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Libertarian bookstore, founded in 1972 in New York City, now online and owned by Agora Financial
Laissez Faire Books

Laissez Faire Books (LFB) is an online bookseller that was originally based in New York City when it first opened in 1972.

Staff and Associates

Roy ChildsBook review editor, 1984-1992
Sharon PresleyFounder
Andrea RichOwner, Feb 1982-Dec 2005

Websites - Laissez Faire Books
Home page of Laissez Faire Books ( and prior to the ownership transfer to the International Society for Individual Liberty (now Liberty International) - Laissez Faire Books
Home page of Laissez Faire Books ( as a book seller, before being turned into a book club by Agora Financial


Laissez Faire Books Notes & News
Blog maintained between Feb 2008 and Dec 2009, while Laissez Faire Books was part of the International Society for Individual Liberty


Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Sharon Presley - Libertarian
Includes photo, biographical profile and quote
Sharon Presley is the co-founder of the largest and most successful libertarian book-selling enterprise in the world — Laissez Faire Books. She launched the company in 1972 with John Muller ... Laissez Faire Books made available to freedom-lovers books that were previously "languishing in dusty libraries or on the shelves of obscure publishers," Presley said — including works by Karl Hess, Albert Jay Nock, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Lysander Spooner, Robert Nozick, Murray Rothbard, and David Friedman. Over the past three decades, Laissez Faire Books clients have included everyone from Bob Dylan to Friedrich Hayek.
Related Topic: Sharon Presley
Andrea Rich, RIP, by Brian Doherty, 1 Aug 2018
In memoriam, including comments from Nick Gillespie and David Nott
Reason's Nick Gillespie eulogized Andrea on Facebook, summing up well the importance of Laissez Faire Books in the pre-Web days: "Every issue of the catalogue was crammed with squibs about books by and about Milton and Rose Friedman, Hayek, Rand, Mises, Rothbard, Rose Wilder Lane (the daughter of Little House author Laura Ingalls Wilder), Lysander Spooner, Voltairine de Cleyre, Tom Szasz, you name it, all held together by mind-blowing essays by Roy Childs and other contributors ... More than any other, the ... catalogue gave me a sense of the world that I would eventually live in for my professional life."
Related Topic: Andrea Rich
Jeff Riggenbach on Samuel Edward Konkin III, by Jeff Riggenbach, Freedom Network News, 2004
Lengthy biographical and memorial essay
There was much going on in Manhattan in the early '70s, much movement ferment and growth. And it was not all in Murray Rothbard's living room. Over on Mercer Street in the Village, Laissez Faire Books, the nation's first libertarian bookstore (unless you count Benjamin R. Tucker's Bookstore at 225 Fourth Avenue, which closed in 1908), was being established by Sharon Presley and John Muller.
Laissez Faire Books: Roy A. Childs, Jr.
Adapted from Joan Kennedy Taylor's "Biographical Sketch" in Liberty Against Power: Essays by Roy A. Childs, Jr. (1994)
Many people only know Roy as the premier book reviewer for Laissez Faire Books, a job that he did from 1984 until his death in May 1992. His personal asides, his vast reading, which he often used to place the book he was discussing in a wider context; ... all of these won him a multitude of fans. After he died, many people wrote Laissez Faire some variation on the following, received from a subscriber in India: "I had so much respect for him that only the books he chose to review were considered worth reading by me." In addition to book reviews, Roy also wrote several essays for LFB which are available on this site.
RIP Andrea Rich, by David Boaz, 1 Aug 2018
In memoriam
From 1982 to 2005 she was the president of Laissez-Faire Books, which billed itself as "the world’s largest collection of books on liberty." It had a retail location on Mercer Street in Greenwich Village, described in Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty as "an important social center for the movement in America's biggest city, a place for any traveling libertarian to stop for company and succor." But in those pre-Amazon days, it was far better known for its monthly catalog that reached libertarians around the world. Through its Fox & Wilkes publishing imprint it brought many classic libertarian books back into print.
Sharon Presley - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Discusses Presley's role as founder and executive director of Resources for Independent Thinking and her earlier role as co-founder and co-proprietor of Laissez Faire Books
"I saw the job of Laissez Faire books to be, as Nock puts it, taking care of the Remnant, the Remnant who care about freedom, individual rights, individualism, the Remnant who want to build a new society with 'liberty and justice for all,'" says Sharon ... "Laissez Faire Books played and is still playing a crucial role in disseminating these ideas. I am convinced that no other libertarian organization has distributed as many libertarian ideas of such high quality to so many people as Laissez Faire Books has done over the years. There's no real way to measure the impact that the people who bought books from us are having ..."
Related Topic: Sharon Presley
The Story of Roy A. Childs Jr. (1949–1992), by Jeff Riggenbach, 21 Jan 2011
Biographical essay; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 12 Jan 2011
From there, in the mid-1980s, [Childs] moved back to New York and became editorial director of Laissez Faire Books, where he was responsible for reading through new titles coming on the market in history, philosophy, economics, and current issues, making preliminary decisions about which of these titles Laissez Faire Books ought to carry, and writing reviews of most of the books the company did end up carrying. These reviews were published in the monthly Laissez Faire Review, which doubled, of course, as a mail-order book catalogue.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Laissez Faire Books" as of 23 Oct 2017, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.