Books without Bosses

Books without Bosses

Forty Years of Reading Between the Lines

By Robert Clarke, Illustrated by Kara Sievewright


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“Can a small publishing company that offers an alternative viewpoint on social issues survive in an industry dominated by international giants?” In 1980 a Quill and Quire writer asked that thorny question. Well, here’s the answer. Decades after its founding, Between the Lines is still definitely, defiantly, delivering those alternative viewpoints, and much more. Books without Bosses—a graphic history—provides a serio-comic glimpse of the publisher’s forty checkered years (so far).

Founded in November 1977 as a cooperative venture of two against-the-grain outfits with sixties roots (Dumont Press Graphix in Kitchener and the Development Education Centre in Toronto), Between the Lines remains one of a kind. From its first book—The Big Nickel: Inco at Home and Abroad—to today’s award-winning titles, it has indeed survived—as one author put it, “publishing outside the mainstream, ensuring alternative voices are heard loud and clear!”

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Many well-intended enterprises have failed. Between the Lines is a miracle of success, but no supernatural event because its staffers and supporters are real, heroic, and undaunted.

– Paul Buhle

Writing that sparks debate, book designs that catch the eye, editors who pay attention to detail, and a commitment to pushing boundaries. This is one kick-ass forty year old, who shows no sign of slowing down.

– Karen Dubinsky