US Independent Publishers

Independent publishers take a variety of routes to keep sales growing. Some embrace new business models, such as direct-to-consumer sales and subscription services, while others use more tried-and-true methods, such as acquisitions and widening their distribution network to spur growth.

Current names to watch

The fastest-growing publisher this year is Callisto Media, which was cofounded in 2011 by Benjamin Wayne, president and CEO, and Matt Oesterle, v-p of product, and had its first full year of operation in 2012. Comparing 2014 to 2012, revenue soared 833%, and the number of employees rose from six to 24 last year.

BenBella Books posted a huge sales increase between 2012 and 2013 and held on to most of those gains in 2014, giving the publisher a 54% jump in revenue in 2014, compared to 2012.

No Starch Press, based in San Francisco, specializes in, according to the publisher, “geeky books on topics like hacking and security, Lego, programming, coding for kids, [and] Manga STEM guides.” Its 41% increase in 2014 over 2012 was due to “tremendous growth” in its Lego and children’s programming lines, as well as solid backlist sales of its core tech titles.

Morgan James Publishing increased its revenue by 37% in 2014, relative to 2012, despite shrinking its workforce by seven. Founder David Hancock says the company “can do more with less”—title output rose by 60 over the period—by working with entrepreneurial authors who “know how to market themselves very well.”

Other names to consider:

Absey & Co
ALT-X
Anhinga Press
Archer Books
Avalon Books
Black Heron Press
Blast Books
City Lights Books
Cosmos Books
Dead End Street
Electric Story
Florida Literary Foundation
Greenboathouse Books
Golden Gryphon Press
Komenar Publishing
Laughing Owl Publishing
MacAdam/Cage Publishing
Mercury House
McKenna Publishing Group
Montpelier Press
Ravenstone
Soho Press
Steerforth Press
Turnstone Press
Willowgate Press
Zephyr Press