Frommer Watch: He’s Baaack

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Arthur_Frommer_Picture

It’s been a while since I did my last Frommer Watch, but it wasn’t without reason. It mostly had to to with the fact that for a while there it appeared there wouldn’t even be a Frommer’s anymore, at least not in the way we think of it today.

You see, former owner, publisher John Wiley & Son, had sold the whole damn thing (excluding Pauline) to Google, but thankfully Arthur then bought it all back eight months later after learning the internet giant was planning to mostly ditch the written content and simply integrate the digital content into Google’s local results. Then everything went quiet. Was Frommer’s going to start publishing again? If so, when and in what format? And was Pauline ever going to return my phone calls?

But there’s news this month coming out of Frommerville, including the future of the storied travel franchise. Now, six months after the whole buyback went down, 84-year-old Arthur and his daughter, Pauline, are announcing a relaunch of the series, according to the L.A. Times, with 30 new Frommer’s guidebooks on the way (some of which are available now), including updates to New York, Hawaii and London. There are also plans to integrate “newer budget-travel options like Homeaway.com and Airbnb.com,” as well as a new focus on providing opinionated advice from their seasoned authors.

“Arthur has re-envisioned his book series, but in a lot of ways it has come full circle to what he originally pioneered in the mid-1950s,” explains Frommer’s editor Jason Cochran. “While many mainstream guidebooks have become bloated, too expensive, and without a definable perspective, Frommer’s guides have been re-shaped to deliver what travelers have always needed.”

What about the onslaught of e-books and digital versions, ostensibly the reason many other guidebook publishers have experienced declining sales in recent years? Frommer’s plans to tackle this head-on. Not only are e-book versions available, but they are re-envisioning the physical size of the books themselves, as well as their pricing. “The [new] guides are 256 well-curated pages, plus a fold-out map. They’re also surprisingly inexpensive. They’re a little over $8 right now on Amazon, for example, or $10.95 cover price,” explains Cochran.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the new books and checking them out myself. But until then, Frommer Watch, and Frommer’s itself, lives on to see another day. To check out some of the new titles available now or to pre-order copies of unreleased versions, visit Amazon here.

By Matt Stabile

TheExpeditioner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Stabile Bio PictureMatt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at TheExpeditioner.com. (@TheExpeditioner)

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