He explained that he had gone to another shop nearby - they had Whitewash, but when he said he also wanted to buy the Windschuttle book, they said something like "we don't stock books like that!". The customer said he appreciated the fact that we were prepared to carry books representing both sides of the argument.
I hadn't really thought about it before, but I do like the fact that we had those books, and the fact that we carry plenty of books on the Holocaust as well as Mein Kampf, and the fact that we have plenty of books on religion by believers, but also books like Why I Am Not a Christian and Why I Am Not a Muslim.
I don't think booksellers are by nature any less intolerant of other people's viewpoints than anyone else, but I think it's important that we try to be as tolerant as possible during working hours - writing and reading books is a great way to conduct a debate, and it's important for our community that these debates take place. I for one am proud that I can say that some of the work I do contributes to to making this country a more thoughtful, tolerant and stimulating place to live.
Which is why I'm happy to be selling Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth. When someone of Professor Plimer's standing feels strongly enough about a subject to write a 500-page book with over 2,000 footnotes, I think we should all have a look at what he has to say. And if even as I write these words someone is feverishly working on a response to the good Professor, all I can say is - bring it on!
And I'm happy to announce that Professor Plimer will be visiting Abbey's on Tuesday 12th May between 3:30 and 4:30pm to sign copies of his book and chat with anyone who wants to discuss the pros and cons of his arguments! Dave