I’ve traveled a bit in my time and I never go anywhere without a travel book, but sometimes I end up buying more than one because each travel book has its own strengths, and, of course, its own weaknesses. Lonely Planet, one of the better guidebooks on the market, is using digital technology to address those issues by allowing customers to create their own guidebook. Starting with its Latin America guidebooks, users can download free chapters and access others for a fee between $2 – $5. The idea is that if you are going to visit Belize and Guatemala, then you don’t need the chapters for Panama and Costa Rica. The cost for the individual chapters is based on the overall cost of the book, meaning that you aren’t getting charged more money to make your own copy.
I think this is a genius idea and an innovative use of digital ebook technology. Since going live in July, there have been over 13,000 downloads of individual chapters of guidebooks.
This is another area in which music has led the way. You used to have to buy the entire album and now you can buy just one song at a time. Buying chapters of guidebooks or research books (priced right) is also very consumer friendly. Hopefully television will follow the ala carte mentality as well.
Via Publishers’ Weekly.