Sunday, July 24, 2011

A letter to a friend and nemesis

Dear Lonely Planet

My name's Jamie and I use Lonely Planet guidebooks. There. I've said it. I have problems with your books, as most people do, but you're the best of the bunch. I won't go into the way the information is often incorrect, or the way the maps put things in bizarre and wrong places making me cross half a city to find it's not there. No. I simply can't travel without you by my side. I've spent hours in foreign cities trying to find your books.

In Washington DC however I recently bought a Let's Go travel book as yours wasn't available and my god it was awful. 3 hours later I was in another book shop buying yours. It was the 2011 Canada version. 2011. That's like, now. OMG I thought. And've changed things. This makes me worried.

I'll confess, I hate change. The BBC have changed their news website umpteen times over the years and each time I swear I'll stop reading it. I'm travelling for awhile; I've bought at least 6 of your books in the past year so a new style kind of throws me. The changes are, admittedly, only small but it changes the feel of the book. And if it's a sign of things to come, if it's an evolutionary process...

Th first thing I noticed is you've stopped putting the place names at the top of the pages. It makes it harder to know where you're reading about. No longer can you just flick through.

I used to like the way the cheapest place to stay always came first - why the change? Very rarely did I stay anywhere except your first recommendation; I'm a tight arse. Now I have to read them all!

And where's the information pages gone? There's next to no...information on a general area or city. And I know there's lots at the back but in the individual sections you seem to have gone for style over substance a la the map references. Have you increased the font size??

That'a just the things I've noticed on an initial quick flick. I hope I don't find more.

All the best


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