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Help Small Press Distribution Survive!

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Ever since SPD was founded in 1969 with just five independent publishers, we’ve grown! With time, and a lot of elbow grease, we now distribute over 300,000 books a year and are the nation's only exclusively literary nonprofit book distributor, serving nearly 400 small independent publishers across the country. 

More than just a retail middleman, however, SPD has supported the innovations of experimental writers for decades. As Lara Mimosa Montes writes, "SPD is where I go to keep up with the experiments of small press publishing. They're not just a distributor, but an archive of the activities and accomplishments of small press publishers present and bygone."

With the onset of COVID-19, SPD finds itself in a difficult position. Although we are currently able to operate safely on a skeletal staff, providing books out of our warehouse on a limited basis, sales have decreased by upwards of 60%. Despite this, we are committed to providing health insurance and meeting payroll for our staff of 10 for as long as we possibly can, as well as paying out our small publishers for their sales as a first expense. We have been furiously researching and applying for all the aid we qualify for, from an Emergency Disaster Loan to local relief funds, the Payroll Protection Program and an NEA CARES grant. Unfortunately, as of today, the Small Business Association is out of money, and although our bank, Wells Fargo, claims we will be in line if congress adds funds to the PPP, there may be legal limitations that restrict the amount of funds they can hand out. We are hoping other applications will offer some relief, but it takes time for these to be processed and funds to be disbursed. As such, we desperately need your help. 

SPD needs about $100,000 in the interim which will cover one month of payroll and 20% of the royalties we currently owe our publishers for the quarter that just closed, while we wait for our federal and local loans and grants to be processed. 

We fully understand that we are in a time of great suffering, and there are numerous small businesses and nonprofits who have taken unprecedented hits. But if you do have a few dollars to spare, any little helps. We simply don’t want to let down our staff, or these publishers who rely on us, and whose margins are extremely thin! 

It’s also a time at which the world is changing. Although it’s true that books can’t help materially, we believe that reading can expand the horizons of our imagination; help us consider the world we want to live in after the pandemic is over, and how we are going to work for it. We want to get our community the books from which we can learn the most - those from underrepresented writers, queer and of color, activists and artists - and we want to do so as ethically as possible. 

As Joan Pinkvoss, Founder, Editor, and publisher of Aunt Lute Books says, “Sometimes the possibilities of literature working for social change gets lost and/or deadened by working inside a corporate model of distribution that puts greedy fingers between you and the readers who want to read the work you put out. We just can’t imagine that happening with SPD because their goals are based on their love of sharing literature—in all of its guises—with a long history of doing just that.” Please consider helping us, our publishers, and staff by giving us a small donation today.


Small Press Distribution SPD
Berkeley, CA
Small Press Distribution Inc

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