the  obolus  presslogo

Ferrying artists and authors back from the 19th and early 20th centuries


frequently asked questions


what is an obolus?

An obolus is a little silver coin. In ancient Greece it was commonly placed under the tongues of the dead so that they could pay Charon to be ferried across the river Styx to the underworld. The word is still used in French (verser son obole) and in German (seinen Obolus entrichten): if you pay an obolus you are making a modest contribution towards something. The Obolus Press hopes to render a small service to literature by bringing the works of defunct French and German authors to English readers.

why and when did you come into being?

Andrew Rickard, a translator and former in-house book editor, founded the press because he reckoned he could succeed where most publishers fail. It began in 2010 as a one-man show, operating from a slightly ramshackle house in Newmarket, Ontario. In 2021 the publisher moved up in the world and relocated to Montreal, Quebec.

do you sell e-books?

Not anymore. PDF editions used to be available for download on this web site, but customers preferred to buy hardcovers and paperbacks. Electronic sales accounted for less than 10% of annual revenue, so the game wasn't worth the candle. The publisher has therefore decided to abandon the digital marketplace and focus on creating objects of lasting value: proper, printed books. Scripta manent.

do you receive government grants?

The Obolus Press has never asked for, nor received, any external funding or tax credits. It relies entirely on book sales, specifically to beautiful people of discerning taste and profound erudition.

why are your prices in us dollars?

The press is in Canada but its books are often printed in and shipped from the United States, so prices are set in the same currency to limit foreign exchange risk.

do you accept submissions?

The Obolus Press only works with authors who have been dead for at least 70 years. If you can read this, you’re out of luck.