David R. Godine, Inc., is a small publishing house located in Boston, Massachusetts, producing between thirty and forty titles per year and maintaining an active reprint program. The company is independent (a rarity these days) and its list tends to reflect the individual tastes and interests of its president and founder, David Godine.
At Godine, quality has remained foremost. Our aim is to identify the best work and to produce it in the best way possible. All of our hardcover and softcover books are printed on acid-free paper. Many hardcovers are still bound in full cloth. The list is deliberately eclectic and features works that many other publishers can’t or won’t support, books that won’t necessarily become bestsellers but that still deserve publication. In a world of spin-offs and commercial “product,” Godine’s list stands apart by offering original fiction and non-fiction of the highest rank, rediscovered masterworks, translations of outstanding world literature, poetry, art, photography, and beautifully designed books for children.
The company was founded in 1970. After receiving degrees at Dartmouth College and Harvard University, David Godine worked for Leonard Baskin, the renowned typographer and printmaker, and Harold McGrath, his master printer. David Godine opened a printing shop the following year in a deserted barn in Brookline, Massachusetts. His first books, printed on his own presses, were nearly all letterpress, limited editions printed on high-quality rag or handmade paper. Many of these early volumes are now collector’s items.
More recently, Godine has launched two new series: Imago Mundi, a line of original books devoted to photography and the graphic arts; and Verba Mundi, featuring the most notable contemporary world literature in translation. Volumes in the Imago Mundi series, which has received praise from reviewers and booksellers alike, include Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and the Mask by Julie Saul and Small Rooms & Hidden Places by Ronald W. Wohlauer. Verba Mundi has so far published works by world- renowned authors Georges Perec, Jose Donoso, Isaac Babel, and Anna Seghers, and has introduced new voices such as Sylvie Germain (whose Book of Nights was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times) and the acclaimed Swedish novelist Göran Tunström, author of The Christmas Oratorio.
Additionally, on July 1, 2002, John Martin, the founder and for thirty-six years the publisher of Black Sparrow Press, closed down his shop in Santa Rosa, California. After finding new homes for four of his authors—Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles, John Fante, and Wyndham Lewis—he entrusted the rest of his backlist to a fellow publisher, David R. Godine. The agreement was simple: Godine would keep Black Sparrow’s offerings available to the trade, keep the best-selling titles in print, and keep the house’s spirit alive through judicious acquisitions. In short, Black Sparrow Press would be reborn—as Black Sparrow Books at David R. Godine, Publisher.
“David Godine is a remarkable publisher…. He is determined to prove that the day of elegant books has not vanished. And he does prove it. Elegantly.” —The New York Times
“Godine books are not ‘beautiful’ in the glossy fashion of the coffee-table books that flood the market at Christmastime. They are instead flawlessly produced examples of the arts of printing and bookbinding, exquisitely understated.” —Newsweek
David R. Godine represents everything that is right and good about book publishing. As the trend moves away from the printed word in favor of cheaper, faster electronic editions, and many publishers seem content with flimsily constructed book, DRG continues to publish well made, often beautifully illustrated books every bookstore should be proud to carry on their shelves. Whether it’s the rich portraiture of photographer Yousef Karsh, the story of a racing yacht brilliantly captured in pictures and text that is Dorade, or the timeless children’s titles, David R. Godine’s books are meant to last a lifetime. Our customers have come to expect quality in printing and editorial curatorship that DRG has consistently delivered over time. Thank God there are still a few publishers who haven’t forgotten what is most important and maintain a consistent commitment to excellence. —Mark LaFramboise, Chief Buyer, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington D.C.
Receiving David’s catalogue in the mail and going through it carefully is a highlight of each season, and has been for many years. I know each book has been carefully chosen and will be beautifully published, with care for the design, typeface, and every aspect of book production. In addition, the price will be attractive and appropriate for what the reader will hold in her or his hand. Godine books have a well-deserved reputation for quality in every sense of the word, and it’s a pleasure to stock them in our stores, and also to see them in other stores. On top of that, they sell well! —Jack Cella, Former Manager, Seminary Co-operative Bookstore, Chicago, IL
Perusing the Godine catalogue is one great pleasure of being an independent bookseller. A greater pleasure is to hold one of Godine’s book. Beautiful, thoughtful design & typography combined with great writing make the David R. Godine colophon one of the most notable presences on the shelves of City Lights Booksellers. —Paul Yamazaki, Chief Buyer, City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco, CA
David Godine may be a small publisher, but the books he issues are timeless in quality and feature the highest standards of production. He maintains a list of titles which continuously appeal to discriminating readers. To mention a few: Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, Guy Davenport’s Geography of the Imagination, and the major works of William Gass and Georges Perec. Recent titles we’ve featured include Paragon Park by Mark Doty, Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric, and titles of 2008 Nobel prize winner J.M.G. Le Clézio. Long live Godine Press! —Bob Contant, former owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop