About Us

“OR Books has firmly established itself as the go-to source for titles that challenge the status quo and suggest options for moving beyond our current ruts.” —Ben Terrall, CounterPunch

“A great, exciting project!” —Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

“Over the last five years, Oakes and co-founder Colin Robinson have turned OR into one of the most original publishers in the US.” —Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire

“A publisher of dissident voices.” —David Richter, Book Culture

OR Books

Alternative Publishing

OR Books is a new type of publishing company. It embraces progressive change in politics, culture and the way we do business.

Our list is highly selective: we publish just one or two books a month, combining established authors with new discoveries.

Our editorial standards are fastidious; our design clear and elegant.

We employ exciting promotion with highly creative use of video and the Internet.

To avoid the waste of unsold stock and returns, we produce our books only when they are wanted, as print-on-demand and as platform-agnostic e-books.

This system allows a rapid publishing turnaround so relevant books can intervene quickly in issues of the day.

Most importantly, we sell direct to you, the customer, shipping promptly when a book is released and/or your order is received.

Our approach jettisons the inefficiencies of conventional publishing to better serve readers, writers and the environment.

It points to a new future for book publishing.

We hope you will join with us.

OR Books

OR Books: The Movies

In a cinematic experience that rivals Ben Hur, Oakes and Robinson were filmed last summer talking about the crisis of contemporary book publishing and how OR Books will do things differently.

Who We Are

OR Books was founded by John Oakes and Colin Robinson.

John Oakes co-founded the publishing company Four Walls Eight Windows, which was purchased by the Avalon Publishing Group. Among the authors he has published are Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman, Gordon Lish, Harvey Pekar, Rudy Rucker, John Waters and Edmund White. Oakes is a former board member of PEN America. He has written for the Associated Press, the International Herald Tribune, and the Review of Contemporary Fiction. He is director of the New School Publishing Institute and publisher of The Evergreen Review.

Colin Robinson worked as a senior editor at Scribner and was previously managing director of Verso Books and publisher of The New Press. Among the authors he has published are Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Mike Davis, Norman Finkelstein, Eduardo Galeano, Eric Hobsbawm, Lewis Lapham, Mike Marqusee, Rigoberta Menchú, Matt Taibbi and Jann Wenner. He has written for publications including The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Sunday Times (London) and The Guardian (London), and has appeared on broadcast media including NPR (“On the Media”), CNN, MSNBC, CBC and CSPN.

Contact Us

For media inquiries:
publicity [at] wp.orbooks.com

Within the UK:
ukpublicity [at] wp.orbooks.com


For orders:
orders [at] wp.orbooks.com


For rights inquiries:
rights [at] wp.orbooks.com


For general information:
info [at] wp.orbooks.com


Please note that OR Books does not accept unsolicited manuscripts or book submissions.

Media Coverage

Publishers Weekly, April 15th, 2016

Publishers Weekly, April 14th, 2016

Entropy Magazine, January 30th 2015

n+1, Fall 2014

Nola Defender, November 14th 2011

Financial Times, September 30th 2011

Publishing Trends, July 2011

Publishers Weekly, June 22nd 2011

Publishers Weekly, June 13th 2011

Moby Lives, April 4th 2011

Princeton Alumni Weekly, March 2nd 2011

The Scholarly Kitchen, January 3rd 2011

Publisher’s Weekly, January 3rd 2011

The Huffington Post, December 8th 2010

GalleyCat, December 8th 2010

hublines.com, December 2010

Publishers Weekly, December 7th 2010

Shelf Awareness, December 7th 2010

St. Mark’s Bookshop and OR Books Announce a New Joint Venture, December 6th 2010

Publishing Perspectives, October 6th 2010

O’Reilly Radar, August 7th 2010

Independent Publisher, July 2010

Colin Robinson: “Why Amazon Is Bad for Publishers, Bookstores, Authors and, Yes, Readers Too,” The Nation, July 14th 2010.

John Oakes on embracing the digital age, The London Progressive Journal, Issue 117, 16th to 22nd April 2010

Writer 2.0, March 26th 2010

Colin Robinson on OR Books and Amazon, The Huffington Post, March 22nd 2010

Author Liza Featherstone publishing with OR Books, Crains, March 14th 2010

John Oakes on the OR Books process, The Huffington Post, November 30th 2009

Colin Robinson talks about Going Rouge and OR Books on On The Media, November 27th 2009

Publishers Weekly, October 22nd 2009

Photo © 2009 Miriam Berkley

Four Veterans, Two New Ventures,” Publishers Lunch, May 31, 2009

In a voyage abundant in metaphors (and blessed with sunshine) publishing veterans John Oakes and Colin Robinson literally launched their new venture OR Books on a old fireboat from a pier eight blocks south of the Javits center on Sunday afternoon. The boat chugged leisurely around the south end of Manhattan, past the Statue of Liberty and right past the giant Queen Mary 2 in Red Hook. From a megaphone on the top deck they hailed their “politically progressive and culturally adventurous” content paired with a “revolutionary approach to business.”

In other words, they aim to sell non-returnable only and print only on-demand (or not at all via ebooks). And they pledge to spend the money saved on inventory on marketing instead. Oakes said they want to “affirm the partnership between publishers and authors.” Robinson added that a publisher’s “first obligation is to find readers for the books they’re publishing” and commented, “we know the existing doesn’t work. We’re going to try something new.” Oakes added, “if the boat goes down, there goes the future of publishing.”

They will launch in September, and announced a collaboration with the editorial collective Mischief & Mayhem (comprising Lisa Dierbeck, Josh Furst, DW Gibson, Dale Peck and Choire Sicha) which will contribute books to the venture. (Oakes co-founded Four Walls Eight Windows, and was publisher of Thunder’s Mouth and then executive editor at Atlas; Robinson was managing director at Verso; publisher at the New Press; and then a senior editor at Scribner).

Additional Links

Crain’s New York (July 12, 2009)

Boing Boing (July 22, 2009)

Mick Rooney (July, 2009)

Inefficient Frontiers (June 6, 2009)

Fiction Matters (June 6, 2009)

Mediabistro (June 1st, 2009)

About this Website

This website was happily created by Al Rotches, in close collaboration with OR Books.

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