Lonely Planet denies end is near for iconic travel guides after job cut announcement

Discussion in 'Book, Movie, DVD CD Reviews' started by brian_bkk, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Mar 30, 2010
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    Even the good old Lonely Planet (GT Rider mention below) is changing to keep up with the modern digital age..


    Link to story below

    by Nina Tietzel
    Updated 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    PHOTO: Lonely Planet books are the go-to travel guide for many travellers. (Laurent Fievet: AFP)
    MAP: Australia
    After announcing a series of job cuts, Lonely Planet has denied its iconic blue-spined travel guides may soon go the way of cassettes and video tapes.

    The world's largest travel publisher last week announced "a series of changes to its operations in response to a challenging external environment and to position the company for continued success".

    Lonely Planet's chief operating officer Daniel Houghton told the ABC "somewhere around 70 to 80 roles worldwide" would be cut, with the majority of job losses in Melbourne.

    The company's guide books have been a staple in the luggage of many savvy travellers - shared around and pored over in bars and hostels from as far afield as Timbuktu to Baku.

    According to Mr Houghton, fears of having to bid farewell to hard copy guides are unfounded.

    "We are committed to our guidebooks and have no intention to cut our guidebook lists beyond normal management of our publishing list," he said.

    But many travellers remain concerned about what the company's announcement may herald.

    Since news of the staff cuts broke, #lpmemories has been trending on Twitter.

    Sad news; I've found these books indispensable over the years. #lpmemories @ToaFraser
    "So many #lpmemories I can't chose (sic) one. A large part of my young adulthood just died." @mradio
    "Say it ain't so!! Have full shelf - got one for every place I've been "Is this goodbye to Lonely Planet? #lpmemories" @HealeyGwen
    'New operating and content model'

    The job cuts follow the recent acquisition of the Lonely Planet by NC2 Media - a company based in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States.

    It was previously owned by BBC Worldwide.

    Mr Houghton, who is the executive director of NC2 Media, says he cannot specify how many positions will be affected in Melbourne until the company has finalised efforts to redeploy staff.

    "We have created a number of new roles both in London and in Melbourne," he said.

    "Any staff impacted globally by the proposed changes and who have the requisite skills to match the role requirements, will be encouraged to apply for redeployment for roles both in London and Australia."

    Mr Houghton says the company remains committed to maintaining operations in Australia, but will implement "a new operating and content model" that will include print and digital offerings.

    "Our authors remain a critical part of the fabric of Lonely Planet, but we will take advantage of other content sources, such as community and social media, to cater to the changing consumer demands and to allow LP to combat the growth in low cost or free alternatives," he said.

    Changing travel literature landscape

    With Wi-Fi easily accessible in most countries, more travellers are opting to carry lightweight tablets and e-readers.

    Online forums such as Tripadvisor and the Lonely Planet's own Thorn Tree Forum - where travellers exchange tips and reviews - have also gained in popularity.

    They have the advantage of offering access to information that can be continuously updated.

    As with other citizen-generated web content, there is no guarantee that the author has actually travelled to the reviewed destination, nor that a review is not written for commercial gain.

    "People everywhere are filling up the digital space with words and blogs," said Beverley Malzard, the president of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

    "A lot of them are very good but some of them are just lightweight vanity projects. Travel writing has to be based on true and accurate information."

    Ms Malzard says the changing reality of publishing in the digital age means companies everywhere have to adapt.

    "What's happening at Lonely Planet is happening everywhere. Digital aspects of publishing are growing and evolving," she said.

    What's happening at Lonely Planet is happening everywhere. Digital aspects of publishing are growing and evolving.
    Beverley Malzard, President of the Australian Society of Travel Writers
    Nevertheless she says there will always be a place for professional travel writers.

    "Good writing will survive, as long as it inspires, entertains and informs," she said.

    Lonely Planet was founded in Melbourne in 1972 by travel writers Maureen and Tony Wheeler.

    It has grown to become the world's most successful travel publisher, with editions printed in nine different languages.

    At the end of June 2013, the Lonely Planet employed 399 staff globally.
  2. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    Oct 17, 2006
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    The BBC lost a total of £251million on the Lonely Planet fiasco
  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Dec 27, 2007
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    Lonely Planet was invaluable when I first came to Thailand as a backpacker years ago, but yeah, I can see that even backpackers are all carrying tablets these days so paper media will certainly remain under pressure.
  4. nikster

    nikster Ol'Timer

    Nov 7, 2007
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    They're screwed. It's the same old story - new media replaces old media. LP has so much content and so much information they could rule the new media with ease; they could go on phones, tablets, etc. But even their website kinda sucks (or did the last time I checked). On a recent trip to HK I actually downloaded LP "ebooks" - it was ridiculous. I was able to purchase the ebook for HK on their website, even if it was a bit pricey. But it wasn't an ebook, it was actually 10 different PDFs to download. Got the PDFs onto the phone but the format made the whole thing unusable, no search, no location awareness. A waste of money in the end.
  5. H Simpson

    H Simpson Active Member

    Sep 30, 2012
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    I bought an iBook version. Totally useless really the paper book would be easier to navigate. Such a shame as a digital version has so much more potential.

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