Salman Rushdie's publisher is bringing out a paperback edition of "The Satanic Verses," his supporters said Thursday.

The new edition by Vintage, a division of Random House, will be the first paperback by a mainstream publisher of the novel, which brought down an Iranian death edict on Rushdie in February 1989.The book, first published in hardback in 1988, caused an uproar among Muslims around the world, who contended it insulted Islam.

The Indian-born Rushdie, a naturalized Briton, has lived largely in seclusion and under British police guard since Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini proclaimed the "fatwa," or death sentence, offering a bounty of $2 million.

Random House refused to comment Thursday about any paperback plans. But a member of the Salman Rushdie Defense Committee, a London-based support group, confirmed to The Associated Press that a British paperback was in the works.

"It is in the pipeline, but it is not coming through for about three weeks," committee member Frances de Souza said.