About SPD - SPD Fact Sheet
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). At the time we carried only eight small publishers. By 1974 SPD had become an incorporated nonprofit and Jeanetta Jones steered the organization into the 1980s. SPD is now the nation's only exclusively literary nonprofit book distributor, serving over 400 small and independent presses, the majority of which have no other source of distribution. 120+ of SPD publishers are in California, 80+ are in New York, the rest are spread throughout the US, with several in Canada, the UK, and in Europe. SPD sells independent literature in every state in the country and to many locations in the world.
In the last year (2016-2017), books sales topped two million dollars. Of these sales, approximately 60% were poetry. SPD sold over 200,000 books in the period.
SPD's best sellers tend to represent a diverse cross-section of the literary world. Last year, most were poetry but many of the top books were fiction, and a couple were non-fiction. Of the 100 top selling titles over a third were by writers of color. Seven of the top 100 were anthologies. Of the remaining 93 books a little over half were by women.
In 2016-2017, SPD's customer base was comprised of 28% online booksellers, 26% wholesalers and jobbers, 17% independent bookstores, 9% university and college bookstores, 7% direct to individuals, 6% direct to libraries, 3% to chain stores, and 4% other (mostly foreign sales).
SPD is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has 11 full-time and 1 part-time staff and is governed by a board of directors. The directors can be found listed here.
2016-2017's Top 10 Titles: