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Google buys Frommer’s Travel Guides

John Wiley & Sons work to sell off unwanted assets as Google makes its foray into the publishing industry. 

By Elizabeth Drake / August 14, 2012

Some industry observers are speculating that Google's purchase of Frommer’s Travel Guides is really about Google’s move to provide its own content.

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As part of a deal with John Wiley & Sons, Google Inc. will be purchasing Wiley’s travel business, which includes the Frommer’s brand travel guides. According to the Huffington Post, chief executive officer John Wiley has been working to sell off its businesses that do not fit with its aim to focus on professionals and education.

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The well-known travel guide publisher has more than 300 guidebooks currently in publication. The New York Times speculates that this new purchase is likely to be used in conjunction with the Zagat restaurant review app that Google purchased last September. Some industry observers are speculating that what this is really about is Google’s move to not only to be a search engine, but to also provide its own content.

Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, a company that examines media, told The New York Times that this is a tricky line to be treading because it potentially places Google in competition with other websites. It raises concerns because “Google is perceived as this competitor that has the potential to favor its own search results," said Sterling.

Competing websites are not the only businesses that Google’s new move has the potential to threaten. Google may also be viewed as a threat to publishers because it will incorporate the Internet with its content in ways that most publishers cannot.

While the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, it is estimated to be between $23 million and $25 million, according to Publisher's Lunch

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