Today, in one of my LinkedIn groups there was a message relating to a story about Google cutting Frommer’s loose from the world of print media. I first read the title of this on my smartphone, so I was anxious to get home to read the full story in LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I could not remember my LinkedIn password; otherwise I could have continued to read it while riding on the bus. However, reading bad news at home has its benefits; you are in cozy and familiar surroundings, which not only softens the blow a bit, it makes it a short walk for refrigerator-raiding for comfort food. This news was like anticipating a punch in the face when it is in slow motion; you can see it coming, yet you never fully anticipate the pain until that final moment of contact.
The first LinkedIn note sent me to a story in CNN Money, which you can find here. While reading this article, I discovered that they were tipped off by an article in Skift. Skift, I asked myself? I have read just about every travel publication in the English language dating back to the days when the only thing that was available was a hand typeset magazine produced only by monks who lived Swiss monasteries in the Alps. Even those had to be first translated from Latin to English before hitting the newsstands. Yes, I have a long and varied history with all forms of travel news. How did Skift fall from my radar?
A better question yet is how do all of these sites survive? There cannot be that much adverting money out there, especially when their own article about the demise of tour books addresses the downturn in tourism overall. All of that aside, if you want to go to the original Skift article, click here.
What seems to me as very unprofessional in business dealings today is the lack of courtesy. Skift reports “Starting with Frommer’s New York City With Kids, which can still be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in other bookstore inventories and was supposed to publish on February 19, the entire future list of Frommer’s titles will not see the light of day. Many of the authors attached to these 29 titles told Skift that they were informed by editors now working at Google that the books would not publish.”
That being the case, I have to count my blessings that the last book I contributed to was released in November, Frommer’s Europe 12th edition, just at the wire of Google shutting down Frommer’s. Payment was received as well as my ten complimentary copies. Thanks to the god of publishing, Arthur Frommer, who wrote the first guidebook to Mount Olympus.
Although, I can certainly share with you that the many other Frommer’s authors I have been in contact with were never told a thing about their future with Frommer’s or Google. All of us have only had speculation bestowed upon us. Google has even removed the shopping portion on the Frommers.com site. Miserable! Those were the days my friend, we thought they would never end.
Meanwhile the travel forums are abuzz with reports of iPads and smartphones being snatched from the hands of tourists trying to read a map while staring at a street sign. Little and large buggers zip by on motor bikes or fast scooters and do the ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ routine. Maybe just enough people will long for the days of nostalgia and demand tour books be printed again.
The first 2 books below are the ones I wrote; for all the other titles here, I wrote the Hungary chapter.