By Dennis Abrams
Following on the news of BBC Worldwide’s sale of Lonely Planet to NC2 Media at a sizable loss, comes the news that Google will cease production and publication of printed guidebooks carrying the Frommer’s brand name.
Of course, this comes as no surprise to readers of Publishing Perspectives, for as we knew last year: Google only bought Frommer’s for the metadata.
But onto the news story: according to Skift.com, the last two Frommer’s books to come off the presses were guides in the “Day-by-Day” series devoted to Napa and Sonoma and Banff and the Rockies, both of which went on sale in early February. The last traditional complete guide to be printed was Frommer’s Florida in late December.
Starting with Frommer’s New York City With Kids, which can still be found in bookstores as well as in online stores, the entire “future list of Frommer’s titles will not see the light of day.” According to Skift, many of the authors attached to those 29 future titles said that they were informed by editors currently working at Google that the books would not publish.
Google purchased Frommer’s Travel and Unofficial Guides from Wiley in August 2012 for $22 million. The company would not speak to Skift regarding any plans for Frommer’s.
Skift noted that this is the time of year when Frommer’s catalog would contain over a hundred titles in multiple series, including best-sellers and big European titles that are usually published in the fall: none of these titles have been issued ISBN numbers or been assigned to past authors. Fodor’s, Frommer’s largest competitor, currently has its covers and pre-orders available at online bookstores.
There is one potential bright spot for those who love the feel of a printed guidebook. Google also purchased the Unofficial series from Wiley, including the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, one of the best-selling guidebooks in the USA And according to Skift, that series will remain in print.
Publisher and founder of the series, Bob Sehlinger, told Skift, “The Unofficial Guides will continue to be published in print and also be available as eBooks. The creators of the Unofficial Guides, Menasha Ridge Press, will enjoy greater autonomy and editorial control than under Wiley.”