farewell Meisha Merlin

Well, it appears the rumors were true.  We’re losing another genre publisher.  Here’s the official statement from Meisha Merlin:

Dear Fans,

I am sorry to say that due to major distribution problems Meisha Merlin Publishing, Inc. will be closing their doors in May 2007. Both Kevin and I along with the entire staff here at Meisha Merlin want to thank all our fans, customers, authors, & artist for your support over the past eleven years. We are sorry to have to do this, but events beyond our control have forced us to make this decision.

ATTN: For those of you who have purchased The Virginia Edition. The Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust has worked out an agreement to continue publishing The Virginia Edition. You can expect a letter from them within the very near future & volume seven will be arriving to you in late May or early June.

I wish them all the best of luck and hope that all their authors find new homes for their projects quickly.  Nice to hear that the Virginia Edition customers will not have orphaned collections.

  -Neil

7 thoughts on “farewell Meisha Merlin

  1. stegoking says:

    First of all, this is WONDERFUL news. Meisha Merlin was a company that did not deserve to survive. This is karmic justice. This is the way things are supposed to be in life.

    If this were to occur to any other small press, I would be stricken. Sub Press? Heartbroken. Night Shade? Grief-stricken. But Meisha Merlin? Pop the champagne.

    They ruined the ASoIaF limited series, and now they’ve ruined The Virginia Edition. (Doubtless, it will change and NOT be a matching set like we were promised.)

    The ultimate collector’s editions of George R.R. Martin and Robert A. Heinlein….. ruined by this sorry excuse of a company. The only sad part is their lasting blemish on these editions.

    Meisha Merlin was a company of liars and thieves. Their customer service was non-existent…

    Their ONLY office worker went on maternity leave and left emails unanswered for MONTHS. No phone number for service was available. They overcharged my credit card by hundreds of dollars. They misprinted and left text out of 250 dollar editions. They did not even copy edit. The LIMITED SIGNED page of a 250 dollar book had the WRONG BOOK TITLE.

    They were YEARS late with their books.

    YEARS.

    The quality of their work was reprehensible. The materials used were inferior. Their layouts were ugly and poorly done. Their matching sets did not match.

    My only wish is that they had never started. They could not fold quick enough. I hope this is due to people canceling orders due to inferior quality and unfulfilled promises. I hope the owners are in debt to their eyeballs.

    This is a happy day for book collectors. I happily defecate on Meisha Merlin’s grave.

    Not that I have an opinion or anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stegoking, I’ve seen your complaints about Meisha Merlin, in particular concerning your aborted subscription to the Virginia Edition, as posted at I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away the Ending last year. We’ll see whether the Heinlein Prize Trust, whose idea the VE was, really does continue the set with another publisher, as is implied in today’s going-out-of-business message at the MM site: “The Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust has worked out an agreement [with whom?] to continue publishing The Virginia Edition.”

      We can assume, I think, that the VE was undersubscribed and that this played a role in the demise of MM, whether this demise was deserved or not. But the set would be expensive for ANY publisher to produce – two binding choices (cloth or leather) requiring two sizes of slipcase for each volume, etc. – and therefore, unless more subscribers can be added the series may not continue, no matter who the future publisher is. So the question becomes whether the Prize Trust and/or its new publisher can better sell the series and increase the subscriber base. And, whatever the merits of the books produced (six so far), MM never seemed able or willing to do what was needed to gain more subscribers. This would have been the case even if the initial start date had been adhered to. Specifically: In the nine months since the first volume was shipped, MM never posted images of the outside or inside of a VE book – and who on Earth would spend upward of $2200 on books without seeing the font choices and page design?

      • wyrmadmin says:

        I think these kind of assumptions will run rampant for a while. If the series was undersubscribed, why would another company want to take it on? We could go on even more about the financial issues. A new publisher would want some of the subscription money, if it still exists. I think we’re just going to have to wait and see.

        Any guesses as to the identity of this mystery publisher? I have a couple of thoughts.

        • Anonymous says:

          As to the identity of the publisher – ostensibly it will be… what’s left of Meisha Merlin. Subscribers received this last week:

          Dear Virginia Edition subscribers,

          This e-mail is to give you a quick update on The Virginia Edition.

          As many of you have heard Meisha Merlin Publishing, Inc is closing their
          doors at the end of May 2007. This in no way affects your subscription to
          The Virginia Edition. When we started The Virginia Edition there was a
          second corporation created Meisha Merlin RAH, Inc. This corporation, along
          with the Heinlein Trust, is who produces The Virginia Edition.

          Kevin & I are meeting with the Trust later this week and I will be sending
          you an e-mail early next week to update you with the information from that
          meeting. Book #7 is now ready to go to the printer and books #8 & 9 are in
          the layout & proofing stages.

          Sincerely,
          Stephen Pagel
          Meisha Merlin RAH

          I am taking this with a very large grain of salt. The VE was the Prize Trust’s idea, and given the very bumpy history of the last 2 years since the set was announced, the trustees must regret having gone with this publisher. Perhaps, despite this, the Trust is contractually bound to continue by whatever agreement was made to create the separate corporation MMRAH. Anyone know more?

    • wyrmadmin says:

      We’ve discussed MMP before and you know that I had my own criticisms about the quality of the ASoIaF limited editions. I’ve never seen the Heinlein books, so I can’t comment on those and won’t even speculate on their future until we have more details.

      I still think it’s sad though. Several authors had books on contract with them and are now back to square one. The other books will go out of print and at least one of their authors has stated that they don’t expect to see any royalties from here on out. At least two that I am aware of had taken boxes of books in lieu of payment due to them.

      A bright spot in this comes from another one of their authors. I found this posted this on a forum: I “could not say one word publicly because the editor wanted to make sure all the writers had their rights back first.” Whether or not this is legally viable (they didn’t say they were filing Chapter 11, but if they are this could be questionable) it shows at least some attempt to do something good for their authors. I have to admire that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, well, best of luck to Lee & Miller, Robert Asprin, and the rest. But now I will actually consider their books. I and many others would not touch anything published by MM.

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