Hanover Publisher Services, a small press distribution unit operated by New Hampshire indie publisher Steerforth Press, had a big year in 2013 reporting revenue rising by 50% and projects 12% growth for 2014. HPS acts as a distribution subcontractor operating under Steerforth Press’ distribution deal with Random House Publisher Services.
HPS was informally launched in 2011 by Steerforth publisher Chip Fleischer. HPS focuses on small publishers based outside the U.S., clients too small for RHPS to focus on individually, Fleischer told PW. RHPS must approve all HPS clients and HPS is looking to add at least one new publisher a year—this year the unit added Pushkin Press—and the unit currently has a roster of five publishers, including Steerforth Press titles.
As a subcontractor Fleischer said HPS manages the distribution process and presents the titles of its distribution clients during sales meeting with RHPS alongside the Steerforth Press list. “Managing a publisher with revenues of $200,000 a year can require a lot more attention than a publisher with $5 million in revenue,” Fleischer said during an interview. “Smaller clients don’t have the systems and resources that RHPS expects,” Fleischer said.
AS Fleischer adds clients to the HPS distribution business, he acknowledged the need to brand the company and expand its presence. HPS is managed by Steerforth personnel and there’s currently no HPS Web site, e-mail address or even stationary. That will change in the near future as Fleischer moves to brand HPS. “We’ve added infrastructure, more software and operational staff,” he said,
HPS distribution clients are Pushkin Press, Archipelago Books of Brooklyn; Campfire Graphic Novels of New Delhi, India, New Europe Books of Williamstown, Mass. and Steerforth Press of Hanover, N.H.
Among the functions HPS does for its clients are managing metadata, creating sales spreadsheets, managing sales and marketing strategies and talking to retailers. Fleischer said that all the publishers HPS distributes are “on the same footing,” and emphasized that Steerforth titles, for instance, don’t get preferential treatment at sales meetings.