Two Dollar Radio was started in 2005 by us, Eric Obenauf and Eliza Wood-Obenauf, an idealistic, young husband-and-wife team with an intense love of books. We were living in San Diego at the time, and after boomeranging back to New York City for a brief stint, we finally settled in Columbus, Ohio, where we are now proudly based, with our two children.
Over the past 10 years, we believe we've become one of the most trusted and acclaimed independent publishers in North America, and the only one to also produce films.
Our books have been honored by the National Book Foundation, finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, picked as "Editors' Choice" selections by The New York Times Book Review, and made year-end best-of lists at O, The Oprah Magazine, National Public Radio, Slate, Salon, The Believer, and others.
In addition, The Brooklyn Rail credits Two Dollar Radio with publishing "some of the finest works of contemporary fiction," while The Los Angeles Times has said we provide the industry with "an air of possibility, the belief that the future was very much in play." Publishing Perspectives dubbed Two Dollar Radio “a budding literary movement;” The Seattle Stranger envisioned us leading a "dream industry" out of the wreckage of corporate publishing.
In 2013, we announced the formation of a micro-budget film division, Two Dollar Radio Moving Pictures, an expansion that the Tribeca Film Festival’s ‘Future of Film’ blog speculated could be "a real watershed moment in film."
That's the elevator pitch! (There's more general history of the press in the FAQ section.) We're doing what we love and having fun doing it.
~Sincerely, Eric & Eliza
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When did Two Dollar Radio begin?
Two Dollar Radio was founded in 2005. The original impetus came on the heels of reading Andre Schiffrin’s The Business of Books, which anyone interested in the publishing industry—or who cares about literature in the United States—should read.
Where does the name come from?
The name has its origins in a San Diego bar, when the bartender/publisher (Eric Obenauf) was doing his best to ignore a belligerent old day-drinker who realized it and blurted out, “Don’t mind me, I make more noise than a two-dollar radio.” We tacked on the ‘Movement’ part to the name because we didn’t want to rule out future endeavors into music and film.
What kind of books do you publish?
Two Dollar Radio functions on a no-wasted bullets policy. You won’t find jokebooks or bathroom readers camouflaged in our lists. In the work we produce, we value ambition above all, and believe that none of our books/films crimp to convention when it comes to storytelling or voice. Ideally, that contributes to a liberating reading/viewing experience. Our primary interest lies with what we would characterize as bold work: subversive, original, and highly creative.
How many books/films do you put out a year?
So that we can devote our full and undivided attention to each book we publish, we limit ourselves to 5-6 books a year. For film, we currently produce one per year.
Your covers are rad. Who designs them?
Most of our covers are designed in-house. However, several celebrated artists have contributed cover artwork for Two Dollar Radio titles, including Barbara Kruger (The Shanghai Gesture), Aubrey Perry (Termite Parade), Xylor Jane (Baby Geisha), Mat Brinkman (The Orange Eats Creeps), John Gagliano (Frequencies), Ricardo Cavolo (How To Get Into the Twin Palms), Michael Salerno/Kiddiepunk (Mira Corpora), and Lynn Davis (The Drop Edge of Yonder, Nog, Flats/Quake).
Where are you?
Two Dollar Radio is proudly based in Columbus, Ohio.
The Atlantic, 7/17/2016
'American Literature Needs Indie Presses'
"[Two Dollar Radio is] the publisher of some of the best gritty Americana novels of the past decade."
Politics & Prose Bookstore, 3/24/2016
Hurray For Small Presses!
"As giant, international conglomerates account for an ever-increasing share of the publishing industry, small presses remain a vital outlet for diverse voices and unconventional approaches. Independent presses not only provide opportunities to new authors but also can enhance the careers of established writers. They take risks, push boundaries, fill niches neglected by larger publishers, and serve a wide array of audiences... Two Dollar Radio in Columbus, Ohio, was started by a husband-and-wife team. Binary Star, a novel by Sarah Gerard cited by numerous critics as one of the best books of 2015, exemplifies the originality of the fiction this firm publishes."
