Our Mission

The Green Lion Press takes as its special focus providing access to sources in history of science and history of mathematics. The Green Lion publishes reprints of out-of-print original classic texts, first (or distinguished new) English translations of important source texts, and guidebooks to difficult texts.

These are texts that will have a long-term market, and we intend to keep them in print. We are willing to work with low volume sales over many years. Most of the mainstream publishers prefer books that will sell briskly for two or three years and can then go out of print, replaced by the next piece of the conversation. For that reason, they tend not to be interested in publishing classic original texts. This gives the Green Lion its niche.

But we have other claims on your interest. Green Lion Press is a book lover's press. We have studied these texts in detail in our own scholarly work and taught them and worked through them with students. We have suffered the frustrations of books that fall apart upon being seriously read and of books that are badly or thoughtlessly laid out. Now we have our chance to produce the kind of books we want to use.

Green Lion Press books are produced with love for books and respect for their functionality. All books are printed on high quality acid-free paper. Both soft-bound and cloth-bound editions have sewn bindings designed to lie flat and allow heavy use by students and researchers. Pages of Green Lion books will not come unglued and fall out as soon as the spread is pressed fully open for study. Soft-bound books have extra heavy cover stock. Cloth-bound editions meet the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources.

In design and layout, as well, we bring our experience using these books and teaching with them to make sure that the needs of students and researchers are met. Pedagogical considerations, and considerations affecting ease of use, are primary in design and layout decisions.

And finally, because we have used these texts with students, we are sensitive to the hardship expensive books impose on the student budget. For this reason we make it a priority to offer the student editions at prices students can afford. We are able to offer quality editions at prices typically charged for editions much more cheaply produced and printed. We can do this because we operate efficiently with low overhead costs, doing all the design and typesetting ourselves.

Why we make books the way we do

In the face of strong competition from electronic editions, many publishers have chosen the alternative of making printed books as cheaply as possible in order to sell them at low prices. Text is often simply photocopied from previous printed editions, and is consequently degraded from its original appearance. Bindings, even of hardcover books, are usually glued rather than sewn. It is thus a common experience to have pages detach from the spine and fall out of the book. Although progress may have been made in glue technology, in our experience present-day glued bindings usually have the opposite flaw of rigidly holding the pages together and preventing the book from lying open. Compounding this problem is the tendency of publishers to cram as much text onto the page as possible, thus creating inadequate inner margins, small font sizes, and tight line spacing.

We believe the likely effect of this trend to be the opposite of that intended. Readers who might be inclined to favor a printed book over a computer file become frustrated and annoyed at the inferior products that they usually have to put up with. As a result, they will ultimately be driven to the e-versions despite the manifold deficiencies of that format.

We take the opposite approach. We want to make books that create a sense of openness, space, and leisure. We want our readers to be invited into the text, and to have room to write their own notes and to make their own drawings. And we want our books to last for years of reading and rereading. We hope they will in time become old friends, beckoning from the shelf and inviting another visit, whether fleeting or extended. All Green Lion books, softcover and hardcover, therefore have sewn bindings that flex easily and do not fall apart. Paper is carefully chosen for substance and longevity. Margins are generous. No noxious endnotes are to be found: all notes are footnotes, and further, diagrams appear on all pages that refer to them. Running heads are designed to tell you where you are in the text, instead of unhelpfully stating the book's title. We invite you to examine our books and to see why our readers love them.