​ ​Sandor​ ​Ellix Katz.

If​ ​you​ ​decide​ ​that​ ​you​ ​want​ to get ​your​ ​hands​ ​on​ ​every​ ​new​ ​thing​ ​that​ ​Microcosm​ ​publishes,​ ​they’ve​ ​got a​ ​system​ ​for​ ​that.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​sign​ ​up​ ​for​ ​Microcosm’s​ ​6-month​ ​BFF​ ​subscription​ ​and​ ​receive​ ​every new​ ​title​ ​that​ ​Microcosm​ ​publishes​ ​within​ ​a​ ​period​ ​of​ ​six​ ​months.​ ​Microcosm​ ​Publishing​ ​distributes books​ ​all​ ​across​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​If​ ​their​ ​books​ ​or​ ​media​ ​seem​ ​interesting​ ​to​ ​you,​ ​stop​ ​by​ ​the​ ​green building​ ​with​ ​purple​ ​trim​ ​on​ ​Williams​ ​and​ ​peruse.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​a myriad​ of ​hidden​ ​stories​ ​waiting​ ​to be​ ​read.

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