100Fires Book Company was born in the mid-1990s when New Society Publishers trusted yours truly enough to send me a few hundred books to try to sell at whatever conference or festival or teach-in that would let me set up a booth. They didn't even make me pay for each book until I sold it! Slowly, other independent publishers recognized the value of what I was offering, giving their books exposure to literally thousands of people each year. By 1999, many dozens of publishers had joined the list, and the collection was growing rapidly past 500 titles. I could no longer keep an up-to-date catalogue printed, and the only solution was putting the business online. Throughout 2000/2001, while still hauling and selling thousands of books on the road in numerous states, I finally managed to create a fully searchable and reliable web-based business.
Books to Heal the World
I only carry books which have something to do with that mysterious thing called social change. Books that honestly and compassionately describe the world and help the reader to understand root causes of problems, and honest solutions that aren't just bandaids. Whether you're interested in books about feminism or wilderness protection or challenging corporate rule or eco-forestry or labor rights or urban planning chances are I have one of the most comprehensive selections you will ever encounter. I've been told hundreds of times how unusual is my selection. Most likely, you'll discover many titles you didn't even know existed. And don't forget to visit the site often as new titles will be added frequently.
Funding Social Change
From the beginning, the business has provided a small but steady income that has enabled me to continue working as a community organizer. So not only do I offer you some of the finest books available anywhere, but every dollar you spend helps to keep me housed and fed, and allows me to continue my work for social change. In 1996, I founded Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (www.DUHC.org), a grassroots citizens' organization which focusses on educating and organizing to dismantle corporate rule and strengthen authentic democracy. I turned it over to others to lead in 2003. A truly worthy group to support with your time or money! These days, I continue to stay focussed on corporate rule issues, with a book I'm currently co-authoring which should be completed by 2008. And I continue to lead workshops and lead discussions across the country. Please feel free to request a list of my offerings at email@example.com.
Helping Small Publishers Survive Against the Odds
I have always loved books. Especially books which are birthed by small or independent publishers who do what they do because they're committed to the ideas rather than simply caring about making a buck. So many independent publishers have gone belly up or have been swallowed by corporate giants in the past decade. It's a very scary time for independent publishers since only independent locally-owned bookstores are committed to carrying their books, and these local bookstores are ALSO disappearing at a ferocious pace. No independent bookstores = no independent publishers!!! So please ... NEVER buy a book from a corporate mega-store (online or in person)! The money you'll save has far less worth than the loss of a good independent local bookstore.
You will notice that 100Fires Book Company sells very few books from corporate publishers. Why? Because they already have all the access to retail space they could possibly desire in their wildest dreams, and advertising budgets to match. Small independent publishers, on the other hand, have tiny marketing budgets and shrinking numbers of stores willing to risk carrying an unknown title or a controversial subject.
There are small numbers of books from corporate publishers that any good bookstore would be insane NOT to stock, such as A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. So you will see a FEW corporate publishers' books sprinkled throughout the collection. The point is: in THIS bookstore, corporate-published books will NEVER crowd out those gems from independent publishers who choose to keep taking the kinds of risks that a true democracy requires to survive. And your ongoing support of this company helps to keep independent publishers alive and perhaps even thriving.
Feel free to write me, Paul Cienfuegos, at:
PO Box 86605
Portland, OR 97286