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about the desert than Las Vegas, and Moon Tucson (Aug.) covers
the kind of interesting second city the line specializes in. Other
forthcoming guides are devoted to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
(Apr.), Acadia National Park (May), Washington State’s Olympic
Peninsula (May), and the Blue Ridge Parkway (June).
Newlin cautions against drawing overarching conclusions
about global travel by watching the guidebook publishing trade
winds blow. “Tourism as a business is massive; the guidebook
industry is less so,” he says. He also notes that there’s no way to
compete with the TripAdvisors and Yelps for on-the-spot travel
information. Newlin is another guidebook veteran from the
backpacker lineage—he did a boots-on-the-ground edit of China
Off the Beaten Track (originally published in the U.S. by St.
Martin’s in 1983), which he calls “the first guide for independent
travelers in the modern era” for travel in that country. Having
been with been with Moon since 1990, he has convictions about
what accounts for staying power in the field; he reports that Moon
has seen 40% growth in net sales and profits in the last five years.
“We’ve evolved with the form,” Newlin says. “Plain vanilla is not
going to survive in the age of the internet.” ;
Dave Herndon is a veteran travel writer and magazine editor who is currently
reporting for freelance duty from southwest France.