And/Or Press
Statusdefunct (1983)
Founded1974
FounderSebastian Orfali,[1] John Orfali, Carlene Schnabel, Charly Jenkewitz
SuccessorRonin Publishing[1]
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters location2310 Haste Street
Berkeley, California 94704
Key peopleSebastian Orfali, Beverly Potter
Publication typesBooks
Nonfiction topicsPersonal development, Psychedelic drugs, Countercultural lifestyle guides, Consciousness expansion, Spirituality
Fiction genresUnderground comix

And/Or Press was an independent small press publisher based in the San Francisco Bay Area that operated from 1974 to 1983. The company published books on personal development, guides to the countercultural lifestyle, and consciousness expansion. A number of the company's books were on the psychedelic experience and related subjects. And/Or Press was also one of the first book publishers to embrace underground comix, publishing collections by Bill Griffith, Dave Sheridan, and Fred Schrier.

The company went out of business in 1983 after a hostile takeover;[1] co-founder Joseph Sebastian Orfali and his partner Beverly Potter immediately founded Ronin Publishing, which picked up the mantle And/Or Press had established.

In 2009, the And/Or Press name was revived in Vancouver, Canada.

Overview

A number of And/Or Press books on recreational drugs were high-volume sellers in the 1970s, including Mel Frank and Ed Rosenthal's The Indoor Highest Quality Marijuana Grower's Guide, D. Gold's Cannabis Alchemy, Adam Gottlieb's Legal Highs, and Peter Stafford's Psychedelics Encyclopedia. Edward Bauman, et al.'s The Holistic Health Handbook was a national bestseller.[2] (And/Or Press published a number of books affiliated with the Berkeley Holistic Health Center.) The company republished Pitigrilli's 1933 book Cocaine, as well as original works by Ernest Callenbach, Paul Krassner, Dennis McKenna, Jacques Vallée, and Robert Anton Wilson.

History

And/Or Press was founded as a cooperative in San Francisco by brothers Sebastian and John Orfali, Carlene Schnabel, and Charly Jenkewitz.[3] (In 1973, Sebastian Orfali had owned People's Comix, a comic book retailer in San Francisco's North Beach).[2] Among the first books the company published were Griffith and Kinney's Young Lust Reader, Pitigrilli's Cocaine, and W. Golden Mortimer's History of Coca. Most of their catalog was sold through head shops and other non-traditional venues.[3]

By 1976 the company had moved to Berkeley, California. By this time, the company was also acting as a distributor of other publishers' books on affiliated topics. And/Or Press incorporated in 1978.[4] By 1980 the company had six employees and did about $1 million in business per year, mostly in traditional bookstores.[3]

In 1982, And/Or Press joined with three other Bay Area presses to form Network, Inc., a publishing cooperative designed to help small presses compete with larger publishing houses. Orfali became Network, Inc.'s chairman.[5]

After the 1983 takeover of And/Or Press, Orfali and his long-time partner Beverly Potter, PhD, formed Ronin Publishing under a similar mission as its predecessor. Many And/Or Press books were republished by Ronin Publishing. Orfali died in 1997 at age 51.[2][1]

The And/Or Press name was revived in 2009 by a Vancouver, British Columbia-based publisher. The new And/Or Press has so far published a novel by Daryl Haney (Banned for Life, 2009) and a guide to the Maya Embedded Language (Jana Germano's Simplifying Maya, 2016).

Titles published (selected)

References

  1. ^ a b c d Stafford, Peter. Psychedelics (Ronin Publishing, May 1, 2009), p. 182.
  2. ^ a b c "OBITUARY -- Sebastian Orfali," SFGate (November 6, 1997).
  3. ^ a b c Walters, Ray. "Paperbacks: New and Noteworthy," New York Times (November 16, 1980).
  4. ^ "And/Or Press Incorporated," CA-registry.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
  5. ^ Appelbaum, Judith. "PAPERBACK TALK: What Co-ops Can Do," New York Times (December 19, 1982).