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Mossad Book Sells Fast; Stores Eagerly Await Shipments

September 14, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bookstores were swamped Friday with requests for a book about Israel’s spy agency that Israel tried to suppress, and stores that received shipments sold out almost immediately.

The publisher said originally it had received orders for 50,000 copies of the book, titled ″By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer,″ but this week that number had jumped to over 100,000.

″It is a recurring phenomenon that if someone wants to stop publication of a book, just the opposite occurs. Many people will read it who wouldn’t otherwise,″ said Roy Gainsburg, president of St. Martin’s Press, the publisher of the book.

A New York appellate court on Thursday lifted a ban on publication of the book that a judge had imposed the day before at the request of Israel. The country claimed the book could endanger its agents of its secret intelligence agency, the Mossad.

The book was written by Victor Ostrovsky, who says he was a Mossad agent for four years in the 1980s. He said in the book that Israel had detailed information about preparations for the bombing that killed 241 Marines in Lebanon in 1983 but gave the United States only a vague warning so that U.S.-Arab relations would be damaged.

The Associated Press called a sampling of New York City bookstores Friday and found most still waiting for their copies of the book. Managers said they had been swamped with requests.

″Every other call last night was a request for the book,″ said Jill Tardiff, general manager of a Doubleday bookstore on Fifth Avenue. The store has increased its order to over 500 copies, she added.

Four shops in the Waldenbooks chain said they had received shipments of the book and almost immediately sold out.

About 30 copies of the book arrived at a Waldenbooks store in the financial district Thursday afternoon after the appeals court lifted the ban, said Roman Schreiner, the store’s manager.

″We sold out this morning, shortly after opening,″ he said.

St. Martin’s had already shipped some 17,000 copies of the book to 1,500 stores and reviewers before Israel obtained a temporary order from state Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Dontzin barring sales.

Gainsburg, the publisher, said 30,000 copies of the book were shipped Friday that could not be sent out Thursday because of the ban.

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