Launched informally in 2010 as a small press distribution unit under independent publisher Steerforth Press, Hanover Publisher Services acts a subcontractor offering a select group of small presses access to the distribution services of Random House Publishers Services. HPS is now adding Brooklyn-based indie publisher Archipelago Books to its list of distribution clients beginning June 1.
Steerforth Press publisher Chip Fleischer said Hanover Publisher Services is a sister company to Steeforth. HPS evolved from an informal relationship with its distributor, Random House Publishers Service that allowed the indie house to offer select small presses—with the approval of RHPS—distribution via RHPS, which generally will only work with publishers with more than $500,000 in sales. Indeed, most small publishers couldn’t afford to use RHPS services, Fleischer said. HPS became more of a formal entity in 2010, when Steerforth began the U.S. distribution of the works of Campfire, a publisher based in India that produces a line of graphic novels in English for distribution in India.
Fleischer said that originally “We used our working relationship with RHPS to take on clients of a certain size,” but he eventually needed to make HPS a formal entity. “We didn’t advertise what we were doing but eventually we needed a standalone entity to handle the business. It was a legal thing,” he said. Fleischer said HPS presents all potential new clients to RHPS first for approval. If approved by RHPS, HPS handles all the back office work—traffic flow, metadata, coop money, etc.—of the small clients. “It’s as if Steerforth added an imprint,” he said, making it efficient for Random House to take on the smaller clients and “helps small presses defray the cost of using a big distributor like Random House.”
With the addition of Archipelago Books, a small press house that specializes in international literary works, Hanover Publishers Services has 5 clients including Steerforth: For Beginners Books, Campfire Graphic Novels and New Europe Books. (Archipelago Books titles are currently distributed by Consortium Books). Fleischer directs both Steerforth and HPS, which has one full-time employee. Fleischer said that HPS is taking a “go slow" approach to adding new clients, but he also said he will consider adding more publishers if they are “the right fit.”