23 Indie Presses to Support After the Close of Small Press Distribution


On March 28, Small Press Distribution (SPD), the 55-year old company that helped 385 indie publishers deliver their books to customers, collapsed without warning. This is an existential blow in a business where finances are delicate at the best of times. Books remain stranded in warehouses and could take months to be recovered, past income from previously-sold books has been withheld, and hundreds of small presses need to find new ways to get books into readers’ hands.

Most small presses make little profit. They’re primarily motivated by their love for books and the literary community: filling gaps in the market, bucking trends, broadening the sphere of voices that get read, handling authors’ work with great care, and propelling innovation and diversity in literature. 

On April 25, the Poetry Foundation announced a bridge fund to support small presses impacted by the closure of SPD. The $150K fund is accepting applications for a maximum distribution of $7.5K per press. However, indie publishers need as much support as possible if they hope to weather this crisis and continue publishing books. Everyday readers can contribute by donating to their fundraisers, purchasing their books, and spreading the word.

Some small publishers have launched fundraising campaigns, including Black Lawrence Press, Fonograf Editions, Rose Metal Press, Cardboard House Press, ELJ Editions, Kore Press Institute, Game Over Books, and Noemi Press. Additionally, we have compiled a list below of 20 small presses to support and books of note that we think our readers will love, but don’t stop here! Find more indie publishers affected by SPD’s closing at this link.

Editor’s note: All purchase links in this article are directed to the presses’ websites.

Anvil Press

This East Vancouver-based publisher has been making a home for out-there Canadian literature since 1990. Anvil publishes poet laureates, debut short fiction writers, and everyone in between. Their two 2023 prize winners, Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood by Hilary Peach and But the sun, and the fish, and the ships, and the waves by Conyer Clayton come highly recommended!

Forthcoming: The Tenants by Pat Dobie (July 2024)

Dobie’s short novel follows the intersecting lives of three Vancouver residents struggling to live in their rapidly changing city. The winner of the International 3-Day Novel Contest, The Tenants is “stark, observational, darkly comic, and deeply human.”

Apogee Press

Founded in 1997, Apogee Press publishes innovative and experimental poetry, pushing boundaries and conventions of art, style, and thought. Their catalog is culturally and formally diverse; with each new book, they expand the definition of their press and its approach to poetry. They have published the debut full-length works of Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, Andrew Maxwell, Pattie McCarthy, Denise Newman, Truong Tran, and Khaty Xiong. Check out Tran’s dust and conscience, winner of the 2002 San Francisco State Poetry Center Prize.

Blackwater Press

A young, West Virginia-based publisher, Blackwater works with a group of international editors and supplements its publishing with inhouse editorial and translation services. They host short story competitions (the winners of which are published in a best of anthology) and have a special “Interesting Lives” series that specializes in biographies and historical studies of figures from the 18th century.

Forthcoming: Burying Norma Jeane by Leah Rogin (August 2024)

Rogin’s novel tracks a mother-daughter road trip across America: their pursuit to liberate the late Marilyn Monroe — born “Norma Jeane” — entombed next to Hugh Hefner. As an “epic adventure novel,” Burying Norma Jeane will certainly thrill readers. 

Black Lawrence Press

Since 2004, this press has published a broad range of invigorating and electrifying literature. They primarily print contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, in addition to hybrid work, anthologies, and German and French translations. Around 50 of their writers have published multiple books with Black Lawrence Press, and their continued work is a testament to the press’ collaborative and enjoyable publishing process. Not surprisingly, Black Lawrence Press produces about 24 books each year—a robust number for an independent publisher—but every book proves as captivating as the last. 

Forthcoming: Horsemouth and Aquariumhead by Elizabeth Horner Turner (September 2024)

Winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition, Horsemouth and Aquariumhead features twelve tales that are surreal yet relatable. With humor, tragedy, and fantasy, Turner’s flash fiction prods at readers’ own realities through imaginative and odd characters.

