Apart from a growing book list, McSweeney's is responsible for four regular publications: the quarterly literary journal Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, the daily-updated literature and humor site McSweeney's Internet Tendency, the monthly magazine The Believer, and the new quarterly DVD magazine, Wholphin. The publishing house also runs two additional imprints, Believer Books and the Collins Library.
On the name of the organization, Eggers says: "[My family] would always get letters from someone named Timothy McSweeney ... He claimed to be my mother's long-lost brother...[Letters] would always include flight plans, like he was planning on coming to visit. I don't know if he's real or not. My relatives deny it, but who knows?
McSweeney's has helped launch the careers of many young writers; it has also published the works of well-established authors such as Michael Chabon, Stephen King, David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, and Joyce Carol Oates. The band One Ring Zero gained notoriety by becoming the house band for the New York McSweeney's store. As a result of this relationship, they gained the trust of many prominent McSweeney writers and solicited their lyric-writing help in the ORZ album "As Smart As We Are."
McSweeney's was also the subject of the They Might Be Giants song "The Ballad of T. McSweeney."
Books published under McSweeney's Rectangular's imprint include:
In December 2006, Advanced Marketing Services, since 2002 the parent company of McSweeney's distributor Publishers Group West (PGW), declared bankruptcy; at the time of the filing, PGW owed McSweeney's about $600,000. McSweeney's eventually accepted an offer from Perseus Books Group to take over distribution; the deal reduced McSweeney's losses to $130,000. In June 2007, McSweeney's held a successful sale and eBay auction which helped make up the difference.