Lilliput apologises for unauthorised digital sale of Mannix Flynn books

Author had cut link to publisher

Lilliput Press, Stoneybatter: sold Mannix Flynn works online without right to do so

Lilliput Press, Stoneybatter: sold Mannix Flynn works online without right to do so


The independent publisher Lilliput Press has apologised after inadvertently selling books on Kindle without having the rights to do so.

The publisher, due to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year and which recently produced a Booker Prize long-listed writer in Donal Ryan, has said the error was down to the digitising of its back catalogue during which an expired copyright was overlooked.

Founder Antony Farrell said he apologised “profusely” for the error and had undertaken to “scrutinise” the rest of some 500 titles currently being converted for online sales.

The books in question were written by the artist and politician Mannix Flynn and deal largely with the legacy of institutional abuse in Ireland.

Nothing to Say and James X were both published by Lilliput in 2004 but Flynn bought back the remaining copies and ended the relationship shortly afterwards. He says he is considering legal action.

Flynn only found out about their ongoing availability when he was contacted by a reader from the US saying they had enjoyed his work on Kindle.

Honest mistake
Mr Farrell told The Irish Times it was an honest mistake and that, once he was contacted by the author, the titles were immediately removed from the Amazon website. “I apologised profusely but he wasn’t having it,” said Mr Farrell, who added that, due to the nature and scale of online book sales, the amount of royalties due would be small, approximately €100.

But he said: “He will of course be paid. We had presumed he would be happy to have it available. I should have written to him [but] I didn’t.

“Hands up, it’s my mistake. I am very happy to do whatever is necessary to fix that mistake.

“We are a literary press. We don’t make a lot of money and we try to do right by authors.”

James X won the best new play category at the 2004 Irish Times/ESB Irish Theatre Awards and Flynn said he felt aggrieved at it being sold online for a year without his knowledge or consent.

Flynn ‘furious’
“I went online and looked at Amazon and there it was: I was furious,” he said.

“I said to them, ‘I am not under contract with you and this is theft. We have written to Amazon to ask them to take it off their site because it’s illegal copyright theft. Some authors sign a contract that allows a publisher to also sell them online but I never signed one of those contracts.”