|Meisha Merlin Publishing is the absolute worst small press in publishing today.|
Now I'm sure it's not their intent -- no one sets out to be the worst there is what they do. In fact, I think they had and still do have high aspirations. I've seen some of their Janny Wurts novels in Borders, and any small press breaking into the chain stores is a positive thing.
I just wish it were happening for a press that deserved it.
Meisha Merlin purchased the right to print George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series in the late 90's. (I'm not sure of the date, it's so far back in the mists of memory.) They announced that the series would be beautiful matching limited editions, crafted with acid-free paper and gilting, with satin bookmarks, in matching slip cases. The editions were to be sold for 250 dollars each -- hardly a drop in the bucket. Each customer had a right to expect a finely crafted book.
What we got was a decent book, but it was two years later than promised.
Ok, I can accept that. Shit happens. Do better next time.
The next volume was also two years later than promised. You don't read such expensive and collectible books, you place them on the shelf and wait patiently for the next volume. As soon as I placed A Clash of Kings on the shelf next to A Game of Thrones, I noticed that they did not match. A Game of Thrones was noticably taller and A Clash of Kings was vastly thicker, despite there being only 60-something pages difference in length. The slip cases were made of a different material. The font in the writing did not match.
I had spent 500 dollars on two books, and they did not even match.
So what next? I decided to look for other problems with this years-later-than-promised and unmatching tome. Upon looking at the signed limitation page, I noticed an editing slip-up that a drooling troglodyte would have caught while surfing for porn.
They never bothered to change the name of the book on the second volume.
If you'll notice in the picture, it says This edition of A Game of Thrones is limited to 500 copies.
This is not an edition of a Game of Thrones.
It is a 250 dollar copy of a Clash of Kings that was never glanced at by an editor.
Hell! They didn't even have to edit the actual text of the book -- the limitation page and the art are the only new additions.
Thankfully Subterranean Press has swooped in and saved all the GRRM collectors of the world from having to suffer through another Meisha Merlin travesty. They purchased the rights to the series from Meisha Merlin.
I don't know if George had anything to do with change, but honestly I could not be happier. Subterranean Press is the polar opposite of Meisha Merlin; they offer some of the finest books being made anywhere today, and they practice remarkable attention to detail.
So that's it, of course. I'd never be stupid enough to buy from such an incompetent publisher again, right?
You'd think so.
Then came the complete works of Robert A. Heinlein: The Virginia Edition from Meisha Merlin. I had mentioned it offhand to my wife, being a big Heinlein fan and lamenting the identity of the publisher, and sometime last year (2005) she went and subscribed to it for me as a Christmas gift. the first volume was to be out in plenty of time to have under the tree, they told her.
As I write this, it is April 11th, 2006, and the first volume has not yet arrived.
To add insult to injury, in December Meisha Merlin double charged my wife's debit card for mythical books that have not yet arrived. So during the holiday season, we had 300 dollars less than we had figured on. We made it through, but that is hardly the point.
Their solution to their unauthorized theft from my wife's card? "We'll credit it to next month. You won't have to make a payment until February."
Oh. Well. That makes everything better.