AA Publishing expands into narrative travel

AA Publishing expands into narrative travel

Travel guide and maps specialist AA Publishing is moving into narrative travel writing for the first time, with publisher Helen Brocklehurst acquiring several titles in the area. The publisher also plans to publish in new formats.

Brocklehurst, who joined AA Publishing this spring, said the company would be publishing 12 titles a year in this area and will be looking to “increase acquiring power” and recruit more staff in the new year.

She said the shift was down to the need to diversify as the travel industry—and travel publishing—has been under pressure: “It’s moving with the market . . . Given the decline that the travel industry has suffered over the last decade, publishing in this area is more competitive than ever. With people increasingly sourcing their travel information online, we have to think about publishing our content in the widest sense possible.”

Brocklehurst added: “With the rise of the internet, non-cartographic titles have been needing to provide more than just standard information,” adding that the voices behind the books need to be “more opinionated and diverse”.

Titles already on the blocks include TV tie-in title Monty Halls’ Big Catch, a book following Halls living the life of an artisan fisherman based on Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula, to be published in spring 2012. A travel narrative by author Mark Wallington is also in the pipeline.

Also acquired by Brocklehurst is Tiny Islands by Guardian travel writer Dixie Wills. Brocklehurst said: “Tiny Islands is a great example of exactly what we’ve been doing; an expert writer with a really strong writing style finds 60 of the smallest islands in the UK—all of which it is possible to travel to, and all of them have really interesting stories to tell. The kind of thing you don’t find on the internet, basically.”

The move to publish narrative non-fiction was in part influenced by digital publishing: “Part of our decision to diversify has been about making the most of the opportunities presented by the changing market, particularly with Kindle editions . . . For certain books, with a strong narrative and illustrative content, like Big Catch, we will publish over a range of formats and price points, as illustrated hardbacks and fixed-format e-books, and as narrative-only B-format paperbacks and e-books for Kindle.”

Brocklehurst said she would judge the success of the shift in publishing on “the amount of engagement we have from readers and members, and from sales through the tills”.