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Arcadia Books bought out of liquidation
22.10.12 | Lisa Campbell
Arcadia Books has been bought out of liquidation by photographer Basil Hyman, with its publisher Gary Pulsifer rehired. The independent press, founded in 1996, filed for voluntary liquidation on 25th September after printing firm CPI Books took the company to court over it unpaid debts.
John Dickinson the joint liquidator at CBW said: "The company was placed in liquidation due to historic problems, and we have now sold the company to a third party investor who wishes to exploit the back catalogue and has new and adventurous ideas for the company." The name Arcadia has now been bought by Hyman, who was introduced to Pulsifer by former Arcadia investor Piers Russell-Cobbs.
Pulsifer said the company suffered after he was forced to take time off, at the same as its Australia distributor in Australia, Tower Books, went under, impacting Arcadia's sales in its second biggest market. Pulsifer said he did not blame a cut in funding from the Arts Council in 2008 or the transition to digital for Arcadia Books Ltd's demise. Pulsifer told The Bookseller: "Obviously the market isn’t great at the moment, we have been affected but it is hard to say how we have been affected. Sales were going down but actually the digital side of things gave us an added revenue."
Over the past few weeks Pulsifer has been negotiating with the company's authors to re-sign them to Arcadia’s list. "I have to negotiate with each individual author and I have been in discussion with a considerable number, but on the whole I would estimate 70% or more will come over,” Pulsifer said. “It is a happy outcome to us, me and our authors, certainly, it is nice to have a positive ending where there could only be misery. So that is wonderful. Arcadia is 17 years-old so it is nice to carry on in the old form."
Kate Pool, general secretary of the Society of Authors, said it was positive that Arcadia had so quickly found a new buyer, but each individual author's case would differ. "It is very sad to see Arcadia go under because it was such a good publisher and had such a nice list," Pool said. "We are advising authors on where they stand, but it differs according to each particular situation, as different people will be on different contracts."
Regarding Arcadia’s new investor, Pulsifer said: "Hyman is a very cultural guy and he has an illustrated book list and he was looking for investment opportunities in the book trade." Hyman has two published books, The G-Plan Revolution with Steven Braggs and The Lost Album, which is a visual history of 1950s Britain. He is planning a further eight books, which will be published by Arcadia.
Arcadia is likely to re-launch around May next year, with the fiction list lead by Michael Arditti, and the non-fiction from Corinne Hofman with Africa: My Passion. Pulsifer said: "Arcadia will remain the same but I would like to make it a little bit more focused and publish books more quickly. We will be looking at other types of publishing further down the road, considerably down the road, like a popular culture list."