Archive for Wednesday, March 27, 1991


March 27, 1991


Kansas University has sued a Prairie Village publisher seeking more than $10,000 in damages over a biography of Lewis Lindsay Dyche, the famed KU naturalist.

In a lawsuit recently filed in Douglas County District Court, KU accuses David Hudson, who operated Harrow Books, of breaking a contract to print 5,000 copies of the book, titled "The Dashing Kansan: Lewis Lindsay Dyche, the Amazing Adventures of a Nineteenth Century Naturalist and Explorer."

The book, which was writted by Lawrence residents Bill Sharp and Peggy Sullivan, chronicles the life of Dyche, who died 75 years ago and for whom KU's Dyche Hall is named.

The book tracks Dyche's field excursions across Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, as well as to the Arctic Circle.

Harrow Books has apparently gone out of business. The company's telephone has been disconnected and Hudson could not be reached by telephone today.

MEANWHILE, Philip Humphrey, director of KU's Museum of Natural History, said the museum has been able to get copies of the book printed and that the museum has "several thousand" copies of the book available.

"The book is alive and well," Humphrey said. "Harrow Books did an excellent job of designing and producing the book. For reasons I don't understand, they went out of business. But I feel a very strong personal commitment to the book itself."

He said the book was available in many area bookstores as well as at the museum.

In the lawsuit, KU says that on or about March 30, 1990, Harrow Books entered an agreement to co-publish the book with the museum. Harrow Books agreed to print and produce 5,000 copies of the book by Oct. 1. The agreement called for KU to put up $10,000 by May 1, 1900, and $5,000 on the date of publication.

The suit claims Harrow Books also agreed to perform all the normal functions of marketing, sales, order fulfillment, warehouse, shipping and billing.

THE FIRST printing was to be for 5,000 copies, of which 4,500 would be sold and 500 used for promotional purposes. The book was to retail for $24.95; the wholesale price was to be $14.97.

Harrow was to prepare sales statements on a quarterly basis. The publisher was to pay the museum its share of the sales receipts 30 days after the sales statements, at $3.99 per book.

However, by Oct. 1, Harrow Books had produced only 500 copies of the book, the lawsuit said.

The suit claims Hudson failed to provide sales statements and KU's share of sales receipts. KU estimates its loss from the sales of those 500 books at about $1,600.

However, KU says it has lost in excess of $8,700 for printing additional copies of the book to meet the requests for inventory.

KU also claims the publisher's actions have caused "special damages" and lost revenue because not enough enough books were printed to meet the demands of retail businesses.

The university seeks actual damages in excess of $10,000, and also for lost revenues, punitive damages "and for such other and further relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances."

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