(614) Magazine, 2/28/2016
Too Loud to Ignore
"This indie press has style. The sense of radical individuality is present in everything Eric and Eliza do with Two Dollar Radio. One of my biggest questions is how the two have been so sharp and intentional in their publishing choices, such that they’ve built a catalogue of releases consistently hailed as challenging, bold, and even punk."
Cultured Vultures, 2/9/2016
10 Small Presses to Check out in 2016
"Two Dollar Radio has a big year ahead of it. Aside from pushing literary ground, it’ll also release its second film, The Removals. This indie press who had releases that ended up on our best of 2015 list is releasing The Gloaming by Melanie Finn, The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga and Daniel Johnston, a graphic novel by Ricardo Cavolo & Scott McClanahan. A press that is doing such a diverse schedule of releases is definitely one to watch."
Los Angeles Times, 12/31/2015
6 book trends for 2016: Look into the future
"Independent presses bring the vanguard. With smaller print runs and often an intimate relationship with readers, these smaller houses are able to take bigger risks than their larger counterparts and are finding truly excellent writers outside the mainstream. Don't miss works from Open Letter, Deep Vellum, Bellevue Literary Press, Catapult, Restless Books, Two Dollar Radio and Los Angeles' Unnamed Press; like more established independents Graywolf and McSweeney's, they are delivering so much genuinely exciting fiction that they make it look easy."
Independent Publisher, 11/1/2015
Indie Groundbreaking Publisher
"Two Dollar Radio, the movement revolutionizing and trailblazing a new breed of indie publishing, celebrates a decade of blazing originality this year with an expansion into film. The powerhouse duo calling the shots have no intention of stopping there. Eric Obenauf and his wife Eliza Wood-Obenauf strive to knock people off-balance with every subversive publication. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the movement has gained momentum and accolades as a fierce voice willing to take risks that corporate publishing wouldn’t dare. IP got the chance to speak with Eric Obenauf on Two Dollar Radio's success and upcoming plans."
J. Sebastian Alberdi via Community on BuzzFeed, 10/14/15
9 Indie Publishers Whose Books You Need To Read
"Based in Columbus, Ohio, and run by a husband-wife team, Two Dollar Radio is cool. And not just book cool, mainstream cool. As a multi-media publishing house (they make films too!) they focus on publishing literature that pushes boundaries—hard."
Quaint Magazine, 10/8/15
by Kia Groom
"An extremely awesome independent press devoted to promoting subversive, experimental work."
They’re Here: Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps
by Jonathon Sturgeon
Colin Winnette’s ‘Haints Stay’
A literary journal of the Greenville Public Library, 3/3/15
by David N
"Two Dollar Radio might be the best independent fiction press in the publishing world today, and I am continually impressed with the new voices they discover and unleash on the reading public."
Brazos Bookstore Blog, 10/6/14
Independent Together: Profiles of Our Favorite Small Presses
"Sometimes Two Dollar Radio feels like an author, not a publisher. This isn’t to devalue the individual authors of Two Dollar Radio’s books—authors who are distinctive and marvelous—but somehow each release seems to come from the same brain and is instantly identifiable as the work of this trailblazing Columbus-based publisher. This is true not only in terms of design (Two Dollar Radio is one of America’s best branded presses), but also in terms of the prose itself—feverish, irreverent, and so worked up that you worry the words themselves will tear the pages before you get a chance to read them. Two Dollar Radio releases often seem to mine genre for inspiration, taking “low art” and treating it with seriousness (consider the vampires of Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps, the zombies of Bennett Sims’s A Questionable Shape, and the fairy tale inflections of Shane Jones’s Crystal Eaters). But maybe the best place to start is D. Foy’s Made to Break, a novel of wit, scope, and horror, about a group of friends stranded in a cabin in the middle of a storm. Like the best Two Dollar Radio books, it takes a pulpy premise and makes it human and complex." Article.
Other People Podcast, 9/3/14
Interview with David Connerley Nahm
by Brad Listi
"One of this country's finest independent presses." Article.
Columbus Alive, 8/7/14
People to Watch: Eric Obenauf and Eliza Wood-Obenauf of Two Dollar Radio
by Jesse Tigges
"One of the most exciting publishing companies in the country." Article.
