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Farewell, Frommers: Google Closes Book on Travel Guide’s Print Editions

by Adriana Lee | March 21, 2013March 21, 2013 9:00 pm PST


It’s the end of an era. Maybe we should’ve seen the writing on the wall when Google bought Frommer’s last year to enhance its location and points of interest data, or when the bookstore vanished from Frommer’s website in September. But nonetheless, we’re still bummed that Mountain View has officially decided to nix the print editions of these beloved travel guidebooks.

Several upcoming titles were stuck in the pipeline, and unfortunately many, if not all, of them will never make it out. Frommer’s “New York City With Kids” — which interestingly still appears on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s inventory lists — was slated to release on February 19. As of yet, it still has not launched. Some writers were told their books were held up pending new contracts, while others were informed outright that their deals had been canned. The few lucky titles that made it out before the end came include two Day-by-Day guides for Napa/Sonoma and Banff/the Rockies (released in February), and the last installment of the standard, complete guide series, “Frommer’s Florida,” which went on sale at the end of last year.

Google bought Frommer’s from John Wiley & Sons Inc. last August, to help flesh out local information alongside another lifestyle resource, the restaurant-review juggernaut Zagat, which the company acquired in 2011.

For generations, ever since Arthur Frommer first dished budget tips on European travel in “Europe on $5 a Day” (1957), Frommer’s has been one of the bestselling travel guide series in the U.S. Countless travelers and backpackers have relied on the print editions, and some still cling to these paper books, even as online alternatives took off. After all, connectivity can be scarce or even nonexistent on the road and abroad, and not everyone plans every detail of their trips in advance. Sadly, we won’t be able to rely on Frommer’s in these instances any longer, at least not for new or updated information.

So goodbye, old friend. You were an awesome travel companion while you lasted.

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...