There's no sex, violence and only a little foreign intrigue in the book, "How to Select a Business Site," but Maryland Economic Development officials said they hope it will sell anyway.

Why? Because the book, published by McGraw-Hill Co. this summer at the suggestion of The Rouse Co. of Columbia, features the state's economic development efforts and describes the state's probusiness attitudes.

The book was started chiefly by The Rouse Co., which not surprisingly is praised in the book, and James O. Roberson who was in charge of new business development at the Rouse firm before he became Secretary of the Maryland Department of Economic and Community Development. State officials estimate it has sold about 8,000 copies in eight weeks. Roberson said that the state has bought several hundred copies to distribute here and abroad.

Attracting business has become big business, and now books are being added to big budgets and national advertisements as ways to promote a jurisdiction. The book was handed out yesterday at a press conference held by Maryland and Howard County officials to reiterate their past achievements in business development and to announce the opening of the Columbia Corporate Center, a three-building complex planned to have 280,000 square feet of office space when completed.

According to McGraw Hill sponsoring editor Robert L. Davidson, The Rouse Co.'s advertising agency approached McGraw-Hill with the suggestion for a book about the firm and its new town of Columbia about two years ago.

Reference to Rouse and the state's probusiness attitude are scattered throughout the 225-page book, which retails for $14.50. "It's a salesman for the state," Roberson said.

At the press conference yesterday, attended by Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes, Roberson said that to continue its economic development efforts, the state will conduct high-technology seminars next month in Frankfort, Munich, Stuttgart and Zurich to tell business executives there the possibilities of locating their high-technology firms in Maryland.

Representing the state will be specialists in labor, taxes, financing finding building sites, calculating costs of constructing new buildings and availability of labor in the area, Roberson said. And, he added, the book will be there, too.