This piece about the successful online magazine Rumpus becoming a publisher is pretty interesting. Because they have a built-in readership, and members through their book club, it seems to make sense to go this route for them. But my question is with such limited resources (a staff of two), wouldn’t it be more efficient to go with a traditional publisher for better marketing, sales, and distribution channels? I’m not sure if they tried this and for some reason it didn’t work out, or maybe they want to fully be in control of the product they are releasing, but this seems like the kind of thing that if it works for them to publish successfully on their own, traditional publishers will be knocking on their door to try to get in on their built-in audience and make the stakes even higher and the numbers even bigger.
I think as an idea, this small-scale publishing has merit, but in actuality will be difficult to manage successfully, and to build on and grow at a sustainable level. And I know that at least one of the Rumpus writers is working on her own book project, and my guess is that she, and others affiliated with the mag, will be going the more traditional publishing route. I’ll be curious to see how it all plays out.