Checking in with OR Books: Alternative Publishing — A Case Study

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Königstein III

When John Oakes and Colin Robinson – both veterans of the traditional book publishing world – launched OR books (a decidedly non-traditional publishing house) in 2009, they gave themselves a few basic guidelines:

  • Fastidious editorial standards; clear and elegant design;
  • Employing exciting promotion with highly creative use of video and the Internet;
  • Production of books only when they are wanted, either through print-on-demand or as platform-agnostic e-books – thereby avoiding the waste of unsold stock and returns;
  • A rapid publishing turnaround so relevant books can intervene quickly in issues of the day; and
  • Sales direct to the customer, shipping promptly when a book is released and/or an order is received.

With November 2010 marking a year since the release of their first title, Going Rouge, John Oakes will take stock of OR Books’ very experimental approach to publishing – and share the results thus far.

The Speaker

John Oakes is the co-founder of OR Books (, an alternative publishing company that embraces e-books and other new technologies. Oakes started in publishing with Grove Press. In 1987 he co-founded Four Walls Eight Windows, which he first ran as co-publisher for seven years, and then directed for another ten years before selling it to the Avalon Publishing Group. Oakes is a member of P.E.N. America’s board of trustees. He has written for the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the Associated Press, the International Herald Tribune, and most recently The Huffington Post.

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