|photo: Dorothy Carico Smith
Few people go into the book business thinking they will make a ton of money. Most say they stay in it because of the other people they know who who stay in it. On Monday, we lost one such person, whom many saw as a true champion of the printed word.
Just three months after being diagnosed with cancer, David Poindexter died in his sleep on Monday at the age of 59. In 1998, using the proceeds from a lucrative printing business, he founded MacAdam/Cage, a boutique publishing company dedicated to the discovery of new narrative voices. One of the company's debut books, the memoir Infidelity by Ann Pearlman, landed the author on Oprah's couch.
MacAdam/Cage was on its way, plucking manuscripts from the slush pile and courting booksellers to handsell its books. Those booksellers made bestsellers out of many MacAdam/Cage titles including Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Erye Ward. After just two years in business, MacAdam/Cage acquired MacMurray & Beck.
But the recession nearly sank MacAdam/Cage, which eventually climbed out of four years of financial trouble that included being sued by unpaid authors, disruptions in distribution and having to let go of most of its staff. But Poindexter was determined to not declare bankruptcy during what he referred to as "The Troubles."
Just last year, MacAdam/Cage announced that it had paid back 80% of its debt and had the financing to cover the rest and continue its publishing program after a hiatus of two seasons.
"He did see it through," said Sonny Brewer, who was named editor-in-chief last year. "We did three more catalogues together." Brewer pointed to the MacAdam/Cage backlist and list of authors whose careers it launched (Michelle Richmond, Craig Clevenger, Stephen Elliot, Jack Pendarvis, Joey Goebel and Joeseph Di Prisco) as David Poindexter's legacy.
At the time of his death, Poindexter was negotiating the sale of the company, plans that his family said will continue, although no details were announced.
David is survived by his wife, Emeigh Poindexter, and two children, William Macadam Poindexter and Elizabeth Cage Poindexter. A memorial service is being planned. --Bridget Kinsella