Is it the end of the road for paper guidebooks?
Guidebooks are like a faithful companion you can rely on to give you advice you can trust. But with the rise in digital ebooks and mobile apps, will you change the way you read guidebooks in the future?
Guidebooks have been on holidaymakers’ checklists for years, but sales are on the decline. In fact, a survey in 2012 revealed that guidebook sales have dropped by almost 40% in the last five years.
In contrast, the digital revolution has taken the publishing world by storm, as Amazon reported last summer that Kindle ebook sales had actually overtaken their print sales. And let’s not forget mobile apps. With a host of travel guides available to download directly to your smartphone or tablet device, it’s possible to get up-to-date and even real-time location information at the touch of a button.
Journey’s end for the humble guidebook?
There’s no denying the appeal of the ebook reader for holidaymakers. They allow you to travel with more books than you could possibly read packed into a device of similar weight and size to a typical paperback book. But for me they have their drawbacks when it comes to guidebooks.
I love the simplicity of the traditional printed guidebook and the speed at which I can access the information I want. I also don’t have to treat it with too much care when it’s whipped in and out of my rucksack multiple times a day and even caught in the odd rain shower. And most importantly for me, I don’t need to worry about dropping or losing my printed guidebook, or even having it stolen.
I have similar issues with mobile apps. Again I can see the advantages, especially when it comes to getting up-to-date info. Some apps helpfully use your current location to get information about tourist sites, restaurants and hotels close to where you are.
Yet the drawbacks for me remain the same when it comes to security, loss and damage. Not to mention the additional worry about how much of a bill I might be racking up while using the 3G on my phone or iPad to access information remotely via the internet.
Guidebook fans still out there
It seems I’m not the only one who isn’t ready to give up on the printed guidebook just yet. We ran a guidebooks survey to find the top guidebook brands and found that nearly six in ten (59%) people had bought and used a printed guidebook in the last year, while only 8% had downloaded a travel guide app and 6% an ebook.
While I think there is a place for modern technology to enhance the travel world, I still feel print titles have their place. Do you think the printed guidebook has had its day? Would you rather travel with a paper guidebook or use an ebook reader, smartphone or tablet?
Do you still use paper guidebooks when you travel?
Yes, I use a paper guidebook (60%, 200 Votes)
Yes, I use a paper guidebook and travel apps (22%, 75 Votes)
No, I don't use any sort of guidebook (12%, 41 Votes)
No, I use travel apps or ebooks instead (6%, 15 Votes)
Total Voters: 336
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