Veteran book editor John Oakes was at BookExpo only briefly Monday to be on a panel –but I caught up with him later to find out how his publishing venture has been doing–and to discuss his recent column for Publisher’s Weekly bemoaning the industry’s failure to break free from the consignment model.

Oakes started OR Books in 2009 with Colin Robinson, a former managing director of Verso Books and senior editor at Simon & Schuster.

“I was at Grove Press before starting my own company, Four Walls Eight Windows,” said Oakes. “And then my years at Avalon and Atlas.” *

“Colin and I had never worked together before, because we’ve had parallel experiences in very different, overlapping circles. What we both saw is that conventional publishing just doesn’t work at all. The system of returns, huge discounts, consignment.”

So they started talking and came up with their current venture.

“Editorially we’re progressive, culturally, socially, and that can encompass a lot. Edgy stuff–as well as the usual political analyses. We don’t accept returns and all customers prepay. This should be self-evident in any other industry, but as you know–this is something of a revolutionary development in book publishing. It’s just not done. And that’s not to say we were the first or we are the only–but we are one of the few.”

“And we’ve found it to be a good experience.”

Read the full article in Forbes

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