Shockingly, Google didn’t buy Frommer’s, a respected travel guide company, because it wanted to actually publish travel guides on pulped tree corpses. So the dead-tree aspect of the company is being recycled.
Purchased back in August, Frommer’s is most famous for being started by the book Europe On $5 a Day. And apparently, Google decided it’d had enough of the guide books:
Starting with Frommer’s New York City With Kids, which can still be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in other bookstore inventories and was supposed to publish on February 19, the entire future list of Frommer’s titles will not see the light of day. Many of the authors attached to these 29 titles told Skift that they were informed by editors now working at Google that the books would not publish. Some authors were told that the books would merely be delayed before new contracts were signed. None of the authors contacted reported that their titles would appear in print.
It’s not really that much of surprise, considering the first thing Google did when it took ownership was shut down the company’s online bookstore. Google bought Frommer’s for $22 million back in August with the stated goal of bolstering its travel options: If you Google some tourist spot, Google would be able to guide you straight to detailed listings from Google before guiding you to Google Travel to buy your ticket which can be accessed on your Android device.
In short, Google bought a digital content machine, and it’s hard to blame them for wanting to keep it on the Internet, instead of in the notoriously difficult publishing industry. We just hope the writers in question still get their gigs: Somebody needs to be paid to go to exotic places and drink, dammit.