Book sales for Sir Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses have surged after the author was stabbed at an event in the US last week.
The contentious 1988 book, which was considered blasphemous by some Muslims, rose to number eight on Amazon’s chart of most-sold fiction books of the week and was sold out by other booksellers.
The sales spike appeared to be somewhat driven by readers showing solidarity with Sir Salman, who has been the target of death threats for decades including a fatwa, over the book.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the sold-out paperback edition of the book was the No. 2 bestselling book on Amazon’s Contemporary Fiction and Literature chart and the audiobook version held the No. 14 spot on Audible.
A verified reviewer wrote on Amazon last Friday: “Bought in solidarity with Mr Rushdie.
“No one should be physically attacked for the words they write.”
The paperback edition of the book was also temporarily out of stock on the websites for Barnes & Noble and Bookshop.org, a marketplace focused on independent booksellers.
It comes almost a week after the 75-year-old Indian-born Briton was airlifted to hospital and underwent hours of surgery after being attacked on stage in Chautauqua, New York state last Friday.
Sir Salman was stabbed about 12 times in the face and neck, according to local officials, and has been taken off a ventilator but suffered “life-changing injuries”, his son said.
The Satanic Verses was banned in 1988 in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Iran.
Some of the scenes in the book depict a character modelled on the Prophet Muhammad which was met with anger from some members of the Muslim community, who considered it blasphemous.
In 1989, Iran’s then leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on Muslims to kill the author.
The book was burned around the world and translators of the work were attacked. Sir Salman has received decades of threats and lived in hiding for many years.
The Satanic Verses remains banned in Iran and a number of other countries.
The man who allegedly stabbed Sir Salman, Hadi Matar, 24, has denied charges of attempted murder and assault.
Speaking from Chautauqua County Jail, Matar told the New York Post that he doesn’t like Sir Salman and said he “attacked Islam”, adding that he only read a “couple of pages” of The Satanic Verses.
He would not say if he was inspired by the late ayatollah, citing a warning by his lawyer.