January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

You’ve Got Mail, Nora Ephron’s romantic comedy about a children’s bookshop owner at war with a big chain, has set off a scuffle in the independent bookstore world. The American Booksellers Association, the formal organization to which most booksellers belong, likes the film. ”We felt it put the story out there and showed the independent bookseller having knowledge of its books, close ties with its community, and impeccable customer service, and the chain stores as focused not on books but on business,” says the ABA’s Len Vlahos. But online columnist and former San Francisco Chronicle book-review editor Pat Holt, who covers the industry as an advocate for the independents, says Ephron ”should have shown how [chains] are using illegal discounts, under-the-table deals, and predatory practices to knock [independents] out of business.” Ephron thinks the film ”makes clear what a tragedy it is when an independent bookstore closes,” adding ”I don’t believe chain stores are entirely the devil.”

Judith Krantz, queen of the sex-and shopping novel, has written a memoir, tentatively titled Moonlight Cocktail — but it isn’t being repped by her longtime agent, Mort Janklow, whom she’s just ditched for ICM’s Esther Newberg. ”There’s no ill will about it at all,” says Janklow, who explains that the split occurred over the holidays, when he turned down Krantz’s request that he read the memoir right away. ”I read books for a living, and when you take a holiday that’s not what you want to do,” he says. According to one publishing insider who’s read the manuscript, Krantz complains about Janklow throughout the memoir, claiming ”he didn’t pay enough attention to her, didn’t wine and dine her, and wasn’t grateful that she helped build his business.” Krantz couldn’t be reached, and Newberg declined to comment.

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