Small Press Spotight: OR Books
The Small Press Spotlight this time around is dedicated to OR Books. This is a company dedicated to adapting to the changing publication world. They are all about simplicity. OR is more concerned about printing books that are relevant and interesting to the issues of the time, over printing a lot of books that don’t adhere to the company’s standards. In fact, almost all of their products are manufactured in a print-on-demand process, meaning: OR manufactures books as they are needed. Therefore, if there is no longer a demand for the book, they do not waste space, or energy, printing them. OR has even embraced the dreaded e-book, which are multi-platform compatible. OR is not intimidated by the hyper-technological world, instead they embrace it and adapt with the societal changes they come with advancing technology. OR Books has their eye on the future, asking questions and exploring how to make the publishing business last through the shift from print to digital.
OR was founded by John Oakes and Colin Robinson. Oakes founded Four Walls Eight Windows publishing company, then served as publisher of Thunder’s Mouth Press, co-publisher of Nation Books, and vice president of Avalon. Robinson was senior editor at Scribner, managing director of Verso Books and publisher of The New Press. Both founders have written for a number of publication including the Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Between Oakes and Robinson, they have published people like Noam Chomsky, R. Crumb, Cory Doctorow, and Eric Hobsbawm.
OR Books publishes books from a wide range genres, but they’re catalog selection points to the present era and the issues that our society is faced with on a daily basis. OR has published authors like Eileen Myles, Norman G. Finkelstein, and Miles Klee, ranging in topics from drones, to poetic storytelling and the metatexual nature of writing and reading in the style of Dante’s Inferno, and how the digital age affects the relationships between people.
Norman G. Finkelstein published multiple books with OR Books, including Knowing Too Much, and What Gandhi Says. Finkelstein is a political scientist and researcher on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who’s background is deeply rooted in the global historical struggle of the Jewish people. Both of his parents survived the Holocaust, which helped to shape his unique perspective on the Jewish-American’s relationship with Israel. Knowing Too Much explores the shift in the consciousnesses of Jewish people in America away from supporting Israel as their homeland. What Gandhi Says represents Finkelstein’s examination of Gandhi’s nonviolent discipline. He uses Gandhi’s words to assess modern day social movements, including Tahrir Square and the Occupy Movement.
Eileen Myles is a favorite at Book Culture. Her book Inferno is currently represented as a staff pick at the 112th street location. She has been an integral piece of the New York poetry scene since moving here from Boston in 1974. She soon began reading her poems publicly, taking workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York’s East Village and publishing in magazines and larger journals such as Partisan Review and Paris Review. She directed the writing program at the University of California at San Diego for five years before returning to New York in 2007. For the last three decades she’s been writing reviews, articles, essays and blogs, most recently in Art Forum, Parkett, Vice, AnOther Magazine and the Brooklyn Rail. Her essays were collected in The Importance of Being Iceland (2009). In 2010, the Poetry Society of American awarded Myles the Shelley Memorial Award. The same year, she was the Hugo Writer at the University of Montana at Missoula.
Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of Internet has been one of our store’s hottest books since it was published in November 2012. This is a book that discusses some of the most important questions of our generation; will the internet make or break us? The authors of this book have been very interested in the protection of personal information on the internet. Julian Assange is the editor in chief of WikiLeaks. An ‘ethical hacker’ in his teens, and subsequently an activist and internet service provider to Australia during the 1990s. He is currently a refugee under the protection of the government of Ecuador, and lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Jacob Appelbaum is a developer and advocate for the Tor Project, which is an online anonymity system for everyday people to fight against surveillance and against internet censorship. Andy Müller-Maguhn is a long time member of, and former spokesman for, the Chaos Computer Club in Germany. A specialist on surveillance he runs a company called Cryptophone, which markets secure voice communication devices to commercial clients. Jérémie Zimmermann is the co-founder and spokesperson for the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, the most prominent European organization defending anonymity rights online and promoting awareness of regulatory attacks on online freedoms.
Book Culture is more than excited to work with and support a publishing company that is as conscious as OR Books. A former employee of ours has gone to work full-time as OR’s Marketing and Sales Manager. We were sad to see our friend leave us, but knew that we would continue to have close contact with her, even if it was only through her new company. Book Culture is always eager to see what new was OR has embraced in promotion and marketing. They focus a lot of their energy on the web and how they can make the internet functional for their purposes in publishing. OR Books: We adORe you.