How Books Clubs Went Indie

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“Forty-something Betsy Birdsall jokes that she likes the Rumpus group because it enables her to hang out in her bathrobe and slippers while pretending she has friends. She says Elliot encouraged her to get active with the club’s discussion group. ‘This is the first online community I’ve been a part of,’ Birdsall, a paralegal from Agoura, California, said. ‘I’m not into social networking and I don’t watch television. I realize that makes me a freak in a few circles.’ But not in The Rumpus book club. “I continue to be exposed to writers I haven’t read and to ideas about books and writing that I hadn’t really considered,” she adds. ‘It’s been life-changing.’”

The Daily Beast reflects on the successful emergence of indie book clubs in recent years, highlighting the movement as a response to a changing publishing industry. Many indie book clubs attempt to put the reading public in contact with new or little known publications, which is also a large part of The Rumpus book club‘s mission: “to get worthy reads into the hands of subscribers before the media has a chance to weigh in on them – or ignore them.”


Graham Todd is an intern at The Rumpus. He spends his mornings writing post-apocalyptic, vaguely biblical sci-fi horror comedy, his evenings tutoring the wide-eyed youth of the Palo Alto area, and his Thursdays at The Rumpus office, effectively “off the streets”. Beyond this weekly ritual, he enjoys karaoke, the movies, and jogging. More from this author →