Latest News

OR's Printer Discusses OR Publishing Model

November 21, 2014

Once upon a time, selling directly to consumers was a rarity in the book publishing business. Now, publishers of all types are doing it, or planning to. This trend has been enabled by the web and complemented by publishers’ parallel social media strategies. It is driven by the desire to connect with readers and the strategic threat posed by publishers’ number one trading partner, Amazon, who has explicitly promised to disintermediate publishers, even referring to smaller publishers as sickly gazelles to be culled.

To read the rest of the article, visit Bookmobile

FELICE PICANO's Ann Arbor tour covered in Pride Source

November 19, 2014

[Picano's] works have included fiction, non-fiction, plays and criticism. His work as a publisher and editor has started the careers of scores of younger gay writers. And now he says, "The gay icon and actress Mae West once said, "Keep a diary when you are young, and when you are old, it will keep you.' I'm testing out that theory with these recent books of true stories and memoirs."

To read the rest of the article, visit Pride Source

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY excerpted on Alternet

November 18, 2014

Can you be fully committed to changing the world and change diapers at the same time? Can you be a nonviolent revolutionary and a present, loving role model for your children? Can you hold the macro – justice and peace and the big issues of the day – in one hand and the micro – boppies, wipes, third-grade science projects, and playground politics – in the other? My parents did not think so, and did not plan on having children.

Father Philip Berrigan, a Josephite priest, and Sister Elizabeth McAlister of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, both peace and civil rights activists, met at a funeral in 1966. Each of them was fully committed to revolution inside the church and throughout society. They fell in love, married, and were excommunicated. They faced long jail sentences and long court proceedings, and endured the harsh burn of the media spotlight. They formed Jonah House, a new community to support and nurture lives of resistance and prayer and to replace the religious orders that failed to evolve with them. They did not see kids as part of that picture, but then I came along. My brother Jerry followed a year later, and seven years after that our sister Kate was born. So much for natural family planning.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Alternet

JOHN OAKES weighs in on the Amazon-Hachette deal in Mashable

November 17, 2014

John Oakes, co-founder of OR Books, a small, independent publisher, said that the agreement is far from a resolution to problems of Hachette or publishing at large.

"I think some people said, 'Well, you know, it's now been resolved and it's past, it's behind us,'" Oakes said. "But there's a deeper issue here beyond what the terms are between Amazon and Hachette."

To read the rest of the article, visit Mashable

OR BOOKS discussed in n+1

November 14, 2014

OR Books, founded by longtime independent publisher John Oakes and former Scribner senior editor Colin Robinson, was a perfect example of publishing veterans using reduced online costs to modify industry standards. Rather than investing in large print runs and taking a loss on returned copies, the company would sell only ebooks and print-on-demand editions. Old hands rather than visionaries, Oakes and Robinson presented this cost-saving model matter-of-factly. For them the project was simply the prospect of “high efficiency, and minimal, or nonexistent, returns,” as Oakes wrote in Publishers Weekly.

To read the rest of the article, visit n+1

Daily Californian reviews TECHNOCREEP

November 13, 2014

“Technocreep” forces one to dissociate from society in order to understand it. Over the course of 17 funnily named chapters, “Technocreep” covers a range of terrifying material — from a Justin Bieber sex toy made with a 3-D printer to Taco Bell’s supposed exploitation of human psychobiology — in a way that makes discovering the underbelly of technology darkly exciting.

To read the rest of the article, visit The Daily Californian

Paste Magazine reviews WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS

November 11, 2014

We may [...] look back on When Google Met WikiLeaks as the first declaration of new digital war. We hear it here first, from a soft voice quietly speaking to the truths of Silicon Valley: Google is as capable of being evil—may already be evil—as any other company, body, or state.

To read the rest of the article, visit Paste Magazine


November 10, 2014

Micah’s incisive new book The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet) should be read by every nonprofit fundraiser and cause marketer – because the principles it describes for public policy and politics are nearly the same as the ones that govern charitable fundraising. It’s an important warning to all digital organizers, marketers and fundraisers. You can (and will) wear out your welcome quickly. Real engagement is not easy, and doesn’t always align with fundraising or a one-time push for virality (see Kony 2012). Organizations need to be nourished – and truly organized – over time (see Organizing for America, post elections). A big email list is no substitute for impact.

To read the rest of the article, visit Forbes

ANDREW ROSS, author of CREDITOCRACY currently doing an AMA

November 10, 2014
Ask him questions and read his responses on Reddit.

TOM KEENAN author of Technocreep interviewed on The Current

November 6, 2014
To listen to the episode and read Kennan's tips for throwing people off of your digital scent, visit CBC

Video of MICAH SIFRY discussing implications of a closed internet with Tim Wu and Jacob Weisberg

November 4, 2014

TECHNOCREEP reviewed on Public Books

November 3, 2014

In a comprehensive survey of how technological advances will “creep” into everyday life, computer expert and technologist Thomas Keenan guides the reader through a slew of increasingly ubiquitous and invasive technologies. How do fellow citizens feel about the prospect of airport security spraying you with “a fine mist” of GPS nanoparticles in the name of enhancing security? What about a “password pill” emitting radio waves through a user’s digestive tract so a user can log in to the cloud? Does a robot bellhop sound cool? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we know what the future of a technology-saturated society will hold?

To read the rest of the article, visit Public Books

TALES OF TWO CITIES named one of Vogue's Indie Books to Read this Fall

November 3, 2014

Borrowing a title from Dickens and wealth-gap statistics not too far off from Victorian London, the anthology Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York (OR Books) gathers stories and essays from Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz, and Lydia Davis, among others, depicting life on both sides of the coin—where the top one percent earn a minimum of $500,000 a year, while 22,000 children remain homeless.

