Spinsters Ink, the 26-year-old feminist press, was closed December 31 by its owner and publisher, Sharon Silvas. Silvas, along with her partner, Kathy Hovis, acquired Spinsters from Joan Drury in late 2000, although the partnership was dissolved in 2003, leaving Silvas as sole owner.
Silvas said she decided to close the press after attempts to sell the press came up empty. The company had not published any new books since 2002 and sales of backlist books were hurt when its distributor, Words Distributing, went bankrupt last spring. "It is difficult to sell a company that has no assets, debts and hasn't published in the past two years," Silvas explained to authors in a note informing them that she was shutting down the press. A final factor in closing Spinsters, Silvas said, was her health problems.
Because the press has no assets, Silvas offered to give authors their royalty payments in books in lieu of cash, at a 40% discount. Authors were asked to pick up the shipping charges for any books sent them.
The press was founded in 1978, and its best-known authors include JoAnn Loulan and Val McDermid. "Joan [Drury] and the women before her put so much into the Spinsters name and legacy," Silvas said. "I've worked hard to keep the legacy going. That's been my main concern: to keep good women's literature going. But circumstances beyond my control meant I couldn't continue." Sources told PW efforts are being made by a third party to try and save the Spinsters Ink name and logo.