Founded in 1965, the Northern Illinois University Press publishes scholarly monographs and books of general interest, as well as a limited selection of fiction under its Switchgrass Books imprint. With a focus on the humanities and social sciences, NIU Press has particular strength in Russian and Slavic Studies; European, Southeast Asian, and American history; religion; and philosophy. Seeking to advance knowledge about the Midwest, the press has published a wide range of books on the archaeology, history, literature, and culture of Chicago, Illinois, and surrounding states in the region. At present, NIU Press has nearly 600 titles in print.
The publication of any book through the NIU Press must be approved by the University Press Board, a faculty committee made up of representatives of the colleges and chaired by the vice president for research and innovation partnerships. The main function of the Board it so assure high standards of quality in all publications of the University Press.
One of three state-supported presses in Illinois, the NIU Press has been a member of the Association of American University Presses since 1972.