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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 National Book Award in Poetry and Lambda Literary Award for John Keene's Punks (The Song Cave), 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 Literary 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

SPD's customer base is 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 details, read SPD's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement.

Small Press Distribution
2625 Alcatraz Ave, #514
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

Board Members

Alan Bernheimer (Board President), Communications Executive, Ret. 
Wendy Lukas (Board Vice President of HR)
Jessica Wickens (Board Treasurer), ChangeLab Solutions, Monday Night Press
Brian Hurley (Board Secretary), Callisto Media, Fiction Advocate
Michael Morgan, Morgan & Claypool Publishers
Nana Twumasi, GCP Balance
Keith Donnell Jr., Freelance Book Editor
Amy Blanchard, Wiley
Victoria Shoemaker, Literary Agent
David Rothenberg, Nolo Press, Mother Jones, Morgan Kaufmann, Mix Magazine
Patrick Duggan, Poet, Director of Marketing, Boston Financial
Grant Kerber, Marketing & Communications Professional, UC Berkeley

Staff & Contact

Kent Watson, Executive Director, kent@spdbooks.org
Andrew Pai, Finance Director, andrew@spdbooks.org
David Isaacson, Operations Director, david@spdbooks.org
Sara Dumanske, Marketing & Publicity Manager, sara@spdbooks.org
Johnny Hernandez, Customer Service Coordinator, johnny@spdbooks.org
Shawn El, Shipping Coordinator, shawn@spdbooks.org
Anthony Sebastian, Receiving Coordinator, anthony@spdbooks.org
Jorge Meza, Warehouse Associate, jorge@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 (please review our acquisitions page before contacting this address.)

Staff Bios

Public Financial Information

Articles, Media and PR

SPD on Twitter
SPD on Instagram
SPD on Tumblr 
SPD on Facebook
SPD on Wikipedia
SPD Staff Picks
Publishers Weekly: SPD Looks to Overhaul Operating Model via GoFundMe, April 5, 2023 
Press Release: Small Press Distribution to Expand Publisher Services through Strategic Partners
Press Release: Small Press Distribution Names Kent Watson Executive Director, June 7, 2022
Shelf Awareness: Kent Watson Named Executive Director of Small Press Distribution, June 7, 2022
SF Chron: Facing Down a Pandemic, Small Bay Area Presses Aim to Diversity Publishing, August 5, 2020
Bowdoin: Funded Intern Franny Weed '21 Explores World of Alternative Publishing, July, 2020
PW: 2020 Amazon Literary Partnership Grant Recipients Announced, May 27, 2020
KQED: With Bookstores Closed, a 50-Year-Old Independent Book Distributor Perseveres, May 6, 2020
Aunt Lute: Checking in with our book distributor: Covid-19, May 11, 2020
Fence Portal: 27 Essays I'm Not Writing About Elizabeth Koch, May, 2020
Berkeleyside: City Gives $1.7M in Emergency Grants to Small Business, Arts Groups, April 28, 2020
The Rumpus: Keep Small Press Distribution Alive, April 22, 2020
PW on Publishers and Literary Orgs raising funds after Covid-19, April 21, 2020
SPD Awarded "Groundbreaker Award" at 38th Nor Cal Book Awards, June 23, 2019
PW Article on Effect of NEA Cuts on SPD by Jason Boog, March 16, 2017
PW Article on SPD's National Book Award winner Joe Pan/Brooklyn Arts, Dec 9, 2016
SPD and the East Bay Poetry Scene in the East Bay Express, July 30, 2014
SPD in Publishers Weekly, April 13, 2012
"Bee-In" 2011 Fundraiser Profiled on SF Weekly, May 17, 2011

Click Here for More Articles

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 2020/2021 Friends and Funders of SPD

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