Arthur Frommer says he will publish travel books again

Frommer's had been acquired by Google, but the search engine giant recently made the decision to stop releasing print versions of the guidebooks. Frommer says he will run the website and release print and e-book versions of the guidebooks.

Seth Wenig/AP
Arthur Frommer (r.) announced that he has reacquired the rights to his travel books. His daughter Pauline (l.) has also written guides.

The Frommer travel guidebooks will be published again by founder Arthur Frommer after being acquired, then shut down, by Google.

The Frommer’s books were originally published by Simon & Schuster before switching over to publisher Wiley & Sons. The franchise was then bought by Google this past summer, but it was reported last month that Google would no longer be publishing print versions of the guidebooks. 

Now Frommer has the rights to the brand back from Google and said he will be releasing the books in print editions and e-books and will be running the website.

“It's a very happy time for me,” Frommer told the Associated Press.

Google told the AP via e-mail that the deal had gone through but that some travel information it had gotten through Frommer’s would remain in areas of the company like Google Plus.

According to the travel website Skift, Google decided not to publish more than 20 titles that were to go out under the Frommer’s name. Authors were told by Google editors that their books would not be released as planned. In September, soon after their acquisition, Google had taken the bookstore component off the Frommer’s website. 

An unnamed Google representative told CNET that they wanted to provide Google users with practical travel tips.

“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," they said. “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.”

Google had also previously purchased legendary restaurant ratings guide Zagat.

Frommer first released travel advice in 1957 when he wrote a book titled “Europe On 5 Dollars A Day,” which was adapted from a guide he’d penned for American soldiers serving in Europe.

Jason Clampet, a Skift writer who is a former Frommer’s employee, told the AP he was happy about the switch.

“Everyone I know was hoping this would happen once we saw that Google was just after content for Google Plus rather than the brand's history and potential," he said. "I think Arthur's and [Frommer’s daughter] Pauline's passion will reinvigorate the series. There are dedicated readers both online and in print who will stay with a name they trust.”

In a column, Clampet speculated on what publisher will want to take the chance on releasing print travel guides for Frommer.

“There aren’t many publishers that don’t already have a guidebook series or that haven’t turned their back on the game,” Clampet wrote. “Wiley is obviously out, and the combined Penguin/Random House group already has a handful with Fodor’s, Rough Guides, and DK, among others.”

Clampet guessed that Avalon Travel, which publishes guidebooks by travel guru Rick Steves, might decide to print the books.

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