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The Cincinnati Post

By: Carole L. Philipps
Post Living editor
February 5, 2000

A little book of love is taking Canada by storm, and it is available here in time for Valentine's Day if you hustle.

Romance by You, a branch of Book by You Publishing of London, Ontario, has created a romance novel that allows one to ''co-author'' a book by providing some 30 personalized characteristics to be inserted into the pages of ''Love's Next Door.'' Orders must be placed by Monday for delivery by Valentine's Day, said publisher Mike Pocock.

The personalization includes such things as heroine name, nickname, hair and eye color and favorite drink. It can be customized by including the heroine's best friend's name, a hero and a female villain. Co-workers and pets are fair game too. The heroine's name also is printed on the book's red-rose-bedecked cover and on its spine.

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The 140-page paperback, $29.95 plus $2.95 shipping and handling, can be ordered at the company's Web site,, where you can enter the information and send it to the publisher. You also can see three excerpts.

Or you can order by calling toll-free (877) 659-4844, in which case a sales representative will take the information. If you are calling, it is a good idea to make some advance notes about the insertions you want.

The story is romantic and funny. The leading lady longs for romance, the jacket says, but hasn't found Mr. Right. When she returns to her hometown, she is tormented by a comical neighbor who eventually wins her love.

Pocock, the 38-year-old publisher, admits that the company was a little overwhelmed by the surge of interest in the Canadian market, but it has rallied and is prepared to deliver in all of North America now.

The book would also make a bridal-shower gift or one for parents or relatives celebrating wedding anniversaries. Pocock reports that a woman from Florida whose husband is a Sharon Stone fan ordered one for hubby with Ms. Stone as the leading lady and the Mister as the hero.

Each book is produced by an on-demand printer. Pocock led the team that devised the computer program allowing the personalization.

The book was written by Christine Elliott of St. John, New Brunswick, and then Pocock and an editor vetted it - ''toned down the sex scenes and put in more humor. We wanted to make the book so you could give it to anyone,'' he told a Canadian reporter in December.

Pocock said he plans to add a series of novels under the Romance by You imprint. And he is starting a new division, called Children's Books by You, that will use the on-demand printing technology to deliver personalized children's books.

Reprint courtesy of  The Cincinnati Post

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