rough guide

Mystery Amazon listing for Rough Guide to Sex attributed to 'Doug E Style'

Author of official book taken aback by appearance of copycat title with 'naughty Viz ring'
The Rough Guide to Sex, as attributed to 'Doug E Style'.
The author and publisher of The Rough Guide to Sex are scratching their heads over a mystery title of the same name purportedly written by one Doug E Style.
The doppelgänger book appeared on Amazon in May 2009, seven months before James McConnachie's title – which is a blend of social history and manual published by the Penguin-owned Rough Guides imprint – was launched. Although the Doug E Style title was listed on Amazon and other books websites, it is not available for purchase, and there is no reference to it on the website of Artnik, the publisher Amazon accords it to. The listing has been removed from the Amazon site in the last 24 hours, but at the time of publshing this story could still be found at a number of other online booksellers.

"[It's] such a mystery," said McConnachie, who admitted to enjoying the "naughty Viz ring" to his rival's pseudonym. "I confess I have no idea what's going on, and if this is part of a bigger thing or just a one-off. Is it a rogue Amazon employee? A discontented editorial assistant? A hacker? The best part of the joke for me is that, pre-publication, Amazon's system had it ranked above my own, relatively real book."
McConnachie had considered using a pseudonym for his own book, which took more than three years to write, but decided against it. "I thought about it, just because the topic of sex gets so quickly turned into ribaldry and innuendo in this country ... and I wanted to spare myself the endless jokes: 'the research must have been fun' - that kind of thing," he said. "I also thought about using a pseudonym to protect books I may do in the future from forever afterwards being referred back to this one – people seem to get so weirdly entranced by sex. But then I decided that I was bloody well going to write a book that I'd be proud of, so I wanted my own name on it." A review in the Observer this weekend called it "much more an intelligent compendium than a porn-inspired smut-fest", praising McConnachie's "good-spirited, intelligent approach".
A spokesperson for Rough Guides said the publisher was looking into the Doug E Style issue. "It did make us chuckle [but] essentially someone has used our name and brand, and that's our copyright which is quite a big deal," she said. "It's quite flattering that someone thought it was a great idea for a book but obviously we'd prefer that it's books we endorse that have our name and brand on them."
The publisher believes the Doug E Style book itself is not real. "As far as we are aware, this book doesn't exist," said the spokesperson. "It is not listed on the Artnik website. We can't imagine they ever intended to publish this book as there is no way they'd get away with using the Rough Guide brand. So did they put it up for a joke? Or to interfere with our book sales? As the publisher of the real Rough Guide to Sex we apparently can't do anything about taking down this entry even though it doesn't exist, because only the publisher can remove it."
Rough Guides said the next step would be to contact Artnik about the issue. Artnik, which describes itself as a popular culture publisher, did not respond to a request for comment.



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