Written by Emily Harstone April 16th, 2024

The Impact Of Small Press Distribution Closing

Small Press Distribution (SPD), which is one of the oldest independent book distributors in the United States, closed their doors abruptly on March 28th, 2024. This impacted hundreds of small presses and literary journals, both of which are markets that we cover.

Lots of journalists and literary writers have covered the fallout so far. If you want to read a few good pieces to get yourself orientated on the situation I highly recommend the following articles:

As a result a number of publishers have started fundraisers, announced new distributors, and are generally scrambling.

Authors Publish also released our 2024 Guide to Manuscript Publishers last weekend, which was written before SPD announced it’s closure. Out of the over 284 publishers listed in the guide, only a few were distributed by SPD.

Distribution does matter a lot. It is the difference between your book being in a bookstore and not.

Most of the publishers in the guide are distributed by Ingram (which doesn’t mean anything, as these books aren’t actually promoted to stores), by an imprint of Ingram like Publishers Group West (many of these imprints are actually very effective and only represent select publishers), or by IPG, or by the distributing arm of a big Five Publisher like Penguin Random House Distribution, or another smaller distributor. A lot are available online via Amazon.

One of the reasons so few of the publishers in the guide were distributed by SPD is they leaned towards distributing more literary presses, which are in turn much more likely to charge submission fees. We don’t cover presses that charge submission fees.

That isn’t to say SPD’s closure won’t impact the industry as a whole and Authors Publish, based on the linked to articles, it’s clear that it will have major repercussions. It just means, at least for now, Authors Publish database is relatively unimpacted.

We will, of course, monitor the situation moving forward, and we are always grateful for thoughts and feedback from our readers.


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