Cheap Flights has made an excellent infographic about travel guidebooks. The graphic looks at the history of the guidebook, from its inception as travel manuscripts in the first century, to its online existence today. Nothing is mentioned about e-books, but I suppose travel guidebooks are much more webby, since people use social media and review sites to figure out where to go nowadays.
I also found it interesting that the graphic mentioned Frommer’s was the first to make guidebooks available as apps. The recent history of Frommer’s I think indicates the uncertainty of travel guidebooks in the digital future, but may also set a precedent for travel publishers to recommit and focus on building their brands. For those unfamiliar with what happened to Frommer’s last summer, Wiley, the publisher who at the time owned Frommer’s, sold Frommer’s to Google. Many people thought that Frommer’s would complement Google’s recent purchase of Zagat, and that Frommer’s content would help populate searches.
Then a few months later, in March 2013, Google quietly stopped publishing Frommer’s print books. And then in July, Arthur Frommer, the 83-year-old founder of the company, bought his brand back from Google. He’s starting up production and distribution of his print books again, and he said he expects to have 80 books out by end of 2014. The key may be to have a trusted brand with carefully edited content.
The Life and Times of the Travel Guide Book – An infographic by Cheapflights