NYMag reports on the hard times hitting McSweeney's after their distributer hit their financial bottom: "McSweeney's book distributor filed for bankruptcy six months ago, and the indie-cooler-than-thou publisher has now realized it's out some $130,000, which it kind of needs." McSweeney's says:
As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000—actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.
We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers, who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.
So how do you help? Personally, we think they should have a benefit show (their 826NYC benefits are always amazing). Seems like they're focused on pushing the merch for now though. So at $50 a subscription, you could buy 2600 of your closest friends an early Christmas present! Or, you could buy some of their goods being auctioned off on both their site and eBay. For the traveling prankster, perhaps buy some copies of David Byrne's The New Sins and place them next to the Bible in hotel rooms nationwide! Or if you want a piece of their soul, the rare-item auction already seems to be pulling in some big bucks, with a Dave Eggers painting (of Bush as a double amputee) at $4,500 and an original David Byrne drawing from his book Arboretum at $1,225. If you want to help out but don't have that kind of cash, you can bid on the eight-minute audio cassette recording of Andrew Leland, Believer Managing Editor, in the McSweeny's Basement, playing drums and talking about girls - currently at the bargain price of 13 bucks. That's less than an issue of the quarterly costs!
If you've had your eye on something at their store (or just wanna read What Is The What, like Angelina Jolie), they're having a bit of a clearance sale: "for the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and the entire backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole." So keep 'em alive, at least until they accept one of your lists.
Photo via Northern Library's Flickr.