INDIE PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
“… educating, inspiring, and awakening the environmentalactivist bugs of the reading population.”
Did you know that Patagonia publishes books? Not many people do, though thanks to the lush, consciousness-building titles that they’re releasing at a rate of 5-8 books a year, awareness is growing. And for Patagonia, that’s what publishing is all about: educating, inspiring, and awakening the environmental-activist bugs of the reading population.
Patagonia seeks out titles with two things in mind: nature must be the main character; the person telling the story must be transformed by nature in some way. This isn’t about man conquering the mountain, publisher Karla Olson asserts, rather, it’s about the mountain changing something fundamental in those who encounter it. Every Patagonia title you read will carry with it new awareness— that’s a guarantee that Foreword reviewers have enjoyed the fruits of regularly.
This year, A Temporary Refuge made a huge impact on our judges and earned a star in our magazine. It’s the kind of book that traditional publishers might not touch: a narrowly-focused nature tale about protecting steelhead salmon in the Northwest. And yet Patagonia’s faith in it proved well-founded—it sold well, and everyone who cracks it open is moved. Quiet and esoteric moments from nature like Refuge pair well with Patagonia’s bigger projects, too—like Malama Honua, a project five years in the making, which tracks the Polynesian Voyaging Society from island to island as they make connections and deliver the reminder that we’re all part of one human family, sharing one vibrant, fragile, and precious Earth.
The cultivation of such reminders is what Patagonia is all about. They count successes by the awareness that they raise, drawing attention to corners of the Earth, and aspects of local ecosystems, that people didn’t previously know to cherish. As Olson says: there’s a value in capturing these stories, in communicating this way, that cannot be overstated.