Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Death of the Guidebook? Maybe Not

There's been a lot of buzz on the Net about changes in the guidebook industry. Moon Handbooks has been canceling titles, citing competition from Lonely Planet and the Internet, and some influential guidebook authors such as Robert Reid are saying their profession may be doomed. Online guides offer up-to-the-minute reviews and it won't be long until travelers will be looking things up on their mobile instead of a guidebook.

But is the guidebook doomed? This grizzled old traveler thinks not. As Reid himself points out, there's still room for an authoritative voice from a writer who has been everywhere in a destination, something few other travelers can offer. Moon author David Stanley adds that most websites are in fact advertising venues, and therefore not reliable. (He also blames poor planning and rigid templates for Moon's troubles).

I believe the guidebook will survive, but it will be a guide ebook, downloaded from the Net either for a fee or loaded with ads. Writers will have to update more often, so will need to live in the places they write about. The business is changing, no doubt about it, but there's still a market out there. It's notable that both authors have created websites to continue their guidebooks in the new format. Best of luck to them. I might just join you.

1 comment:

laradunston said...

I agree with you. I'll be joining you all too!