and Mike Neal, producers of the travel guide
"The Complete Guide to Walt Disney
World", ride the Characters in Flight helium
balloon over Downtown Disney on Wednesday, July
31, 2013 .
world of travel guidebooks keeps spinning, although it
must weather changes in format and distribution in order
to spread the word about vacation destinations.
trend toward electronic books and the demise of
bookstores — including retail giant Borders — have
been part of a sea change for travel books, said Julie
Neal, who produces "The Complete Guide to Walt
Disney World" with her husband, Mike, from their
home in Celebration, Fla. They published their first
print edition in 2007.
have depended on our pretty red book with the pretty
photos on the shelf. It tempts people to pick it up and
thumb through it," she said. "They see all the
photos, and they buy it. We’ve sold 120,000 books that
sees pluses in digital editions for readers and
publishers. This fall, the Neals will introduce an
e-book version of their travel guide, a genre that hasn’t
"exploded" in the electronic universe yet, she
said. Before that, the couple will have smaller, more
specialized editions, beginning with one devoted to New
Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.
good e-guide should link to additional information about
the location, include videos and ample videos and easily
connect buyers to restaurants and other spots, Neal
said. It’s not merely a snapshot of the printed page,
don’t see good reference e-books that have that kind
of capability. We’re trying to create that," Neal
said. Their comprehensive e-book contains more than
4,000 links, she said, and will be formatted to work on
e-readers, tablets and smartphones.
all right at their fingertips, literally. It’s just a
huge benefit to readers if the book is done right,"
e-book can have many layers of information and the
ability to filter it for specific data, she said.
just our print book, we weren’t able to do the kind of
depth that we always wanted to do. Just for economic
reasons, we couldn’t just add more and more
pages," Neal said. "No one’s going to spend
$50 for a travel guide no matter how much good
information is in there."
are available through online retailers such as Amazon,
Apple and Barnes & Noble. They determine the prices,
Neal said, which can range from 99 cents to beyond the
price for a print edition.
purchases decreased from 10.91 million in 2010 to 7.97
million in 2012, according to Nielsen BookScan, a
sales-tracking service. Despite that drop, there is
does seem that there was a lot of talk for a while …
that everything would become digital and there would be
no more print," said John Mutter, editor of Shelf
Awareness, a blog that follows the publishing industry.
"It seems like it’s kind of stabilized."
and e-books can co-exist, he said.
seems to be happening is that most people read print
books and e-books, depending on the circumstances and
what they’re reading. The same seems to apply to
travel," Mutter said.
are not taking over the world — at least not
yet," said Kelly Monaghan, owner of The Intrepid
Traveler, a Connecticut-based publisher. "In our
case, the e-book sales of every book are fewer than the
print sales," he said.
decrease in retailers is a big hurdle, Monaghan said. It’s
more difficult now to get books in front of potential
have to pay careful attention on how we’re going to be
able to reach an audience for a book," he said.
"That means that we are producing more and more
books about Walt Disney World and Disneyland."
Disney fan base is "large and easy to reach,"
said Monaghan, who has five Disney-oriented authors
working on nine or 10 titles.
e-books are made for most Intrepid Traveler titles, some
work better in other formats, he said. Its print book
about what to do while waiting in line at Disney World
has a mobile application. A "Hidden Mickeys"
book has an app and an e-book, he said.
preference plays a part.
are some people who like to take an iPad into the park,
but other people would rather have something that wouldn’t
be as traumatic if it falls into the water or gets
stolen," Monaghan said. "There’s always a
place for that paperback book that you can slide into a
back pocket or purse and carry with you."