Now! Buy the book Jordan's bookstores didn't want you to see!
Thanks to the embargo busting online superheroes at Jordanian bookseller Jamalon, the shameful year-long block of Olives - A Violent Romance in Jordan, the country the book is set in, is over. Olives is now on sale and available for anyone in the country to buy with FREE shipping.
The first ten copies are signed and numbered, too. Jamalon will be putting these on promo. On sale alongside them, at the same time as it launches in the UAE, Jamalon will also be selling Beirut - An Explosive Thriller.
You can find out more about Olives at the book's website, linked here for your link-following pleasure. It's about a British guy going to work and live in Jordan who is blackmailed by British intelligence into spying on the family of the Jordanian girl he's falling in love with. A lot of people have said kind things about it, which is nice.
Olives was originally prevented from going on sale in Jordan because distributors wouldn't handle the book - it never got as far as the government's censor. The one distributor who gave a straight reason cited the book's use of the Dajani family name in a fictional context:
"...it would not go through censorship as it mentions, although in fiction, the family name Dajani which is an existing family and all over the Middle East. they are of Jeruslamite origin, and quite influential. I therefore have to decline..."This here post over on the Olives blog explains all. After some silly talk about honour killings and a rather vibrant shitstormette on Facebook, the whole affair struck me as so ludicrous as to warrant no further effort on my part. And so things lay until Jamalon's CEO Ala' Alsallal and I got chatting a few weeks back and he basically waved his arms around and exclaimed, 'Tish and fiddle! They're fools. Of course we'll sell it!"
I knew of Jamalon from my involvement in ArabNet, where Ala' and his team presented two years back. I found their plans for taking the region's publishing industry to the 'e-age' exciting - and I still do. Jamalon's online bookstore is just the first step - the company now lists over nine million titles in Arabic and English and has tied up with Aramex to support regional shipping of books at competitive rates. There's a whole load more in the pipeline.
In the meantime, though, anyone in Jordan can now just point and click and, Hey Presto!, freely buy a copy of the book Jordan's traditional booksellers didn't want you to see.
So what are you waiting for? Click away! :)