Black Square Editions

In 1999, John Yau launched Black Square Editions with a goal to publish translations of little-known books by well-known writers, as well as new work by emerging and established writers. They have published novels, novellas, short stories, prose poems, poetry and essays. Their authors include Matvei Yankelevich, Rosalyn Drexler, Brian Evenson, Andrew Joron, Eugene Lim, Gary Lutz, and Michael Leong. They are an imprint of Off the Park Press, a nonprofit literary arts organization based in New York, NY. Award-winning poet Charles North has published many books with Black Square Editions, including his most recent book of poetry and prose: News, Poetry, and Poplars.

Cardboard House Press 

Named in honor of renowned Peruvian author Martín Adán’s 1928 debut novel The Cardboard House, Cardboard House Press occupies a niche in the literary landscape as an exclusive publisher of Spanish-language poetry in bilingual editions. Since 2014, they’ve introduced a number of important Puerto Rican and Latin American poets to anglophone literature, including Olvido García Valdés and Mariela Dreyfus. In addition to their regular publishing schedule, they release a series of handmade Cartonera books, created through public workshops in which participants learn the craft of bookbinding. 

Forthcoming: Bridges / Puentes by Alicia Genovese, translated by Daniel Coudriet (June 2024)

In Bridges / Puentes, Genovese embraces bridges as sometimes a link, sometimes an obstacle. Originally written in Spanish, the long poem interweaves her childhood and adolescence with the political landscape of Buenos Aires.

C&R Press

Founded in 2006, this independent publisher is “conscious and responsible” (literally, in the name), so they prioritize sustainability and social good while bringing outstanding independent literature to wide audiences. C&R Press publishes across genres, producing novels, story collections, memoirs, art books, experimental works, poetry, chapbooks, history, essays, and anthologies. The 2021 winner of the Independent Publishers Gold Book Award in Poetry, Lauren Berry’s surrealist collection, The Rented Altar, follows a young bride trying to find her footing as a new stepmother in a new neighborhood.

ELJ Editions

ELJ expands the definition of “emerging” to encompass the endless series of new beginnings and jumping off points a writer must face—whether publishing for the first time or experimenting with genre and form, this press honors the process of reinvention. Founded in 2013, they run the Afternoon Shorts novella series, the Redacted series to highlight marginalized and underrepresented experiences, and publish upwards of twelve books a year. Their motto? “Be Well. Write Well. Read Well.”

Flood Editions

Flood Editions has released four or five books every year since 2001. They champion poets and writers at all stages but also stand out for their willingness to delve into the archives and reissue forgotten classics. Case in point, Ronald Johnson’s Radi os, a bold revision-through-excision of Milton’s Paradise Lost that appeared and then disappeared in 1977. They’ve published giants like Fanny Howe and Jay Wright, newcomers like Ann Kim, and even the odd book of photography and visual art. What binds this eclecticism together is a discerning eye for literature that combines strangeness, beauty, and a profound capacity to redraw the parameters of what is considered art. 

Fonograf Editions

A prolific, young combination nonprofit publisher and literary record label, Fonograf Editions has released thirty books and records since its inception in 2016. They’ve published work by poet and translator Isabel Zapata, essayist Hilary Plum, uncovered and released 70’s era 12-inch recordings of John Ashberry and Audre Lorde, and run the revolutionary artist Ray Johnson inspired imprint, Bunny. Tied into their emphasis on genre-bending and expanding the realms and mediums through which we experience literature, is a commitment to affordability and public-access. The press hosts free public events throughout the year and shares components from each of its published works for free. Their packed upcoming publication schedule includes a long out of print rock album by Anne Sexton!

Forthcoming: A Mouth Holds Many Things edited by Dao Strom and Jyothi Natarajan

Comprising 36 literary experiments from women and nonbinary BIPOC writer-artists, this full-color print book straddles collage, AI-generated writing, image-text montages, and a host of other novel expressions. It’s an exploration of the many vessels that can hold language and meaning, engaging all of the five senses in a quest to expand what is legible.

