LIQUIDATORS are in last ditch talks with buyers to save the acclaimed Freight Books as dozens of authors face uncertainty over rights and royalties.

The publishing arm of Glasgow-based Freight appeared to plunge into crisis after co-founder Adrian Searle quit in April and the firm is now described as officially being under the control of a provisional liquidator.

Read more: Troubled Glasgow publisher Freight Books plans sell-off, authors warned

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One Freight author said she believed most of the writers would be "glad to be free to move on" after months of uncertainty and as authors are confident they would secure rights to their work.

However, questions over royalties and advances remain over Freight books, many of which are highly acclaimed.

Co-founder Davinder Samrai has repeatedly moved to reassure writers their contracts would be honoured.


Above: Irvine Welsh

The future of the firm, which lists Irvine Welsh and Janice Galloway among its authors, came under scrutiny when Mr Searle left the company citing "differences over strategic direction".

In June the sale of the book division was advertised on the Publishing Scotland website for an “investor or a buyer”.

Ian Wright of WRI Associates was appointed Provisional Liquidator of Freight Design (Scotland) Limited.

In a statement it said that "whilst the company is not formally in liquidation it is now controlled by Mr Wright, who has confirmed that all (six) employees' contracts have been terminated".


Above: Janice Galloway

"The company provided marketing consultancy and also publishing services under the brand 'Freight Books'.

"Its difficulties appear to have stemmed from issues relating to the publishing arm."

Read more: Troubled Glasgow publisher Freight Books plans sell-off, authors warned

Writer Merryn Glover, also published by Freight, was quoted in The Guardian as saying: “My sense is that the majority of Freight authors are glad to be free to move on."

"Freight had a reputation for the quality and originality of its titles, so the good news is that all those books will still be available by other means and all those authors can now be snapped up by other publishers."

Another award-winning author Helen McClory, whose novel Flesh of the Peach is published by Freight, said: “This means I now have the rights to my book back, so I remain hopeful for its future."

Mr Wright, managing director at WRI Associates, said: "I am aware that there are many authors who are concerned to understand what is to happen with the rights to their books.

"I am currently in contact with several parties who had previously spoken to the company about acquiring some, or all, of the portfolio of titles.

"I hope to be able to establish whether a sale is a possibility and will clarify the situation for authors as soon as possible."

The company took over Glasgow rival Cargo Publishing two years ago.

Read more: Troubled Glasgow publisher Freight Books plans sell-off, authors warned

It has published fiction, poetry, non-fiction and humour and it is the home of multiple award-winning authors including Ms Galloway, Dilys Rose and Kirstin Innes, while Trainspotting author Mr Welsh is listed as a contributor in the futuristic IDP: 2043.

Mr Samrai was not available for comment but said in an earlier statement that he was keen to "reiterate and reassure all our authors and their agents, as well as others with whom we work within the Scottish publishing community, that Freight Books is committed to meeting all our contractual obligations".

Mr Searle said earlier it is "with much regret I have decided to leave the business I own jointly and resign as a company director to pursue other interests".

The publishing arm of Freight Design received around £234,000 in grant cash in the last seven years.