April 24, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Duck and cover-up

Why is Doubleday trying to shield Elizabeth Wurtzel’s nipples? The comely author’s left areola appears strangely absent from the nude jacket photo on her new book, Bitch, but cover designer Mario Pulice insists that the photo wasn’t altered in any way, even though Wurtzel admitted at Doubleday’s recent Bitch fete that she assumed the image was retouched to avoid offending prudish retailers (already pushed to their limits by that title and the hoisted middle finger). ”I’ve been wondering myself. I’ve just been telling people that it’s really small,” says Doubleday’s Brian Mulligan, who designed the book’s interior. ”Elizabeth doesn’t have nipples,” quips her editor, Betsy Lerner. ”I don’t know why everyone is afraid to talk to you about this,” responds Wurtzel.

Monster Mash

There will be only one Godzilla tie-in book this spring when the blockbuster remake opens, and that’s the way Toho wants it. The Japanese studio, which owns the rights to the fire-breathing monster, has been granted a preliminary injunction against William Morrow, which had planned to bring out Godzilla! The Complete Guide to Moviedom’s Mightiest Monster. Toho claimed the title would interfere with The Official Godzilla Compendium, which Random House is bringing out under a licensing arrangement. Judge Dickran Tevrizian of U.S. district court in Los Angeles agreed, finding that Godzilla!’s plot summaries conjured up ”vivid images” that fell outside what’s considered fair use under copyright law. He also held that ”unauthorized” wasn’t inscribed boldly enough on the front cover. Morrow declined to comment, but the book’s author, Frank Lovece (who has contributed to EW), says: ”We offered to cut the plot synopses down drastically, but the judge refused to issue guidelines. He even refused to say how big ‘unauthorized’ would have to be.” Lovece adds that his book includes accounts of on-set accidents and a mass firing by Toho in the ’70s. Says Toho lawyer Sheri Porath: ”This [ruling] sends a strong message to people who might take what’s ours and not pay for it.”

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