Full Stop, 7/1/14
Review of Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones
by Eleanor Gold
"[Two Dollar Radio books] are ambitious, far-reaching, and even visionary." Article.
The Millions, 6/28/14
Next In Line from Two Dollar Radio
by Nick Moran
"Is there an indie press that consistently punches up as high and as successfully as Two Dollar Radio?"
Virginia Quarterly Review, 5/27/14
Literature Is Not the Same Thing as Publishing
by Chris Fischbach
"Two Dollar Radio, a relatively new indie making a big splash, made an even bigger splash when it announced the launch of Two Dollar Radio Moving Pictures, a 'micro-budget film division.' These aren’t book trailers; they aren’t done just to promote their titles, or even their brand. These are creative, exciting works of art in their own right; each one gives you the sense that the people behind it are incredibly creative people who love books, but who also love movies, and love making things, making things happen, trying something new. It sounds so simple, but it really was a paradigm shift for Two Dollar Radio to even think this was a possibility."
Library Journal, 1/19/14
'Galley Guide Discoveries'
by Barbara Hoffert
"[Two Dollar Radio's] publications are always eye-catching." Article.
Los Angeles Review of Books, 4/15/14
'Midnight Reckonings' (review of Made to Break)
by David Rice
"Like Jeff Jackson’s fantastic Mira Corpora from last fall, Made to Break is published by Two Dollar Radio, an Ohio-based small press that puts out striking, deckle-edged paperbacks with extra thick pages and vividly dark writing." Article.
Brooklyn Based, 11/7/13
by Jon Reiss
"Two Dollar Radio, another indie publisher I love, puts out six books a year, that though varied have a cohesive sensibility. There’s that same sense of discovery and collection when you read through their titles–something an Amazon or Pandora algorithm can never quite duplicate."
Coming Soon: Films from Indie Publisher Two Dollar Radio
Tribeca Film Festival, 10/15/13
by Zachary Wigon
"A pioneering literary press... If more respected content-providers [like Two Dollar Radio] begin to make their way into the low-cost, easy-to-operate realm of micro-budget filmmaking,we may see a real watershed moment in film occur."
The Future of Film: Two Dollar Radio and the Next Step for Micro-budget Cinema
by Jason Diamond
"Our favorite indie out of Ohio has been expanding into new places like film production and the great biannual essay journal Frequencies, but they’re still hellbent on publishing great titles by writers like Barbara Browning, Grace Krilanovich, Jeff Jackson, and a bunch of other authors you should be reading."
25 Independent Presses That Prove This Is the Golden Age of Indie Publishing
Brooklyn Based, 8/8/13
by Jon Reiss
"Two Dollar Radio makes strong choices. They publish authors from across the board, all of whom share a common thread that’s difficult to articulate while rarely sharing any obvious commonality in the style department. From Scott McLanahan, to Joshua Mohr to Francis Levy, nothing Two Dollar Radio does treads old ground, yet it all makes sense as part of a greater whole."
Review: Nothing by Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon
Brooklyn Based, 6/5/13
by Jon Reiss
"Two Dollar Radio is the only non New York-based publishing house on this list, but without them, it would be incomplete. Two Dollar Radio follows in the tradition of publishing houses like Black Sparrow Press, Grove and more recently Akashic. They take the kind of risks bigger houses aren’t willing to take. They publish the books that turn them on and sit back and wait for the big houses to come clamoring for their authors. The folks at 2DR only publish a handful of books a year but the ones they publish are always dark and on the edge. They publish the kind of books they’d want to read, and the kind of books that challenge the status quo."
Indie Publishing Houses (and Titles) to Look Out For
Publishing Perspectives, 2/8/13
'Overturning the "Lemonade-stand Culture of Literature"'
by David Duhr
"A budding literary movement." Article.
Thought Catalog, 2/13/13
4 Great Indie Publishers to Start Reading Right Now
by Alexander Kalamaroff
"Book for book, nobody beats Two Dollar Radio."
New Pages, 12/16/12
by David R. Matteri
"Two Dollar Radio prides itself on putting forth publications too loud to ignore, and Frequencies is no exception."
