The inside scoop on the book world -- A new edition of ''The Princess Bride'' hits shelves, Henry Holt buys ''The Liberation Trilogy,'' and parodies are hot

By Clarissa Cruz and Matthew Flamm
Updated January 15, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST
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Solid Goldman
Though the movie based on William Goldman’s abridgment of S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride was released more than 10 years ago, Goldman’s book is more popular than ever. Ballantine issued a 25th-anniversary hardcover edition of the fairy tale last November (along with Goldman’s never-seen first chapter of Bride‘s sequel, Buttercup’s Baby) and currently has 30,000 copies in print — outselling the 1973 version. ”I was shocked, absolutely shocked,” says Goldman. ”I’m not a fan of my own writing…. I have no idea why this took off the way it did, and it’s very surprising and very terrific.”

War Is Swell
History is hot again: With Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line Oscar front-runners — and with Scott Rudin having paid $2 million for The Emperor’s General, former Navy secretary James Webb’s upcoming novel about World War II — Henry Holt has joined the fray. The house paid a rumored high-six-figure advance for The Liberation Trilogy, a three-volume collection on the Allied campaign in Europe to be written by Rick Atkinson (The Thin Gray Line). ”The baby-boomer generation is getting older…. It’s a time when looking back is important,” says Holt publisher John Sterling. The first volume is due in 2002.

Crewd Awakenings
Forget Airplane! When it comes to parodies, the book industry provides a safer bet than Hollywood — with lower production costs than movies and no need for expensive star talent, almost anyone can poke fun in print. Some just-out examples: Cadogan’s The Travellers’ Guide to HELL (a spoof of travel tomes, complete with descriptions of underworld hot spots), Andrews McMeel’s The Official Beanie Basher Handbook (which includes suggestions on how to ”retire” your Beanie with a wood chipper), and MTV Books’ Beavis and Butt-head’s Chicken Soup for the Butt (inspirational musings, many of which contain the word suck). Not to mention recent catalog/magazine put-downs like The J. Pretension Catalog, J. Crewd, and Vague. Why are copycats so ubiquitous? Says Cadogan publicist Jane Reilly, ”People think it’s hilarious.” Huh-huh.

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