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MISSION

In an increasingly corporatized book industry, Small Press Distribution (SPD) brings readers independently published literature, emphasizing small press values--equity, experimentation and access. We connect underrepresented literary communities to the marketplace and to each other via book distribution, events, and public advocacy. Prioritizing artistic and activist visions, SPD’s nearly 400 presses publish a full diversity of writers who rely on us to reach readers nationwide.

What It Means to Buy Books from SPD

When you buy a book from Small Press Distribution, you don't just get something terrific to read: you help independent publishers and writers keep more money from their projects, which in turn helps nurture and sustain the literary arts as a whole—you join us in achieving our mission.

What We Do

Everything we do is aimed at helping essential but underrepresented literary communities participate fully in the marketplace and in the culture at large. We do this by offering book distribution, information services, and public advocacy programs to hundreds of small literary publishers.

History

Small Press Distribution, better known as SPD, has for five decades connected readers with writers by providing dynamic access to independently published literature — getting small press books out into the world so that essential but underrepresented literary communities can fully participate in the marketplace. For numerous small presses, SPD has long provided the only reliable and available access to the U.S. book market.

SPD was founded in 1969 by legendary Bay Area independent bookseller Peter Howard (Serendipity Books) and legendary Bay Area bookseller/publisher/editor Jack Shoemaker (Unicorn, Sand Dollar, North Point, Pantheon/Knopf, Counterpoint), starting with just eight small presses. Jeanetta Jones steered the organization from 1974 into the 1980s, followed by leaders like Jean Day, Lisa Domitrovich, Steve Dickison, Heather Peeler, Donald Knaub, Beverly Green, Laura Moriarty and Jeffrey Lependorf. SPD is the nation's only exclusively literary nonprofit book distributor, serving nearly 400 small independent literary publishers.

SPD books and authors have garnered numerous awards. Some notable recent winners include the Pulitzer in Poetry for Tyehimba Jess's Olio (Wave Books), the National Book Award in Poetry for Daniel Borzutzky's The Performance of Being Human (Brooklyn Arts Press), Lambda Awards for Ching-In Chen's transgender poetry book recombinant (Kelsey Street Press) and Best LGBTQ Anthology ¡Cuéntamelo! (Aunt Lute Books), among many others. While the distribution of print book publishers remains at the heart of its mission, SPD also presents events and workshops in the Bay Area through collaborations with other arts and activist communities, and develops digital content to reach those same communities nationally and internationally. 

By the Numbers

In 2019 books sales topped 2.5 million dollars. SPD sold over 250,000 books in the period.

In 2019 SPD's customer base was comprised of 35% wholesalers and jobbers, 25% online booksellers, 17% independent bookstores, 8% university and college bookstores, 5% direct to individuals, 2% direct to libraries, 1% to chain stores, and 7% other (mostly foreign sales). 

SPD's bestsellers represent a diverse cross-section of the literary world. Looking at a recent list of top 100 bestselling books we find that 60% were by people of color, 35% were by LGBTQIA+ authors, 75% were by women-identified authors, and 25% were by authors from outside the US.

Diversity, inclusion, and a safe working environment for all represent core SPD values. Toward demonstrating our commitment to ensuring that all corners of the literary community are as safe as possible, we are proud to be partnering with VIDA in promoting the SaferLIT pledge.

For more on SPD's history, as well as a list of bestselling titles, click here.

Small Press Distribution
1341 Seventh Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-1409
(510) 524-1668
(800) 869-7553
spd@spdbooks.org

Public Statements

December 18, 2020

An update on the future of SPD from Alan Bernheimer, on behalf of SPD’s board of directors


January 19, 2021

A letter from SPD board to SPD staff
This message was sent to SPD staff as an update from the board on its commitment to begin the processes of workplace assessment, mediation, and conflict resolution.

February 18, 2021

Update on Recent Developments: SPD board to SPD Community

March 8, 2021

Latest Update: SPD board to SPD community

March 29, 2021

Workplace Recommendations from Independent Assessment

April 12, 2021

SPD Appoints Interim Executive Director

Board Members

Alan Bernheimer (Board President), Communications Executive, Ret. 
Lorraine Lupo (Board Vice President),
Poet/Publisher
Wendy Lukas (Board Vice President of HR)
David Rothenberg (Board Treasurer), Nolo Press, Mother Jones, Morgan Kaufmann, Mix Magazine
Estee Schwartz (Board Secretary)
Rena Rosenwasser, Kelsey Street Press
Michael Morgan, Morgan & Claypool Publishers
Ethan Nosowsky, Graywolf Press
Roberto Bedoya, Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Oakland
Brian Hurley, Callisto Media, Fiction Advocate
Nana Twumasi, GCP Balance

Staff & Contact

Cindy Myers, Interim Executive Director, cindy@spdbooks.org
Andrew Pai, Finance Director, andrew@spdbooks.org
David Isaacson, Operations Director, david@spdbooks.org
Johnny Hernandez, Customer Service Coordinator, johnny@spdbooks.org
Liam Curley, Warehouse Manager, liam@spdbooks.org
Grant Kerber, Publicity & Marketing Manager, grant@spdbooks.org
Sara Dumanske, Sales & Data Manager, sara@spdbooks.org
Shawn El, Shipping Associate, shawn@spdbooks.org
Hilary Worthen, Data Associate, hilary@spdbooks.org
Anthony Sebastian, Warehouse Associate, anthony@spdbooks.org

Contact By Areas of Responsibility:

Cover Scans and questions about book records: newtitles@spdbooks.org

PUBLISHERS ONLY: Publisher Purchase Orders and Restocking Requests: po@spdbooks.org (please note: this address is not for customer orders. This is just for publishers restocking titles with us. If you are a customer purchasing books from SPD, please email orders@spdbooks.org)

Other questions about bibliographic data: metadata@spdbooks.org

Questions related to grants and individual donations: development@spdbooks.org

Publisher reports, account questions, and financial matters: accounts@spdbooks.org

General publicity and marketing questions: publicity@spdbooks.org

Orders and customer service: orders@spdbooks.org

Prospective Publishers: acquisitions@spdbooks.org

Staff Bios

Public Financial Information

Articles, Media and PR

Friends of SPD

You Can Help Keep Literature Independent! Become a Friend of SPD.

SPD is the only wholesaler in the country dedicated exclusively to independently published literature. We take risks on exciting new writers, enabling their work to develop an audience and gain recognition in the marketplace.

To become a Friend of SPD, click here, choose your membership level and pay with your Visa or Mastercard during checkout. Membership is good for one year.

Thank you to our 2019/2020 Friends and Funders of SPD

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