Lit Reactor, 5/30/12
by Joshua Chaplinsky
"Two Dollar Radio is more than just shiny artwork and sex appeal. Two of the biggest contributing factors to their success are their adventurous choice of material and their enthusiasm for the written word. Two Dollar Radio and their fellow indies are proof positive that you can achieve [...] success without pandering to trends. It may not always be a monetary success, but money's obviously not the main motivation here. Eric and Eliza Obenauf publish books for love of the game. And as previously mentioned, their passion for what they do is infectious." Article.
The Millions, 11/29/11
by Edan Lepucki
"Whether it be larger independents like Algonquin and Graywolf, or small gems like Featherproof and Two Dollar Radio, or university presses like Lookout Books... independent presses offer diversity to readers... These presses are run and curated by well-read, talented people, and they provide readers with the same services that a large press provides: namely, a vote of confidence in a writer the public might have never heard of. Smaller presses, too, enjoy a specificity of brand and identity that too often eludes a larger house." Article.
The Columbus Dispatch, 11/13/11
'Too Loud to Ignore'
Husband-and-wife team find following going against mainstream publishers
by Jeffrey Sheban
"Columbus is home to a small book publisher with grand ambitions... With an eclectic stable of first-time novelists as well as more-established writers, Two Dollar Radio (slogan: “Books too loud to ignore”) is gaining traction in publishing circles." Article.
The Brooklyn Rail, 11/2/11
by Benjamin Gottlieb
"[Two Dollar Radio] has released some of the finest works of contemporary fiction in the past few years."
Fiction Review: Seven Days in Rio
Largehearted Boy, 7/17/11
by David Gutowski
"A handful of publishers consistently amaze me, and one of those is Two Dollar Radio." Article.
Three Guys One Book
'Why We Love What We Do - Eric Obenauf, Two Dollar Radio'
by Jonathan Evison
"We love their editorial voice (authors like Josh Mohr, Rudy Wurlitzer, and Grace Krilanovich), we love how they do business, we love how they get behind their authors, and we love love love that they’re a family run shop." Article.
'#61, List of Independent Books and Literature Sites'
by Jasmine Chan
"Unabashedly independent and idealistic... Two Dollar Radio claims to publish “Books Too Loud to Ignore.” It seems Two Dollar Radio cannot be ignored either." Article.
Art + Culture, 8/10/2009
'Curator's Corner: Two Dollar Radio'
by Benjamin Gottlieb
"The fiction publisher has a great many tremendous titles to its young catalogue." Article.
by Michael Schaub
"[An] amazing indie press." Article.
The Rumpus, 6/2/2009
'Live From Book Expo America'
by Stephen Elliott
"McSweeney’s seems to be doing fine, along with Graywolf and Two Dollar Radio. People buy books from these publishers written by authors they’ve never heard of. Just because. When was the last time someone bought a Random House book because it was published by Random House?" Article.
The Stranger, 6/9/2009
'The Slow, Moronic Death of Books (as We Know Them)'
by Paul Constant
"It's easy to imagine that this collapse is a happy ending for publishing: Picture a world of small, good regional publishers like Two Dollar Radio, Seattle publisher Chin Music Press, and Akashic Books printing beautiful books with high literary merit and authors making good, honest blue-collar salaries (instead of grossly overinflated six-figure book deals). Frankly, that sounds like my dream industry." Article.
Los Angeles Times, 6/1/2009
'BookExpo America reveals an industry in transition'
by David L. Ulin
"But for independent publishers - from the midsized Grove Atlantic to the fiercely iconoclastic Akashic and the up-and-coming Two Dollar Radio - there was an air of possibility, the belief that the future was very much in play." Article.
Vroman's Blog, 9/24/2009
'Branding: The Future of Publishing?'
by Patrick Brown
"Two Dollar Radio has a very strong brand, publishing adventurous fiction across a spectrum of ideas rather than genres. They also understand the value of design, creating attractive books that look nice together in a set. Not coincidentally, they offer subscription packages on their website. They continue to be a model of how to start a small press and publish great stuff. In short, they don’t compromise." Article.
