OR Books is what you might call a newfangled publishing house–they’re trying to re-think the paradigm of selling books in the digital age. Instead of printing physical copies of their books in mass quantity, they mainly print on demand and sell digital copies. However, while many of these up-and-coming houses have come and gone, OR has made themselves something of an outlier by not abandoning print all together, and by having a well-honed sensibility and sleek aesthetic. OR cares about their authors, making them not just a publishing house, but a publishing home. And, starting this Friday they are making a novel attempt at re-imagining the bookstore.
OR Books will be erecting their very own pop-up book shop at Alexandria (456 Hudson between Barrow and Morton) an restaurant in the West Village , which they’re calling a restORrant. The event kicks off with a cocktail party on Friday night at 6pm and runs through Thursday, Oct. 24. All week long OR authors will be dining at the restaurant, and a free e-book will be served to patrons with each meal. Of course, OR’s catalogue of paperbacks will be available for sale and perusal throughout the week.
OR publishes one or two titles a month and they tend toward works with strong political viewpoints and culturally out of the box authors. For instance, their most recent book, Acorn by Yoko Ono contains drawings by Ono herself, as well as “enchanting exercises to open our eyes on better ways of relating to ourselves, each other, and the planet we co-habit.”
The People vs. Private Chelsea Manning is graphic interpretation/reportage of the Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning trial. Their catalogue includes books about digital politics as well as fiction like Jeanne Thornton’s The Dream of Doctor Bantam and the most recent story collection by Gordon Lish.
In short, OR Books is a publishing house that fights on the front lines of the digital revolution while remaining excited, politically and artistically, about their content. They remind me of what Soft Skull Press was like when Sander Hicks was running things and they are absolutely an indie publishing house you need to know about–or even dine with.