In contrast to mainstream publishers that distribute, sell, and advertise quality printed books, journals and newspapers commercially in standard formats, small presses are modelled on alternative forms of publishing in which writers take control of all aspects of publishing their work. Print runs are invariably small and difficult to find. Works that are printed are often experimental in nature and embody a literary aesthetic. In Canada the small press movement flourished especially in the 1960s as an outgrowth of the literary renaissance of that time. Some small presses from that era such as Coach House Press, Oberon Press, and House of Anansi are now considered to be mainstream.
This collection consists of catalogues, announcements, and ephemera from approximately 245 small presses in Canada. Several presses in this collection such as Broadview Press and Red Deer College are academic in nature.