Islington-based art and culture press Black Dog Publishing has gone into liquidation, with creditors owed more than £700,000.
Founded in 1993 by director Duncan McCorquodale, the business filed for bankruptcy, along with its sister company, Artifice Books, in early January. Trading at the company was officially terminated on 5th January and all 22 employees were made redundant, The Bookseller understands, although the website remains live at the time of writing.
McCorquodale is understood to have appointed an insolvency company, Leonard Curtis, on 19th January. The firm said Black Dog's creditors are owed £784,445.
Among the creditors are HM Revenue and Customs, to which the company owes almost £50,000; Islington Council, which is owed almost £7,000; 22 employees, who are owed more than a month’s wages; and a number of international printers.
In a letter to creditors sent by the liquidator and seen by The Bookseller, McCorquodale attributed the failure of the business to multiple factors, including having to move offices due to increasing rent in October 2017. The business moved from 10a Acton Street in London to 308 Essex Road in Islington, and problems associated with this move "severely affected" the short term cash flow of company, the letter said.
The departure of several key members of staff also hit the company, along with pressure from H M Revenue and Customs to pay tax and national insurance contribution arrears.
Several members of staff at the publisher, who asked not to be named, told The Bookseller the firm had struggled to pay employees on time since spring 2017, with wages being paid late for several months during 2017.
Invoices from printers also went unpaid for "months on end", the employees said, with printers and image agencies refusing to work with BDP on account of overdue invoices.
One former member of staff added: "Although many books were ‘completed’ in-house in recent months, barely a handful of them were actually printed, due to the financial situation — with staff put in the unhappy position of having to mislead clients about the status of their projects. In recent months staff have also witnessed visits from debt collectors and unpaid tradesmen, the latter of which made violent threats."
The Bookseller has made several attempts to contact McCorquodale for comment.