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Bookshops unbowed by Jewel attack
01.10.08 | Catherine Neilan and Victoria Gallagher
UK bookshops have said they remain committed to stocking The Jewel of Medina if and when it is published in the UK, after an attack on the office and home of the publisher Gibson Square over the weekend.
UK publication of the book has been thrown into doubt after Alan Jessop, m.d. of Gibson Square's external sales agent Compass, said Gibson Square m.d. Martin Rynja planned to take some time out before deciding whether to continue with plans to publish the controversial historial novel. Jessop said: "He is in good spirits, but has put publication in suspended animation while he reflects and takes advice on what the best foot forward is." The book was due out later this month.
But booksellers spoken to by The Bookseller said they were unbowed by the letter-bomb and the threats from some extremists of further violence. Borders UK said: "We haven't changed anything about what we're doing. We will be going ahead and selling it." Amazon.co.uk also said it would be selling the title, while Blackwell's maintained its stance that it would let individual bookshop managers decide.
But Waterstone's struck a note of caution, saying that the safety of its customers and employees was of "paramount importance". The chain had earlier said it would let bookshop managers decide, but with publication unclear, it has now added: "We are currently talking to the supplier of The Jewel of Medina regarding the publication of this book. We cannot comment further until it is clear what the status of the book is."