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AA freezes travel publishing
01.01.70 | Katie Allen
AA Publishing has frozen commissions for new overseas travel guides, and will work with more emphasis on content that is "deliverable across all media".
The Basingstoke-based publisher is currently not planning to commission any new overseas city or country guides, and will not be updating its existing titles. However, the publisher said this doesn't discount the possibility of new UK guides being commissioned. The publisher will continue to publish annual lifestyle guides, such as restaurant, hotel and pub guides, as well as narrative travel books.
Editorial director Helen Brocklehurst said: "AA travel guides are clearly still in print, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. At the moment in order to best serve the future needs of the business and our readers we are focusing more resources on delivering our information across multiple digital platforms.
"We’ll be looking to commission content that is deliverable across all media; e-book, print, mobile applications and online. In fact, we have an extensive digitisation programme underway and are actively pursuing online opportunities for the travel guide data.”
In September last year, the publisher moved into narrative travel publishing as a response to the increased pressure on traditional travel titles.
After four consecutive years of declining sales between 2007 and 2011, this year shows no signs of improvement. If sales continue at the current rate (down 11% year on year), the market will be worth £35m by year end—down £20m on just five years ago.
There is hope, however, in the form of the London 2012 Olympic Games. With millions of tourists hitting the capital, sales of guides and maps to London should be in high demand.
It remains to be seen, though, whether sales will be big enough to offset the decline; for example, around 250,000 London A-Zs will have to be purchased to claw back the shortfall in 2012 already.