Game Over Books

Founded in 2017, this small publisher is a Boston-based press run by “nerdy artists.” They publish fiction and poetry, emphasizing new and emerging writers. They also host craft workshops. In their words, Game Over Books strives to “push creative writing forward into the Next Level.” The press has numerous forthcoming books: Check them out here

Forthcoming: A Wellness Check by Bri Gonzalez

Gonzalez places the reader in the mind of a so-called villain recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, prodding at pop culture’s use of mental illness as spectacle. In this collection, they artfully blend hybrid prose, poetry, screenplays, and fragment essays.

Hanging Loose Press 

Founded in 1966, this literary magazine-cum-indie press has championed young writers, translators, and sidelined voices for almost six decades. Poetry is at the heart of their mission—they published Maggie Nelson’s debut collection, Shiner, and were once edited by Denise Levertov—but over the decades they’ve expanded in every direction. The annual Loose Translation Prize gives MFA students the opportunity to publish a full-length work of translation and launched the career of luminary Anne Posten. Their biannual journal is one the few long-standing platforms to dedicate a section to highschool writers, and their back catalog is a literary treasure trove. We recommend Barbara Ann Porte’s He’s Sorry, She’s Sorry, They’re Sorry Too.

Kore Press Institute

An intersectional-feminist literary arts organization, KPI is dedicated to “keeping the margins in the center.” For over two and a half decades they’ve published writing in every genre that foregrounds marginalized voices and agitates for change, including Alexis V. Jackson’s debut poetry collection My Sisters’ Country and Alexis Orgera’s celebrated exploration of family grief and mental illness, Head Case: My Father, Alzheimer’s & Other Brainstorms. Beyond publishing, KPI hosts the Notes from the Motherfield live storytelling series that platforms “radical mothers committed to telling complicated truths.”

Litmus Press

Founded in 2001 within a constellation of older presses that included the now-defunct O Books and The Post-Apollo Press, Litmus began with a publishing-out-of-your-kitchen determination. They’ve since grown into an established small press that specializes in poetry and translation, and they are spearheading a new open-access e-book publishing platform called Open Poetics.

Forthcoming: Fall Creek by Lyn Hejinian (April 2024)

A prolific writer, Hejinian’s latest collection of poems ponders the everyday detritus of the world, stringing images and philosophic musings together into “meandering specifics” about the strange contemporary moment.

LittlePuss Press

Founded by Cat Fitzpatrick and Kay Gabriel in 2021, this small publisher is “a feminist press run by two trans women.” The young press publishes fiction and nonfiction, specializing in work by transgender writers. They also throw parties: fun, eclectic, queer, literary parties. LittlePuss Press is currently working on The Trans Reprint Project, an initiative to reprint historically significant literary works that are no longer available, written by transgender authors. Already, they have reprinted the Stonewall-award winning anthology Meanwhile Elsewhere: Science Fiction & Fantasy from Transgender Writers. 

Forthcoming: Log Off: Why Posting and Politics (Almost) Never Mix by Katherine Cross (June 2024)

Cross’s fiery, fierce, and funny essay argues against the mingling of social media and political activism. According to LittlePuss Press, it’s a “a poisonous love letter that asks: Is this all really the praxis that posting was supposed to be?”

Mason Jar Press

Based out of Baltimore, Mason Jar Press has produced handmade chapbooks and full-length books by established and emerging writers since 2014. They seek to challenge the status quo while publishing work of high merit. According to the press, they offer “strong, straight-forward poetry and prose that’s just a little off.” Accessible yet boundary-pushing, they reach beyond the mainstream while reaching toward a diverse range of readers. 

Forthcoming: Bone / Blood / Blossom by Mandy May (May 2024)

Through enchanting, lyrical language, May’s poetry explores the realities of chronic illness, embracing beauty, authenticity, and pain. 100% of profits from the book will be donated to Type 1 Diabetes research.

