Head over to the McSweeney’s store today if you like inexpensive books and other interesting things. The San Francisco indie publishing outfit started by Dave Eggers (pictured) eight years ago is currently hosting a fire sale on all their books and stuff because they kind of have to. The reason is a little complicated (the details are explained here), but a couple of months back, the company that owns their distributor filed for Chapter 11, screwing them — and about 150 other small publishers — out of several months of earnings and thus threatening their survival. If you prefer it when a Barnes & Noble store is stocked with lots and lots of books in it, all different kinds of titles on any number of topics, then this darkens your day. Sorry.
After weeks of financial wheelings/dealings, McSweeney’s still needs to raise $130,000 stat. What’s funny, even ironic about all this is that it’s always seemed like McSweeney’s was run by a bunch of jesters who didn’t care that much about business but did care a great deal about books. So you’d think they brought this on themselves. But they did not, and neither did the other 150 little publishers, McSweeney’s tells PopWatch. “It’s about the big guys messing up and not being able to run a business,” says McSweeney’s publisher Eli Horowitz, “not the little guys messing up and not being able to run a business.”
So if you like the little guy — and $4 hardcovers — take a look attheir goods and see if you can help. On eBay, where they’re putting uphigher-ticket items, they’re even auctioning off Spike Jonze doodlings, original Chris Ware Jimmy Corriganart, and a portrait by Dave Eggers of George W. Bush as a doubleamputee. The first wave auctions run through Monday; another wave —possibly featuring stuff from authors like Michael Chabon and SarahVowell — will carry on through next Friday. According to Horowitz, theMcSweeney’s gang is anxious to get past the money thing and get back tobooks; this fall they’re publishing Bowl of Cherries, a firstnovel about a child genius in an Iraq jail written by the 90-year-oldcreator of Mr. Magoo. They sound very excited about it.