A memoir by the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige sold just under 500 copies in two days this week, according to Silvertail publisher Humfrey Hunter, who pressed ahead with publication despite a warning of legal action.
A week before Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me by Ron Miscavige was due to be published by independent Silvertail, Hunter was warned against publishing the book by lawyers for David Miscavige, citing its “highly defamatory content”.
However, Hunter went ahead, telling the Guardian: “I’m very confident that if they were to sue, we would be able to successfully defend the book and its content.”
The book was published as planned on Tuesday (3rd May), and Hunter told The Bookseller: “I don’t know exactly how many bookshops are stocking the book, but I do know that I’ve had orders for individual copies from lots of shops, presumably on request from their customers, and these have been fulfilled. Across all editions, print and e-book, I’ve sold just under 500 copies so far, which given the book only came out the day before yesterday is very pleasing indeed.”
Humfrey also told The Guardian: “I’ve done a few Scientology books before and I’m always on the lookout for more. They sell pretty well, and no one else in the UK will publish them, I assume because of legal [issues]. So despite being a tiny publisher, I get a clear run at them, and I’m thrilled to have [Ruthless].”
Last month, Silvertail published an investigation into Scientology titled Going Clear by author Lawrence Wright, three years after it was pulled in the UK by Transworld. Silvertail also brought Bare-faced Messiah, a book about Scientology’s founder L Ron Hubbard, back into publication in February 2014.
In the US, Ruthless is published by St Martin's Press.