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Cheesy title wins dubious book prize

A HEAVYWEIGHT study of the future of soft cheese won Britain's annual competition to find the year's oddest book title yesterday.

"The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais," by Philip M. Parker won the Diagram Prize, awarded by trade magazine The Bookseller.

The runner-up was primate study "Baboon Metaphysics," by Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth.

Horace Bent, who runs the award, said Parker's volume was a surprise winner given the competition from racier-sounding finalists such as "Curbside Consultation of the Colon" - a medical manual - and hobby handbook "Strip and Knit With Style."

Bent was courting controversy in awarding the prize to Parker, who is not a conventional author but an American economist who has developed a computerized book-generator that gathers information on a topic and compiles it into a volume that can be printed on demand if a customer orders a copy.

Parker says he has used the process to produce 200,000 titles. Thousands are listed for sale on, including "The 2002 Official Patient's Sourcebook on Lyme Disease" and "Webster's English to Kiribati Crossword Puzzles: Level 2."

Parker's book - a 188-page study of the global retail market for soft cheese - is published by his San Diego-based company Icon Group and sells for a hefty US$795.

The Diagram Prize was founded in 1978, and the winner is decided by public vote.

This year's other finalists were "The Large Sieve and its Applications" and "Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring."


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