To read the rest of the list, visit Vogue

MICAH SIFRY discusses how Facebook manipulates voter behavior on Mother Jones

October 31, 2014

the process by which Facebook has developed this tool—what the firm calls the "voter megaphone"—has not been very transparent, raising questions about its use and Facebook's ability to influence elections. Moreover, while Facebook has been developing and promoting this tool, it has also been quietly conducting experiments on how the company's actions can affect the voting behavior of its users.

In particular, Facebook has studied how changes in the news feed seen by its users—the constant drip-drip-drip of information shared by friends that is heart of their Facebook experience—can affect their level of interest in politics and their likelihood of voting. For one such experiment, conducted in the three months prior to Election Day in 2012, Facebook increased the amount of hard news stories at the top of the feeds of 1.9 million users. According to one Facebook data scientist, that change—which users were not alerted to—measurably increased civic engagement and voter turnout.

To read the rest of the article, visit Mother Jones


October 31, 2014

The US soldiers arrived by helicopter and were efficiently guarded and shown around by uniformed Kurdish militiamen. But soon afterwards the Yazidis – who had been hoping to be rescued or at least helped by the Americans – were horrified to see the US soldiers hurriedly climb back into their helicopter and fly away. The reason for their swift departure, it was revealed later in Washington, was that the officer in charge of the US detachment had spoken to his Kurdish guards and discovered that they weren’t the US-friendly peshmerga of the Kurdistan Regional Government but PKK fighters – still listed as ‘terrorists’ by the US, despite the central role they have played in helping the Yazidis and driving back Isis. It was only when Kobani was on the verge of falling that Washington accepted it had no choice but to co-operate with the PYD: it was, after all, practically the only effective force still fighting Isis on the ground.

Read the rest of the article on theLondon Review of Books


October 31, 2014

Eric Schmidt: But how in the future will people deal with the fact that the incentive to publish information that is misleading, wrong, manipulative, is very high? Furthermore, you can’t figure out who the bad publisher was as well as the good, because there’s anonymity in the system.

Julian Assange: First we must understand that the way it is right now is very bad. A journalist for the Nation, Greg Mitchell, who has also written about us, wrote a book about the mainstream media called So Wrong for So Long.229 And that title is basically it. Yes we have these heroic moments with Watergate and so on, but actually, come on, the press has never been very good. It has always been very bad. Fine journalists are an exception to the rule. When you are involved in something yourself, like I am with WikiLeaks, and you know every facet of it, you look to see what is reported about it in the mainstream press and you see naked lie after naked lie. You know that the journalist knows it’s a lie; it is not a simple mistake. Then people repeat lies and so on. The condition of the mainstream press nowadays is so appalling I don’t think it can be reformed. I don’t think that is possible. I think it has to be eliminated, and replaced with something that’s better.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit TruthDig

JULIAN ASSANGE's ongoing feud with Eric Schmidt covered in Daily Mail

October 27, 2014

Despite its cuddly image and free services, he said, Google's mass harvesting of data and dominance of the internet are cause for 'serious concern' worldwide.

He said: 'Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation.'

To read the rest of the article, visit the Daily Mail

JULIAN ASSANGE interviewed by DW GIBSON in Vogue

October 24, 2014

In a world where the Web is more decentralized, with more autonomy and anonymity, how does leadership play out on that Internet? Or is there a need for leadership? Or is it OK if it’s simply a fragmented experience?

Leadership is still very important because when you have a cacophony of ideas, it takes a lot of time to understand which ones are worth considering. And so to solve that problem, people look to those who they respect or understand. That’s why we like to read the books of authors that deepen our understanding of a particular area of the world.

But there’s a difference between leadership and direction—coercive control over something. Extremely large states, they have a coercive control structure, and large companies like Google are intertwined with the mechanisms of the state such as law, courts, and police.

Leadership through values or through the creation of new standards or new software or new formulations of human institutions, these are structures that can propagate to others but where the originator doesn’t maintain more than a spiritual or philosophical influence. Most good ideas in human development have spread that way—from writing to the gramophone.

Read the full interview on Vogue

Stories of JOHN FREEMAN and TIM FREEMAN excerpted in The Guardian

October 24, 2014

Several years ago, I bought an apartment in Manhattan with an inheritance passed to me from my grandmother, who was the daughter of a former attorney for Standard Oil. She outlived three husbands and managed her money well, and in one moment hoisted me out of one social class and into another.

Meanwhile, barely a mile away, my younger brother was living in a homeless shelter. It was the second or third shelter he’d been in after moving to the city. It’s awkward enough, in most instances, to talk about money, but doubly so when it involves family. Let me just briefly say that my brother had not been left out of his inheritance; he just had no immediate access to it due to the fact that he has a mental illness. He has dealt with this illness bravely and takes precautions to manage his condition. One of the first things he did after moving to New York was check in at a hospital and use his Medicaid card to get his prescriptions.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

PATRICK COCKBURN included in interview of experts for ABC

October 23, 2014

Islamic State militants have been in the headlines for months, but groups like IS don't appear out of nowhere, they arise in a political and historic context. IS has emerged out of the opposition to the Assad regime in Syria at a moment when Iran and Saudi Arabia are vying for political influence in the region.

It’s well known that Saudi Arabia has supported jihadist movements in Afghanistan, North Africa and Syria, and that most of the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks were Saudi nationals.

‘The trend one notices in Saudi Arabia is that they are much more against jihadi organisations if they threaten the security of the House of Saud, or if jihadis begin to act within Saudi Arabia,’ says Patrick Cockburn, journalist and author of The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising. ‘But they are quite prepared to use jihadis as an instrument of Saudi foreign policy and Saudi influence abroad.’

To read the rest of the article, visit ABC