Lonely Planet plagiarism scandal

Last updated 10:16 13/04/2008

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Popular guide book giant Lonely Planet has suffered a severe blow to its credibility, with one of its authors admitting to plagiarising and making up huge slabs of his books.

Thomas Kohnstamm, who worked on more than a dozen guide books for the publisher, has even admitted that he didn't visit one of the countries he wrote about, saying he worked on the book about Colombia from his US home.

"They didn't pay me enough to go (to) Colombia," News Ltd newspapers reported him saying.

"I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating - an intern in the Colombian Consulate.

"They don't pay enough for what they expect the authors to do."

He also claimed to have accepted free travel, breaking the publisher's policy aimed at maintaining the independence of its authors.

Mr Kohnstamm's confession is a severe blow to Lonely Planet, considered a bible to travellers all over the world.

More than six million of its country guides are sold each year.

Lonely Planet has conducted a review of all Mr Kohnstamm's guide books, but says it has failed to find any inaccuracies in them.

 

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- AAP

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