Noemi Press

Embracing work considered “too much, too loud, and too other,” this press publishes daring, forward-looking literature. They have over 100 works in print, including fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. A historically brown and queer press, Noemi Press strives to print work from new voices that might be marginalized elsewhere. Their Infidel Poetics Series offers a space for writers to interrogate the overlap between poetry and politics in short critical works. Additionally, Noemi Press and Letras Latinas co-produce the Akrilica Series, which features innovative Latino writing. The press’ Spring 2024 books include Love the World or Get Killed Trying by Alvina Chamberland, Girl Work by Zefyr Lisowski, and Choose This Now by Nicole Haroutunian. 

Rescue Press

With their emphasis on the sui generis, this editor-run press prides itself on publishing work that straddles forms and genres. They release poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, and also a host of titles that sit somewhere in between. Estranger by Erik Anderson begins with a memoiristic recollection of a grandfather’s death, but then swiftly reinvents itself as an essay on cinema, a monograph on Camus, a personal reflection on fatherhood. Together, Rescue Press’s Open Prose Series and Black Box Poetry Prize present regularly showcase highlights from the outskirts of American literature.

River River Books

Embracing the idea that “you cannot step in the same river twice,” this press aims to publish two exceptional poetry books a year, distributing them to as many readers as possible. Their limited catalog enables their editors to support and engage with their authors thoughtfully, approaching their work with patience, care, attention, and respect. Founded in March 2022, River River Books prints a diverse range of poetry that “lives with and among others.” Their values are evident in all of their work, notably including An Eye in Each Square by Lauren Camp, the poet laureate of New Mexico.

Rose Metal Press

Since 2006, Rose Metal Press has been a home for hard-to-categorize literature, eschewing traditional literary forms like poetry and fiction in favor of the innovative novellas-in-flash, the bespoke work that combines text with images, just about anything that falls outside the normative pigeon holes. From their Massachussettes base, they’ve published forty-one shape-shifting books, including the 2023 PEN/America finalist The Anchored World by Jasmine Sawers. In addition, RMP’s field guides and anthologies of unique pockets in contemporary literature like The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction edited by Zoë Bossiere and Dinty W. Moore, have been incorporated into hundreds of high school and college classrooms.

Sixteen Rivers Press

Named for the sixteen rivers that flow into the San Francisco Bay, this publishing collective was founded in 1999 to create a sustainable, shared-work press that provides an alternative publishing avenue by and for Bay Area poets. They print at least two outstanding books of poetry each spring. As of 2024, they have produced 65 books, including the recent Women Twice Removed by Christina Lloyd and Red Studio by Murray Silverstein.

Tupelo Press

For innovative books that excite and grip readers’ immediate attention, look no further than Tupelo Press’s poetry, literary fiction, and creative nonfiction. The press prizes urgency: of language, imagination, distinctiveness, and craft. They honor writers’ work with attention to detail in every aspect, from design to paper quality. The press has produced over 300 books since 1999, many of them prize-winning, and all of them, in their words, “necessary.” From its start, Tupelo Press has highlighted writers of diverse cultural backgrounds, and notably, women authors comprise over 65% of their list.

Forthcoming: Green Island by Liz Countryman (June 2024)

Winner of The Berkshire Prize for Poetry, Countryman’s rich, raw, and awe-inspiring poems explore the relationship between place and imagination. Harmonizing interior experience with external frameworks, Green Island moves readers deep into the past and deep into the present.

Unicorn Press

Established in 1966, Unicorn Press publishes handbound books of poetry. With an ambitious dedication to the fresh, the unique, and the unconventional, this press strives to produce remarkable works that are unlikely to be published elsewhere. They have printed poetry in nearly every form, from postcards to books. The press views poems as individuals, and they believe that readers should “spend at least as much time reading a poem as the poet did writing it.” They currently focus on chapbooks and smaller, cohesive full-length poetry collections.

Forthcoming: Our hollowness sings by Ruth Dickey (May 2024)

Dickey’s intimate new book of poetry explores human brokenness and the devastation, beauty, and tenderness of loss. Her poems are moving yet joyful, heartbreaking yet wondrous.

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