So You Thought Travel Guidebooks Were Dead? Guess Again

In today’s digital world, a imitation chronicle of a transport manual competence seem to be a dinosaur. Surprisingly, though, some-more than $124 million was spent in a USA on transport guides final year.

That’s a 5 percent boost over 2016 sales and an denote that sales of transport guides are on a miscarry after a prolonged decline, according to consultant Stephen Mesquita, who compiles transport beam information and published the 2018 NPD BookScan Travel Publishing Year Book.

Sales of printed transport guides forsaken some-more than 40% in a USA from 2005 by 2011 before stabilizing, he says.

“2017 was a best year for a sale of printed transport guides in a U.S. marketplace for over a decade,” Mesquita says. “Since 2012, a decrease has intended off as a core marketplace of roving consumers has come to comprehend what printed guides can offer as partial of a information brew that is permitted to them.” 

Travel guidebooks were on arrangement during Più Libri Più Liberi, a book satisfactory for tiny and medium-size publishers, in Rome, Italy, in December. (Photo by Simona Granati – Corbis/Corbis around Getty Images)

Lonely Planet has stood during a No. 1 mark in U.S. sales given 2012, when it supplanted Frommer’s during a top, Mesquita says. Frommer’s fell from a tip position, he says, after a association was sole to Google, that bought a guidebooks essentially for their calm and didn’t tell updated hard-copy editions. In 2013, Frommer’s owner Arthur Frommer bought a rights behind from Google, and Frommer’s has renewed hard-copy sales.

Avalon Travel, which publishes array by Moon and Rick Steves, ranks No. 2 in U.S. sales, followed by DK, Fodor’s and Frommer’s, according to Mesquita.

European destinations were “the large winners” in transport beam sales final year, he says. Guides for European  destinations or African countries nearby a Mediterranean Sea captured 21 of the 25 fastest-growing sales slots final year.

Besides entertainment sales information, we creatively hoped, for this article, to examination several manual brands and suggest that ones supply a best transport information. But, after reviewing a books of several brands, we satisfied that all a brands yield copiousness of profitable information for travelers. Judging that code is a best competence take years of investigate and fact-checking, and a decisive finish still competence not be reached. we also satisfied how formidable it is climax one code a altogether champion, given a code could have a some-more judicious or extensive book about finish X, while a aspirant could have a some-more judicious or extensive book about finish Y.

Although we am not providing recommendations, we should mention, for full disclosure, that we published dual lines of transport guidebooks as an eccentric book packager for Fodor’s and Frommer’s in a 1990s. Those guidebooks are not being published anymore; a dual brands were sole to conflicting primogenitor companies given we published my dual series,  and we have no business connection with, and accept no royalties or income from, possibly brand.

After determining not to privately rate a brands, we instead contacted Avalon Travel, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet and DK and asked them to explain what sets their books detached from their competitors. DK did not respond; here are a other brands’ responses.

Donna Galassi, associate publisher of Avalon Travel:

“Avalon Travel has dual successful transport beam series: Rick Steves and Moon, and a few transport guides that are not partial of a series. Within Rick Steves and Moon, we have sub-series. Avalon guides are a conflicting of one distance fits all. We gaunt into a finish and ask what of kind of practice does this finish offer a traveler.  Avalon’s idea is to assistance travelers make memories, as good as consider what information is needed. Our brands and particular titles have one thing in common: consultant authors. We cite authors who live full- or part-time in a destination. We like writers with life knowledge to share. Our authors are teachers, historians, filmmakers, surfers, foodies, musicians, divers, campers, photographers and many some-more things.”

Doug Stallings, editorial executive of Fodor’s:

The web allows travelers to devise and expect their travels in extraordinary and useful ways, though a proliferation of paid, planted, and unvetted reviews and calm online creates it unfit to know who to trust. You can trust us. All Fodor’s reviews come from a writers and editors rather than from unknown users, and businesses can't compensate to be listed in a guides. We embody establishments in a guidebooks that are endorsed by locals and vetted by transport experts. We concentration a coverage on a best — not indispensably a many — recommendations. We trust that it’s time for travelers to stop spending hours researching destinations. We’ve finished a work. Unlike a competitors whose writers fly in to write about a destinations, many Fodor’s writers indeed live in a places they cover. Fodor’s guides typically have some-more contributing writers per finish than a competitors, that leads to a some-more different operation of perspectives and recommendations.”

Pauline Frommer, editorial executive of Frommer’s:

“Frommer’s guidebooks are read, primarily, by an American assembly and, distinct some of a competitors’ books, are really many geared toward that population. Unlike European, Australian and Kiwi travelers — a market for some of a competitors’ guides — U.S. adults take a comparatively tiny volume of vacation time per year. When they get out and see a world, they wish to know what will be many value their time. Toward that end, we inspire a authors to be rarely opinionated, revelation readers what to skip and what will be a inestimable use of their profitable vacation time. We need that they do this with adequate fact to concede a reader to tailor a outing to fit his or her possess tastes.  Our books are not meant to be comprehensive though curated. They are built to beam a reader to a many authentic, refreshing transport practice possible. American travelers tend to be utterly cost-conscious, so we embody accurate pricing in a guides and persevere a lot of space to cost-saving tips for transport in all cost ranges, from bill to high end.” 

Darren O’Connell, Lonely Planet’s product executive of guidebooks:

“At a heart of a guidebooks is a infallible transport information from a hundreds of consultant writers and on-the-ground researchers who revisit any destination. We are also unapproachable of a permitted pattern of a guidebooks with good images and maps to assistance travelers daydream a finish before they go and find their approach around. Lonely Planet is one a few publishers to tell updated guides to increasingly renouned destinations like Sri Lanka and Antarctica. In further to carrying 95% of a universe covered, we also have several manual array to fit each form of traveler: ‘blue-spine’ guides for longer stays and some-more in-depth exploring; Discover guides for easy planning; Pocket guides for brief city breaks; Make My Day guides for discerning channel building; Shoestring guides for budget-stretching, cross-continental journeys; Trips guides for removing divided from traveller centers or exploring one’s possess backyard, and inhabitant parks and activity guides for outside transport plans.”

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