Welcome to City Lights Publishers

In 1955, two years after opening his paperback bookshop, Lawrence Ferlinghetti launched City Lights Publishers with the Pocket Poets Series.
City Lights Publishers’ first volume was a collection of Ferlinghetti’s own poems, Pictures of the Gone World. Within a year City Lights had published its fourth and its most famous title, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, a book that revolutionized American poetry and American consciousness. City Lights has always been a champion of progressive thinking, fully committed to publishing works of both literary merit and social responsibility. With over 200 titles in print, we publish cutting-edge fiction, poetry, memoirs, literary translations and books on vital social and political issues.

All City Lights Publications are offered at a 30% discount here on our website.

Allen Ginsberg, editor Nancy Peters and Lawrencer Ferlinghetti chat inside the publishing offices

Hot Off the Press

Forthcoming Titles


Our Authors

City Lights has published some of the world’s best known writers and thinkers, and we’ve also introduced an exciting range of new voices and viewpoints. Check out all the City Lights authors currently in print, and a list of their works available from our site.

Group of authors, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, smiling at the camera
1950s car spray-painted with words CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND on its side

City Lights Authors On the Road

Find out if our authors are going to be reading somewhere near you! This page is updated regularly with our roster of authors’ event schedules.

Publishing Information

Publicity & Media Requests

Media requests and inquiries can be sent to our Publicity Department.

Rights & Permissions

To inquire about the availability of foreign-language rights, English-language reprint rights, audio, film, or dramatic rights of works published by City Lights Books, please contact our Rights Associate.

To request permission to reprint materials from City Lights publications, please submit your request via email to The Permissions Company, Inc. Please include the following information: book title, author or editor, page number(s), title of poem or chapter. We will also need information on your planned publication: title, author or editor, publisher, proposed publication date, price, distribution, format, and the number of copies to be printed.

Desk & Exam Copies

Professors may request Desk and Exam copies of available City Lights titles through our distributor, Ingram Academic Services.

Sales & Distribution

City Lights publications are distributed to bookstores and libraries by Ingram Publisher Services. Bookstores can get more information here: https://www.ingramcontent.com/retailers/independent-bookstores while libraries can get more information here: https://www.ingramcontent.com/libraries

Any questions about purchasing City Lights titles directly can be asked here.

Manuscript Submissions

Regretfully, we are unable to accept manuscript submissions or book proposals.

Internship Opportunities

City Lights Publishers seeks interns on a regular basis to help support our publicity and marketing efforts.

Interns will work on a variety of publicity and marketing tasks. We do not offer editorial internships. Our internships require 4-6 hours/week, with a 3 month commitment, and are unpaid. (Summer internships are available, as well, so please inquire about the time commitment.)

The City Lights Publishing offices are located in the City Lights Bookstore at 261 Columbus Avenue in San Francisco.

Please send a cover letter and resume to Stacey Lewis. No phone calls, please.

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