Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Monday, 14 April 2008

Lonely Planet Author Claims He Faked His Research

The publishing world has been rocked by several cases of bestselling books that turned out to be false, from plagiarized novels to fake memoirs of the Holocaust. Now it's Lonely Planet's turn. Prolific LP author Thomas Kohnstamm says in his recent memoir on life as a travel writer that he plagiarized or made up parts of the dozen books he wrote for the company.

Now LP is lashing back. In a rebuttal, they say they've fact-checked his books and have found no major errors. They also said his claim that he researched the Colombia guidebook from San Francisco was "disingenuous", because he was only hired the write the history section.

So which books did Kohnstamm fake, the guidebooks or his memoirs? This is the only case I've heard of where an author came forward to admit he faked something, so this smells a bit fishy, like it's a PR ploy. But it does highlight a fault in the publishing industry in general and the guidebook industry in particular--virtually no book is fact checked by anyone other than the author. Neither of my two guidebooks were. It's a good thing for my publishers I'm too proud to plagiarize or make things up!

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