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.

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