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Guide book writers, a dieing breed, or a lieing breed?

Travel Forums General Talk Guide book writers, a dieing breed, or a lieing breed?

1. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

This subject has been boiling around in my head for a while now.

I have met about 4 guidebook writers in the last 3 years, and worked in helping 2.

If anybody missed the story of the LP writer who lied its here, and to be fair here is LP's response.

I know how much one particular writer was paid, down to the expenses and so on. It's an average salary that is nothing special. The job itself did yeild a few surprises. No new hotels, just update old prices. No new places, unless exceptional. were the two points that had me thinking what I always suspected. Someone acted on their behalf and covered a large region. They were paid, but only got a mention. The author rewrote the text as if they had been there.

Another guide book writer had a great blog in africa, detailing so much including prices etc. The editors destroyed it and when the book came out it was plain and boring. His work gone.

Then just recently when doing some research on my own articles on great travelers here when I stumbled on the personal blog of guidebook writer. They were just off to SEA where I am. I thought nothing of it. Then checked back a few weeks later. To cut a long story short they had never left the capital of this country. Instead they mentioned contacting contributors (bloggers, and local writers from that country) and living it up at a friends house for free. Hmmm.

I use a guide book. But never take what it says seriously, especially after going to a remote place myself and could see the writer of the book had obviously never been there. I use a giuide book because of the facts, sights, occasional hostels, prices guides etc. I don't get it specifically for the writing. Though LP does make me laugh at times, but then I prefer a novel for that.

Ok broad statement coming up but I think you get what I mean. In this day of blog sites, wiki's and self created guides is there a need for a guide book writer anymore?

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 20, 2008, at 11:50 PM by outcast ]

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 8y

Ok broad statement coming up but I think you get what I mean. In this day of blog sites, wiki's and self created guides is there a need for a guide book writer anymore?

At least for one silly reason there is: I prefer paper over the web :) Other than that, I tend to agree with what you write.

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 8y

Exactly my thoughts as well. I like books a lot, either travelguides, or travelbooks of writers like Paul Theroux. It just looks good on the bookshelves as well.
I use a lot of information on the internet actually before deciding where to go. After I decided I buy a guidebook. Sometimes, I even buy them because it is good to have an idea of how to get there and things to see, it just reads better than any blog in my opinion.

Speaking of LP: they copy a lot from previous editions, exactly the same text. And they also use the same text for different guidebooks, for example Philippines, South East Asia and Thailand or Malaysia or whatever. The health section start the same in any guidebook and just talks very shortly about they situation in a land. That is something I don't like at all.

Probably 1/20th of a guidebook is writen by a single person, as there are often more persons working on guidebooks and a lot of the info is outdated, the same as in the previous version or the same as in other country books.

If you look at it that way, they are doing a very good deal still selling lots of those books

4. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

Quoting outcast

Another guide book writer had a great blog in africa, detailing so much including prices etc. The editors destroyed it and when the book came out it was plain and boring. His work gone.

Such is the job of just about any unknown writer--even copywriters!

But I'd say guidebooks are called guidebooks because you're supposed to use them as guides--helping you get around a new place and discover the highlights as you learn to explore on your own. I always buy one, read it, pack it, then just about never take it out again. I've got the basics--the rest is yet to come.

5. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 8y

going for hours through a lot of web sites,mostly from the tourist offices of the country or citys I plan to visit is for me the way to create my own travelguide.
when I have only time to visit a part of the country why should I carry a whole book around me?
so I print the informations who are importend for me,leave the backside free for personal notes.
this makes it more convinient for me just having a few pages per day to take with me
every day and not always going trough page after page till I find what I'm looking for.
when I move on I mostly give my personal guidebook away or leave it at the hostal.