No, this isn't an Onion article.
Insure your book for £5m...in case it injures someone
An author has been told his book honouring First World War soldiers cannot be stocked by his local council unless he takes out insurance worth £5million.
Officials said Mark Sutton needed the accident cover in case the public injured themselves on his book - for example, if it fell on their foot or they got paper cuts.
The book has now been withdrawn from the Tourist Information Centre in Swindon until Mr Sutton stumps up the £150 insurance premium.
But he is refusing to pay, saying it goes against everything the soldiers whose bravery he details in his book stood for.
The 41-year-old, who has sold 1,000 copies of the £12.99 book since it went on sale last October, said: "It's crazy. I refuse to get the insurance.
"It's just another one of these silly Health and Safety measures and it has gone potty. You couldn't make it up."
Mr Sutton, of Swindon, added: "It's ridiculous. I didn't write the book for money - it's for the memory of the men who died and gave everything for us.
"I wonder what they would think if they were here to see their names couldn't be preserved just because people want to be greedy."
Mr Sutton spent three years researching the 300-page book, Tell Them Of Us, which is available in a number of outlets and also through Internet bookstores.
But Swindon Borough Council said he must take out public liability insurance to continue selling it at the town's Tourist Information Centre.
Officials claim regulations require all providers of any council services to have valid insurance, or the authority could be found liable and sued if an accident occurs.
Council spokesman Richard Freeman said the insurance was to protect against potential legal claims caused by defective products.
He acknowledged that the risk of injury was small in Mr Sutton's case, but said it was standard insurance industry practice, and all council suppliers must have cover from April 1.
"The problem here is not with the council but with a society that is becoming obsessed with litigation," Mr Freeman said.
"We have to cover for every eventuality - even if that is an accident caused by pages falling out of the book. Nobody is denying its a very small risk, but the risk is there."
He added that the council had now agreed to drop the level of cover for Mr Sutton down to £2 million.
Mr Freeman said: "The cover we require is normally for £5million but we are prepared to reduce this to £2million for smaller suppliers including Mr Sutton.
"The high number of claims made against organisations these days means no one offering any products or services for sale can afford to be without public liability insurance.
"Premiums are usually based on turnover and the level of risk, and can be as little as £150."
Lawyers are slowly causing the downfall of western civilization
If you drop the book on your foot, how is it defective?
If you get a paper cut, how is it defective?
A crying shame is a bus full of lawyers (and scum-sucking plaintiffs) going over a cliff.
A tragedy is if there are survivors.