The Longest Chapter, 10/21/2009
'Dark, Gritty Books Too Loud to Ignore'
by Kassie Rose
"Eric and Eliza are young, smart, hard-working and visionary. And their publishing company, that originated in Brooklyn four years ago, isn't some idealistic lark. No matter the persistent, annoying clamor that print is going away, it's not going away and it won't go away because of independent publishers like the Obenaufs and Two Dollar Radio." Article.
Village Voice, 4/22/2009
'The Unlikely Triumph of Two Dollar Radio'
by zach Baron
"A trove of extremely weird fiction... aesthetically consistent, editorially adventurous, and manageably tiny." Article.
Details, Holiday 2008
by Timothy Hodler
"This tiny upstart has already produced an impressive array of subversive fiction." Article.
'Can Mom and Pop Operations Rescue Publishing?'
by Jason Boog Article.
Publishers Weekly, 5/5/2008
'50 Under 40'
by Lynn Andriani Article.
Times Literary Supplement, 6/15/2007
'Freelance' by Michael Greenberg
"[Their] list of authors is impressive. I marvel at [their] idealism."
Editorial Director / Publicity
Eric founded Two Dollar Radio with his wife, Eliza, and brother, Brian. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Millions, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Columbus Alive, and on The Billfold. In 2008, at the age of 26, Eric and Eliza (Editor's note: Eliza was 28 at the time) were included in Publishers Weekly's '50 Under 40' list, which spotlighted 50 individuals under age 40 working in publishing worth watching. He has received the Venable Herndon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He enjoys playing competitive basketball on the weekends. He is the writer and director of the Two Dollar Radio film, I'm Not Patrick.
Director of Brand / Copy Chief
Eliza attended New York University where she earned a Fine Arts Education degree. While there she met Eric Obenauf and discovered a shared taste in music, film, and literature. Shortly thereafter they married, founded Two Dollar Radio, and created an heiress and an heir: Rio and Maceo.
Active in the Ohio experimental music community since 1998, Mike Shiflet is a former member of Sword Heaven, Burning Star Core, and Noumena, and also ran the GMBY label until 2008. Utilizing guitar, laptop and analog devices, his solo work is a unique mix of noise, drone and melody. His most recent recordings for Type Records (Sufferers and Merciless) and Under the Spire (The Choir, The Army) received high praise from outlets such as NPR, Pitchfork, and The Wire. In addition to his solo work he is also guitarist for the drone doom band Asurya.
Production Assistant & Marketing
Molly is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she studied English. In addition to working for Two Dollar Radio, she also does research with The Appalachian Project, Ohio. Selected works have appeared in various personal notebooks, bathroom walls, and scraps of paper. Interests include good coffee, reading, cheap tacos, funky music, horror movies, and taxidermy.
Haley Cowans is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she majored in English, created a podcast, wrote a thesis about Joan of Arc and the gender binary, and won two awards for her creative writing. She currently works as a full-time bookseller. Her wheelhouse consists of medieval women, animated film, radio essays, and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Editorial & Marketing Assistant
Brett was born and raised in Cincinnati. He is a graduate of Ohio State University. After graduating, he did an AmeriCorps stint with Habitat for Humanity in Ithaca, NY. He plays in a band called Emily & the Complexes, and recently helped start a small, indie booking company called Outer Orbit Booking. He has a knack for pursuing multiple low-paying jobs. One day he will be a published poet and rock-star. And one day he will drive a motorcycle and get a tattoo.
John was born in Floral Park, NY. He currently resides in Brooklyn. John completed some four years of art school at FIT and appreciates the fact that he doesn’t limit himself to one medium or idea. However, acrylic seems to be his weapon of choice. In 2007 he joined Unruly Heir, creating unique prints, T-shirts, and brand illustrations that bestowed another dimension to his commercial work. John's illustrations graced every cover and accompanied each essay in/on Frequencies. His drawings are all over this website that you're at right now. His art has been shown throughout New York, and many other cities along the east coast.
Marketing Director Emeritus
Brian is one of the founding members of Two Dollar Radio, and initially handled foreign rights and marketing for the company. He lives in Detroit, Michigan.
Intern Hall of Fame!