In 2012, Google acquired the rights to Frommer’s Guidebooks from John Wiley. The company decided to initiate a digital strategy to market the popular series of travel guides on the Google Books platform. A few weeks ago, Google announced that it was suspending the imprint and giving up on trying to make it work. Arthur Frommer announced today that he reacquired the rights to the entire series back from Google and will begin publishing new editions immediately.
Google issued the following statement about the entire issue, “We’re focused on providing high-quality local information to help people quickly discover and share great places, like a nearby restaurant or the perfect vacation destination. That’s why we’ve spent the last several months integrating the travel content we acquired from Wiley into Google+ Local and our other Google services. We can confirm that we have returned the Frommer’s brand to its founder and are licensing certain travel content to him.”
The first Frommer guidebook was written in 1957 with a self-published book called Europe on 5 Dollars a Day. It was an expanded version of a small travel guide he had written for American soldiers in Europe. With its emphasis on budget travel, it became an immediate bestseller and launched a guidebook company that became one of the world’s most recognized travel brands.
When Google announced it was suspending the travel franchise, authors had already submitted over 25 books that were slated to be published later on this year. It is yet unknown whether these will be transferred over and how the rights issue will work.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.