Spotting a tourist used to be easy. Just look for someone toting around a travel guide. Today, vacationers are organizing their trips entirely online. All they need to carry with them is a smartphone to occasionally look up tourist attractions and navigate around town.
Travel guide publishers are in upheaval amid this new reality. Sales of guidebooks are down sharply as people instead turn to sites like TripAdvisor for hotel and restaurant reviews. The industry's decline was hammered home recently with two big developments.
The latest came Thursday with word that Google planned to kill the print edition of Frommer's, the travel guide giant it acquired last year. Google declined to comment, although Skift, a travel news site, reported that Google's editors had already broken the news to authors of some upcoming titles. Frommer's has long been a Bible for globetrotters, and its extinction in print, at least, would be a big loss for the travel guide industry. Google could continue to publish digital books under the Frommer's name and keep Frommer's website alive, however.