Randall Munroe, creator of the awesome (and popular) Web comic xkcd, skipped past the overtures of large publishers when it came time to publish his work on paper. Instead he's working with "breadpig." WTF?

Exactly. Breadpig is a purveyor of t-shirts, which you buy, and blog posts, which you don't. It was started by one of the co-founders of the internet aggregator reddit (presumably the one who hates capital letters).

And how did this odd entity come to handle a book written up in the New York Times before it's even committed to paper? Munroe figured a traditional publisher could only help him in an old, physical marketplace he has written off.

"It doesn't need to be in bookstores," Mr. Munroe said... "We figure that most of our audience is people who know us from the Internet."

Web scribblers who want to broaden their audiences still need traditional publishers. The website Postcards From Yo Momma, for example, naturally hoped to sell to mothers when it became the book Love, Mom. And mothers tend to be more comfortable at Borders than on Amazon.

But other blog-to-book (or Twitter-to-book or email-to-book) authors, who have already built audience and buzz online — not to mention content — are going to sell mainly through the likes of Amazon. Their books, and their quirky upstart publishers, will provide mounting evidence that the romance and prestige of the printed page will endure far longer than the romance and prestige of any particular publishing house.

[NY Times via Rachel Sklar]

(Comic from xkcd)