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Are travel guides a thing of the past?

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Lonely Planet may stop commissioning printed content

Are printed travel guides on their way out? Lonely Planet recently laid off around 80 members of staff. An article in the Daily Telegraph highlighted rumours that the travel giant would stop commissioning printed content, although the company said these rumours were “categorically untrue”. The times are clearly changing.

AA Publishing last year said it was no longer commissioning printed guides. And trade publication The Bookseller revealed that the travel print category had declined by 41% in the last five years. The internet and technology have changed the way we do things like shopping, and e-readers have been growing in popularity.

But aren’t travel guides different? They are books that are dipped in and out of depending on particular location, or what kind of inspiration you’re looking for. But they are occasionally read like a book too – in airport lounges or on the plane, they are a great way to work up excitement about an upcoming trip or holiday.

At the same time, using mobile data on gadgets like smartphones remains fairly expensive, so using the Lonely Planet website or other online guidebooks is not an option for many travellers. So the rumours that travel guides are dying off seems to be incorrect at this time.

It would seem that readers of the Daily Telegraph agree too, with 85% of 433 votes in an online poll saying that travel guides remain a very useful research tool and just 6% saying they use travel guides online. Printed travel guides will be around for some time yet, it seems.

Direct Travel

[pictured: Sand dunes, Curonian Spit, Lithuania; photo by A.Varanka, courtesy Lithuanian Tourism]

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