1933: Thomas Wolfe submits a lengthy manuscript to Max Perkins at Scribner's. Having made Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel a hit by cutting out 90,000 words, Perkins (played by Colin Firth in the forthcoming film Genius) buckles down, groaning, and turns it into the still-vast but single volume Of Time and the River. Yet Wolfe stuns him again by leaving Scribner's.
1960: Mrs Max Schuster, a discriminating reader, peruses Harold Robbins's raunchy novel The Carpetbaggers and asks Max: "Is this the kind of dreck you want to publish at Simon & Schuster?" Afraid of her scorn, he lets the book (total sales more than 8m copies) and Robbins (best-selling writer of the 1960s and 70s) go elsewhere.
1972: Reclusive tycoon Howard Hughes gives a press conference by phone to denounce Clifford Irving's fake Hughes autobiography. Panic at McGraw Hill, which had paid $765,000 to Irving, most of it intended for Hughes but channelled back to Irving via a dodgy Swiss bank account.
1980. Buccaneering Roger Straus and bookish Robert Giroux, the odd couple who had made Farrar, Straus and Giroux America's most illustrious literary publisher, fall out over what Giroux says about Straus in his introduction to an anthology marking his 25 years at FSG. Their relationship never recovers from the tiff and the firm's heyday is over.
1984: Anita Brookner's glum hymn to spinsterhood Hotel du Lac is the shock winner of the Booker prize, leaving the publishers of the rival favourites, JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun (Gollancz) and Julian Barnes's Flaubert's Parrot (Cape), open-mouthed at the prizegiving banquet.