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Rock Island Press traces its roots back to 1962 when James Skipper snuck into a building one night on the campus of the University of Arkansas where he was a student. Using a mimeograph machine, he printed A Bakerís Dozen of poetry dedicated to his wife-to-be, Ann Jones.

In 1982, his son Louis Skipper printed A Number of Poems using the facilities of Sam Houston State University where he was a student. During the next twenty years, he printed six more chapbooks of poetry, including a reprint of A Bakerís Dozen.

In 2006, father and son joined together to create Rock Island Press. Moving beyond chapbooks, they now publish paperback books and conduct workshops on independent publishing. First off the presses was Me and Slim by Jesse L. Jones, followed by Schoolman of the Ozarks by William Erwin Halbrook.

In 2010, Rock Island Press published Pip and the Zombies which is now being taught at Florida State University in a Dickens class.