iBooks Lightbulb Burns Out

I’ve heard from several authors with deals at iBooks that the publishing company, which was run by the late Byron Preiss, has declared bankruptcy and is folding. This puts many upcoming releases in doubt and quite a few authors I know are very worried about the status of the rights to their unpublished books (not to mention if they will ever see the royalties on their past titles for the company). It’s sad news all around.

10 thoughts on “iBooks Lightbulb Burns Out”

  1. I was wondering when they were going to fold. All that I’ve seen of this publishing house in both the new and used book stores, were offerings by Max Allan Collins.
    Two years ago, I bought the excellent “Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe” that introduced me to Robert Crais and I always wondered if they were going to have more like it coming down the pipeline.
    It seemed like this house never lived up to its potential, or at least up to its marketing potential.

  2. Wasn’t Winterwolf one of those POD operations?
    iBooks published a lot of “name” authors… like Roger Simon, Harry Kemelman, Robert Bloch, Stuart Kaminsky, Loren Estelman…though mostly in reprint editions of older work.

  3. A year and a half ago Kate Stine asked me to write one of my company/publisher profiles for Mystery Scene Magazine of iBooks and interview Robert Preiss. He was impossible to get through to, and when I finally did, we scheduled an interview and I had to cancel and try to reschedule (a bad mistake, and my reasons, in retrospect, probably weren’t all that great, but oh well…). It was impossible to reschedule and the piece never got done. It also apparently ended my relationship with MSM, but we all have to make decisions in our career and I suppose that was one of those situations. Preiss was sure hard to get hold of though. Kate at the time wondered if iBooks was having some problems. The fact they’re only now bailing suggests they had some juice left.

  4. …Loren Estelman…
    I probably have half a dozen Amos Walker books from iBooks lying around – very handsome books they are, too.
    BTW, “Philip Marlowe” was a reprint from 1989, with a couple of new stories.

  5. Man, that’s bad news. I just got an e-mail on Tuesday from a Japanese agent inquiring about reprint rights on the Bogart book I did for iBooks. I guess that deal’s down the tubes before it even got started.

  6. I hate to disappoint you, Mr Winter, but a reversion-upon-bankruptcy clause is illegal and doesn’t get you your rights back. Under the automatic stay of the Bankruptcy Code (11 USC § 362), the instant the bankruptcy papers are filed everything becomes the property of the bankruptcy estate, and the bankruptcy estate can only get rid of assets with the Trustee’s specific approval.
    At present, all rights with iBooks are tied up in In re Byron Preiss Visual Productions, Inc., No. 06-10299 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.) and In re iBooks, Inc., No. 06-10300 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). The earliest that any rights can be resolved is on 04 April 2006, when the § 341 meeting of (large) creditors is currently scheduled—but that meeting is often rescheduled.
    What all this means is: Patience, young grasshopper. In the fullness of time the fate of your novel shall become apparent. In the meantime, worry not about past harvests, but about the next harvest.


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