Revenge is a dish best served cold, with a side of literary hash.
Tim Waterstone, owner of the book chain bearing his name, has weathered some fierce financial storms of late. Sales have declined, profits have dropped, expenses have climbed, and he had to sell out before everything he'd built up had tumbled down.
He's an angry man indeed, still fuming years after his chain of book stores was taken over by WH Smith and later EMI but it's all a tangled web of buying and selling and take-overs that you'd need a scorecard to keep track of the players.
Mr. Waterstone is getting back at those who did him wrong. His first novel in ten years is due to come out in September, and already people are suggesting that the thinly veiled characters in the novel are readily identifiable.
According to pre-publication rumor, Mr. Waterstone put his enemies in the novel, where he could parody and mock them to his heart's content. It's all fiction, after all, so no one can sue him for libel.
In the pages of a novel, he gets back at those who foiled his attempt to buy back the Waterstone book chain after EMI merged with HMV and the new company's focus was distracted from the traditional book business. Sales within the British publishing industry will be huge, fueled by a curiosity to discover who's in the book and how they are portrayed. Sales to the general public will be boosted by the buzz. A book that lifts the veil on the publishing industry? Gotta have it.
Authors have gotten even with their enemies through literature since mankind first started telling stories. With Tim Waterstone's solid platform as a mover and shaker in the industry he's writing about, he can expect a very good return on his investment.
Those who are parodied in the pages of his new novel, however, will have to grumble in private. It's all fiction, isn't it?