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Google sells travel guide brand back to founder

Julie Bosman (via NYT/ SMH) | July 15, 2013
When Google bought the Frommer's brand of travel guides last August, it was an unlikely union of old and new, of paper and pixels. It didn't last long.

"There's the availability of free information on the internet, and there's the fewer number of brick-and-mortar stores," said David Steinberger, the chief executive of Perseus Books Group. "But you can still have a very successful business if you have the right brand and the right content."

Travel guides have also failed to pick up the e-book sales that could compensate for print losses; reference books are still lagging far behind most othmer categories, especially fiction, in e-book sales.

Mr Frommer said he believed that in a time in which user-generated content is pervasive, there is also a demand for carefully edited information by a trusted source.

"I think there's been a reaction to the user generation source of travel information," he said. Most of the newly issued Frommer's guides will be written by freelancers who live in the cities they are reviewing - unlike online reviews elsewhere, which might be written by "people who have been to one hotel in Paris in their lives."


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