Freight Books taken to court

Freight Books taken to court

Glasgow-based printing company Bell and Bain Printers has taken Freight Books to court over unpaid work dating back to the beginning of the year.

According to the Times, Bell and Bain Printers joins a host of authors and suppliers who have not been paid by Freight Books following the abrupt departure of director Adrian Searle in April. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard an action brought by the printers for unpaid work by the publisher last week.

The Times also revealed that four months before Searle left Freight Design, he had already established a separate company called Freight Books (Scotland) Limited. According to records at Companies House, that business was established in December 2016 and changed its name in July 2017 to Dalbeath Trading Limited. Searle is the only director.

Earlier this month, agents called on Freight Books to provide "transparency" about its financial status after it emerged its writers have not been paid for several months.

Agent Jenny Brown confirmed to The Bookseller that four of her authors were owed money by the publisher. She said it was a "heartbreaking situation" and that the trade is "still hoping that there could be a positive" outcome for the business. Another agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said two of their authors had been owed money by Freight for several months.

Gordon Wise, president of the Association of Author’s Agents, said at the time: “We’re deeply concerned about any publisher who doesn’t honour its contractual obligations to its authors, not least on the crucial matter of payment. My understanding is that (Freight Books) is seeking to delay payments due while the company is readied for sale. This is completely unacceptable – I don’t believe it is under administration, it continues to offer the works for sale, are in receipt of funds owing to authors, and are therefore in clear breach of contract. And if Freight [Books] is a subsidiary of another company [Freight Design], then that company surely has an obligation to honour those contract terms.”