About US

Brown Paper Press is an independent publishing house headquartered in one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States — Long Beach, California.

Founded by Wendy Thomas Russell and Jennifer Volland in 2014, BPP is a small but mighty company with a passion for progressive nonfiction. Whether it’s a memoir that pushes readers to think about conversion therapy in a new way or a parenting book that advocates a new paradigm in child-rearing, each of our books serves as a conduit to an inquisitive, open-minded and forward-thinking audience. And though not all of our titles are capable of triggering change in the world, we try to set the bar — just as turn-of-the century newspaperman Finley Peter Dunne once did — at “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” We seek to publish books around topics relevant to our contemporary life, books that communicate compelling ideas, books that matter.

The mission of Brown Paper Press is to engage readers on topics of contemporary culture through quality writing and thoughtful design. Unbound by genre, our press delivers socially relevant works that advise, guide, inspire and amuse. We champion authors with new perspectives, strong voices and original ideas that just might change the world.

Small presses long have been an indispensable part of the publishing industry — more open to risk-taking and less tied to commercial success than large publishing houses. They are credited with bringing some of the world’s most provocative and thoughtful writing to the printed page. In addition, the best small presses are known for developing close, supportive and enduring relationships with their authors; launching book promotion plans that last months, even years, longer than that of traditional publishers; and involving authors in the behind-the-scenes decisions, from design to distribution to marketing strategies. Brown Paper Press fits squarely into that category. We work incredibly closely with authors, not only to make their books the best they can be but to give our authors a publishing experience worthy of their hard work.



Wendy Thomas Russell is an award-winning journalist, author, editor and now publisher. A native midwesterner, Russell spent the bulk of her career in Southern California, writing and editing for newspapers and magazines. For 10 years, she covered criminal justice and special projects for the Long Beach Press-Telegram — for which she won dozens of awards and honors, including being named Journalist of the Year by the Society for Professional Journalists’ Greater Los Angeles Chapter. After leaving newspapers in 2008, she went on to write three books for the Girls Scouts of the USA centered on media literacy for adolescent girls. In 2011, after becoming inspired by her own experience as a secular mother raising a young daughter, Russell launched Relax, It’s Just God, a blog and book for secular parents unsure about how to address the topic of religion with their children. Relax, It’s Just God has been featured by dozens of print and online publications and blogs — including the Washington Post, the New York Times' Sixth Floor BlogPsychology Today and the Humanist Project at Harvard. Her second book, ParentShift: Ten Universal Truths That Will Change the Way You Raise Your Kids, was co-authored by parenting gurus Linda and Ty Hatfield. For a time, she wrote an online parenting column for the PBS NewsHour and served as the project manager for an award-winning newspaper series released by the Long Beach Media Collaborative. But she has since pivoted almost completely into the role of publisher at Brown Paper Press — the most personally fulfilling job she’s ever had.

On Instagram: @WendyThomasRussell
On Twitter: @WendyRussell


Jennifer Volland is an independent writer, curator, editor and consultant. She is the co-author of three architecture books: Long Beach Architecture: The Unexpected Metropolis (Hennessey + Ingalls, 2004), Edward A. Killingsworth: An Architect’s Life (Hennessey + Ingalls, 2013), and Frank Bros: The Store That Modernized Modern (Black Dog Publishing, 2017). She also conceived of and co-curated two exhibitions and publications for the Vancouver Art Gallery: Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life (2013) and Cabin Fever (2018). Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles TimesEnvironmental Graphics Magazine, SunsetCITY, and ARCADE Journal for Architecture and Design, among other print and online publications. Although she has stepped back from her hands-on role at Brown Paper Press, she is still very much a “friend of the press” and a indispensable consultant.


Brown Paper Press works with a cadre of talented line editors, world-class book designers and — when we’re lucky — committed interns.


Brown Paper Press is highly selective and releases very few titles a year. We offer offset printing whenever possible and traditional distribution, which means our books are purchased by bookstores, libraries and local shopkeepers, in addition to the Behemoth That Shall Not Be Named. The selectivity of our press, our sustained commitment to each of our titles, and our high standards for editing and design also mean we operate a little differently than other presses. We ask authors to invest in their books along with us, emotionally and financially, which gives each book the best chance to succeed in the marketplace. And, in return, we offer an unparalleled level of support.


Brown Paper Press makes its titles available in both print and e-book formats — and sometimes audiobooks — through a number of channels. Most of our books are distributed by SCB Distributors, a full-service trade distributor that ships books directly from its warehouse in Gardena, California. Booksellers may order our book at standard trade discounts from SCB, or through a number of other large distributors, including Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

Our books may be found online, either through our own awesome shop or the e-retailer of your choice. They are also available through IndieBound, a wonderful service that allows you to order the book directly through your favorite bookshop!

Kinokuniya Bookstore-Los Angeles
Kramer Books
Last Bookstore
Lil' Devils
Long Beach Historical Society
MADE in Long Beach
McNally Jackson Books
Mrs. Dalloway's
Napa Bookmine
Prairie Lights
Print A Bookstore
Shelf Life Books
Strand Books
The Ark Books
The Ivy Bookshop
The Tattered Cover
Third Place Books
Toadstool Bookshop
Village Books
Wellesley Books
And many more!

Among the hundreds of brick-and-mortar booksellers that carry our books are:

Alexander Book Company
Banyen Books
Barnes & Noble
Belmont Books
Book People
Book Soup
Books are Magic
Bookshop Santa Cruz
Brookline Booksmith
City Lights Bookstore
Coast Modern
Copperfield's Books
Eagle Harbor Book Company
East West Bookshop
Elliott Bay Book Company
Gallery Bookshop
Gazebo Books
Golden Notebook
Greenlight Bookstore
Harmony Book Store
Indigo Books & Music

Are you a bookseller with a question? Please contact info@brownpaperpress.com.