Embracing the future of travel guides
January 03, 2008
The New York Times must be reading our minds because just yesterday Todd and I were discussing the future of travel books, and today there's a great article about what travel guide publishers are doing to anticipate and incorporate changes in the industry. A few approaches mentioned in the article: Specialized guides are available online - you can get an entire guide to pubs and inns in the UK, without the other information available in more comprehensive guides. And, you can get a version that connects to the GPS in your rental car.
- Specialized guides are available online - you can get an entire guide to pubs and inns in the UK, without the other information available in more comprehensive guides. And, you can get a version that connects to the GPS in your rental car.
- Dorling Kindersley (DK) has made all of the content in its Eyewitness Travel guides available online at traveldk.com
- Lonely Planet plans to have all of its guides online in two years, but currently offers individual chapters available for download at a few dollars each.
- Several publishers allow web site visitors to create and print out or order customized guides. Others are getting their stuff into the backs of airplane seats.
"'We want to be in a position where, if the business suddenly collapses in five years, we have a plan -- unlike the music industry,' said Martin Dunford, publishing director of Rough Guides, which is part of the Penguin division of the media company Pearson, based in London."But that big IF isn't looming on the horizon at this time:
"So far, the digital media revolution has been much less turbulent for guidebook publishers than for record companies, which are fighting rampant online copying. Sales of travel guides, while flat in some traditionally stalwart markets like Britain, have been growing strongly in developing countries and in the United States -- despite a weak dollar, which has made overseas trips more expensive for Americans. Travel publishers sold 14.8 million books in the United States last year, up 11 percent from two years ago, according to Nielsen BookScan. Still, guidebook companies may have missed an opportunity on the Internet..."Check out the article. I know I'll be visiting DK Travel and Lonely Planet's web sites to see what I can do for a little trip I'm planning. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/03/business/media/03guides.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin