Vancouver-based D&M Publishers owes more than $6-million to creditors, according to documents filed to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada. Among those owed money are a number of authors, literary agents, printers, big banks and other creditors. A total of $6.2-million is owed to 143 creditors, with the biggest chunk – $2.4-million – owed to the Bank of Montreal, followed by $1.4-million owed to Manitoba-based printer Friesens Corporation.
D&M Publishers Inc., which includes the imprints Douglas & McIntyre, Greystone Books and New Society Publishers, filed for creditor protection on October 21 and is working to restructure. New Society Publishers is a separate legal entity and has not filed a notice of intention. New Society is owed more than $440,000, according to the document, and retired co-publisher Judith Plant, who sits on New Society’s editorial board and is also an author, is owed close to $220,000.
The company, Canada’s largest independent publisher, was established more than 40 years ago.
Carmen Aguirre, whose memoir Something Fierce won the last Canada Reads competition, is owed more than $59,000. Tuesday night’s Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, Will Ferguson, is owed almost $4,000. Other authors owed money include poet Lorna Crozier (more than $4,000) whose The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everything Things was published in September; National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis (almost $8,000); and Vancouver poet laureate Evelyn Lau ($1,000).
Money is also owed for projects by former CBC executive Richard Stursberg (more than $13,000), photographer Fred Herzog (more than $25,000) and Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij, whose company is owed more than $8,400.
Also owed money are the Art Gallery of Ontario ($2,790), the Vancouver Art Gallery ($4,527), and the Museum of Anthropology ($3,150).
The long list of creditors includes law firms, chartered accountants and government agencies, including Revenue Canada and WorkSafe BC.
D&M is working with financial trustees The Bowra Group to locate an investor or buyer for the company, and industry observer Rowland Lorimer says he expects that will happen.
“Douglas & McIntyre will not disappear; 100 per cent that’s my absolute prediction, that they will not disappear. If you look at the size of their debt, it’s not excessive,” says Lorimer, Director of the Master of Publishing program and the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University, and author of Ultra Libris: Policy, Technology, and the Creative Economy of Book Publishing in Canada.
“My estimate is that they’re about $2-, maybe $3-million dollars over the debt that they should be able to handle, and they’re at least a $10-million dollar firm. ... It is not such a big debt that it can’t be handled. You get somebody with energy and commitment and a bit of cash who’s determined to make it work coming in. I think we’re going to see an offer pretty soon.”
D&M officials are not commenting at this time.