‘. . . a risk-taking, socially conscious publisher . . .’
Publishing fine books on the American South for three decades
Our books explore social justice topics and racial, ethnic, religious, and political identities
NewSouth has published hundreds of literary fiction and nonfiction titles
‘. . . our program is defined by its strong cultural component . . .’
Publisher of regional books of national significance

About NewSouth Books

We are an Alabama-based independent book publishing company founded in 2000. Our world headquarters are in historic downtown Montgomery, in a 1960s-era building formerly known as the Montgomery Shoe Factory, a shoe-repair business. We changed the sign on the front to Montgomery Book Factory, kept the iconic boot on top of the two-story building*, and installed a bookstore on the first floor where there was retail space. The bookstore — Read Herring — sells new and used books and specializes in the same categories that we publish.

Our hard-working small staff of eight does everything involved in book publishing except printing. We lovingly acquire, edit, design, produce, warehouse, publicize, promote, and sell all the books we publish, which we hope to keep in print forever. We are distributed nationally by Ingram Publisher Services.

Our History

NewSouth is co-owned by partners Randall Williams and Suzanne La Rosa. The company’s roots go back to 1984, when Williams proposed to a few other writers a concept for a cooperative that would be called the Black Belt Communications Group. In 1986, BBCG came into being as a publisher of magazines, newspapers, and

*The historically significant boot-shaped sign atop our building dates to the era of opal glass lettering on advertising signs in the early days of electricity but before neon. The opal glass letters were illuminated from inside the sign. Researchers of Americana believe this is one of the last surviving examples of such a sign in the shape of an object. Our sign was erected in the early 1900s by the Montgomery Shoe Factory — a glorified name for a shoe repair shop — that occupied the property before NewSouth bought it in 2000. The celebrated African American folk artist Bill Traylor is believed to have worked at the Montgomery Shoe Factory.

newsletters. In 1989, BBCG, Inc., began publishing books under the Black Belt Press imprint. By 1996, BBP was the state’s leading independent publisher of Southern fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and folklore. In 1998, Williams recruited New York publishing veteran Suzanne La Rosa, who joined Black Belt Press as publisher. In 2000, Williams and La Rosa became partners and renamed BBCG, Inc., as NewSouth, Inc. They launched NewSouth as a new independent publishing house specializing in regional books of national interest. As of early 2021, the company has some 400 active titles and publishes 20–25 new titles a year. Williams and La Rosa view their publishing program as mission-based. In an article about NewSouth, the Louisville CourierJournal observed that the company is a risk-taking, socially conscious publisher. “We gravitate to material which enhances our understanding of who we are and which asks us to stretch in our understanding of others,” says La Rosa. “Our publishing program is defined by its strong cultural component.” Williams adds that the house’s titles are not exclusively Southern, but that its program specializes in books on Southern history and culture, “especially those which examine the role of individuals in creating or contending with the change and conflict which came to the region in the post-World War II era. We believe strongly in the transformative power of information and knowledge, and we hope that the books we publish offer collective insight that helps the region grow toward ‘the beloved community’ and the fulfillment of the democratic promise.”

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