March is Small Press Month, a national promotion of independent publishers that was jointly organized by the New York City-based Small Press Center  and the Publishers Marketing Association  of Manhattan Beach, California, in 1996. This year's program of events includes a book fair, panel discussions, special programs, readings, and exhibits across the country.
While Small Press Month may not yet attract the kind of commercial recognition that the Academy's National Poetry Month garners, the reason for the hoopla is just as significant. Consider this: According to a survey published in 1999 by the Book Industry Study Group and PMA, fifty thousand independent publishers accounted for $14.3 billion in book sales during that year. Karin Taylor, the executive director of the Small Press Center, says she wouldn't be surprised if those numbers had risen.
What better reason for a month-long nationwide celebration?
Major events during Small Press Month include the Small Press Book Fair from March 23 to March 24 at the Small Press Center in midtown Manhattan. Over 200 independent book and magazine publishers will be in attendance. The fair features literary panels and book arts demonstrations.
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses  is launching a new panel discussion series called "Contents Under Pressure: Debates and Trends in Independent Literary Publishing" at the New York Public Library on March 20. The first panel discusion is entitled "Invisible Ink: The World of Independent Literary Publishing Revealed."
Free copies of the poetry anthology, Poetry in Motion, are being given away to Small Press Center visitors during the week of March 18. The book features poems from the program developed by the Poetry Society of America  that places posters in mass transit systems in ten cities across the country.
For more information about Small Press Month, including suggestions of "Things to Do" for bookstores, libraries, small presses, and independent publishers, visit the Small Press Center Web site at www.smallpress.org .