Many readers of Rule of
Reason and other blog sites know me best by my novels, especially the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia
in the pre-Revolutionary period. This seven-title epic series has been
published by MacAdam/Cage of San Francisco since 2001.
But, no more.
Without going into the many
details of the contentious and often acerbic relationship I have had with the
publisher, MacAdam/Cage, over the last thirteen years, I have determined, after
arduous time- and energy-consuming investigation, that the publisher is no
longer in existence. The California Secretary of State’s records report that
the company has been “merged into another company,” whose identity is
not noted in that department’s records. The founder of the company, David
Poindexter
, died of cancer on April
29th
, this year. The surviving principals of the company subsequently
vanished, or, rather, have rendered themselves incommunicado for months, and have
not acknowledged or responded to queries whether by email, telephone, or regular
correspondence by me, by other authors published by MacAdam/Cage, or by anyone
else.
The Better Business Bureau of
Oakland, California, across the Bay from San Francisco, has reported that MacAdam/Cage
has not responded to my complaint about a breach of contract and nonpayment of
royalties earned from either the printed books or the e-book versions, and
otherwise cannot be contacted.
There is evidence that MacAdam/Cage
and its British affiliated company, MP Publishing, which published the Kindle
or e-book versions of the Sparrowhawk
series, are now mere “shell” entities under which the surviving
principals are hiding.  
In 2011, dissatisfied with MacAdam/Cage’s
failure to market the series, and with its overall dilatory behavior, and because
of delayed royalty payments, which the firm was contractually obligated to pay
twice a year, together with providing a royalty statement, I published the
series on Amazon’s Kindle program. About two months later, and much to my
surprise, I was informed by MP Publishing that I was in violation of contract, because
MP Publishing had purchased the e-book or electronic rights to the series. This
was news to me, not having been informed by MacAdam/Cage that it had sold those
rights to the British company in 2009. I took down my Kindle versions of the
series. I later learned that MacAdam/Cage had sold the e-book rights to MP
Publishing of its entire backlist of titles, presumably to raise cash.
While I knew that MP
Publishing’s versions of the series were being sold on Amazon, my premise and
justification for publishing my own versions were that MacAdam/Cage had already
breached the three contracts I had with the firm, so leave was on my side, not MacAdam/Cage’s.
MacAdam/Cage had made some
disastrous business decisions, among which were the costly bidding contest with
a major mainstream publisher, Random House, for the publication rights to
Audrey Niffenegger’s bizarre novel, The
Time Traveler’s Wife
, which contest MacAdam/Cage won, and the publication
of other novels which did not begin to recoup the costs of their publication. Niffenegger
received a stupendous advance from MacAdam/Cage for her novel. She later
abandoned MacAdam/Cage for another publisher who paid her even more for the
rights to her future books.  
The Sparrowhawk series, however, has been a steady seller ever since
publication of the first title of the series in 2001, but MacAdam/Cage over the
years had never made but token and amateurish attempts to advertise or market
it.
So, to make a long and
depressing story short, based on the evidence that MacAdam/Cage and MP
Publishing have in effect relinquished the publication rights to the Sparrowhawk series, I have reinstated my
Kindle versions of them and also plan to republish the series as
print-on-demand books. I am making this move because, in answer to a request to
Amazon to remove MP Publishing’s Kindle versions of the series, Amazon replied
in the affirmative and will be culling those titles from all its venues.  Here is the text of the notification from
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, dated August 6th, 2013:
Dear
Edward,

Thank you for your message.  Please be advised that we are in the process
of removing the following Kindle titles from all Amazon sites:

Sparrowhawk 1 – Jack Frake ASIN: B002WC95IC
Sparrowhawk 2 – Hugh Kenrick ASIN: B002WC95IM
Sparrowhawk 3 – Caxton ASIN: B002TG443C
Sparrowhawk 4 – Empire ASIN: B002YD7VIU
Sparrowhawk 5 – Revolution ASIN: B002YD7VJ4
Sparrowhawk 6 – War ASIN: B002U0M5FQ
The Sparrowhawk Companion ASIN: B002U0M4UW
Sparrowhawk – Trilogy 1 ASIN: B003LY496I

It typically takes 2-3 days for a listing to disappear once it has been removed
from our catalog. We trust this will bring this matter to a close.

Best Regards,

Regards,

Anne Tarpey
Kindle Direct Publishing

All the cited titles are MP
Publishing versions. They have already been replaced by versions published by
the Patrick Henry Press, that is, by me.
And that is the end of that.