In 1969, Gibbs Smith, then a student at the University of Utah, wrote his master’s thesis on Joe Hill, a Utah labor leader. His thesis was published by Grosset & Dunlap as the book Labor Martyr: Joe Hill. The book inspired a movie that went on to win the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971. Building on the success from the film, Gibbs and his wife, Catherine, founded a publishing company called Peregrine Publishers. Their first office was in Santa Barbara, California, where they published four supplementary history textbooks for college classrooms. The company moved to Utah in 1973 and was renamed Peregrine Smith. Gibbs and Catherine poured their profits into the business and converted an old family barn into offices that are still used today. Shortly after, they proudly published their first state history textbook, Utah’s Heritage, for seventh grade.
Without a sales force or a distribution network, the couple packed up their truck and traveled throughout the state to sell Utah’s Heritage to as many schools as possible. The company developed additional textbooks, slowly expanded in to new states, and added new subject categories for the book trade, including home design, cooking, wilderness, and children’s books. 
In 1993 , the company was renamed Gibbs Smith, Publisher. Over the years, they became an industry leader, creating books on interior design with high-end designers, launching a cookbook line (including a title on the New York Times bestseller list); and growing an impressive children’s list. It branched out over the years to include several imprints and brands, including 101 Things to Do With (2001), BabyLit (2011), LoveLit (2013), Flying Frog (now 7 Cats Press) (2019) and Spumoni (2020). Every addition had the same goal: to Enrich and Inspire Humankind. On October 30, 2015, Gibbs and Catherine sold the first half of the organization to employees via an ESOP, ensuring their dream would pass to future generations.
Gibbs Smith passed away in 2017. Doug Pfeiffer, former PubWest President, noted that Smith had “been a vital part of the Western publishing scene. His reputation as a publisher of high-quality books and a contributor to the community of the book is an inspiration to all publishing businesses across the country.” 

WHO WE ARE today: profit. people. planet.

Today, Gibbs Smith is an employee-owned, mission-driven independent publisher and distributor. We are also a Certified B Corporation. We strive to positively impact the community we serve, including employee owners, local communities, and the book and education industries.

The company still occupies that same barn office in Layton, Utah, plus a warehouse and distribution center in nearby Kaysville. In total, the company has more than 80 employee-owners living throughout the United States. Gibbs Smith now includes two segments: Gibbs Smith Book & Gift (which includes 7 Cats Press) and Gibbs Smith Education. We also distribute books for clients: Lil' Libros, Angel City Press, and Bitty Bao.