What is a Non-Profit Press?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 20 January 2020
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A non-profit press is a publication that focuses on printing works related to non-profit activities. It may be attached to a non-profit organization, government agency, or academic institution, or it may operate as a standalone entity. Non-profit presses put out a range of materials from educational brochures to writeups of research being conducted in the non-profit sector. They employ graphic designers, writers, public relations professionals, and support staff such as secretaries. For people interested in this work, there are a number of different types of jobs available at a non-profit press.

Publications that can be produced at a non-profit press include books, magazines, newsletters, and educational materials. Some also maintain an Internet presence and may make materials like e-books and online magazines available. Like other non-profit organizations, a non-profit press receives special treatment for tax purposes in recognition of the fact that it is not running with the goal of generating a profit.


Large non-profit organizations may establish their own internal press to print materials they use in their work. These organizations need to produce annual reports and other informational materials to distribute to members, investors, and people in the public who have an interest in their work. In addition, they can publish research conducted as part of the organization's work, as well as publishing magazines and newsletters. Non-profits may also accept or commission books related to their activities. For example, a conservation organization could publish biographies of figures in conservation, case studies of various conservation issues, and other books related to environmental issues.

Publication runs tend to be smaller at a non-profit press than a major publisher, with an option for reprints if there is enough interest. In addition to publishing original works, they can release translations of materials written in foreign languages and arrange for reprints of work originally published elsewhere. Pricing on non-profit publications can vary. Some organizations produce free materials to ensure that they are readily accessible, while others may charge a sliding scale and in some cases publications are more expensive to compensate for the costs associated with production.

Most non-profit presses produce a catalog that is freely available to members of the public. People can peruse the catalog to view works currently in print and may make orders through the catalog or a representative of the non-profit press. Free copies of books and other materials for review are often available by arrangement for other people in the non-profit sector, as well as educators and book critics.



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