Travel content 'must be better than free'

<p>Travel publishers should look &quot;beyond books and beyond e-books&quot;, Penguin global digital director Genevieve Shore said at a <em>Bookseller</em> seminar on the changing face of travel publishing. Shore was predicting a future in micro-billing for content that goes &quot;where travellers are&quot; on handheld devices and mobile phones, but she also stressed that quality of content remained paramount in the face of free travel information online. &quot;We have our knowledge and creative talent and we must make our content better than free,&quot; she said. &quot;This will keep us ahead of those who are not really content providers.&quot;</p><p>Travel journalist Jeremy Head also advised publishers to emphasise the authoritative content of their books compared with free online rivals, and challenged publishers to provide incentives for guidebook writers in the wake of the scandal involving Lonely Planet writer Thomas Kohnstamm. &quot;A writer needs to be a partner in the business,&quot; he said. &quot;Incentivise me to write the best guidebook I can so that I can get royalties, not a fixed fee.&quot;</p><p>Waterstone&#39;s travel buyer Alex Ingram emphasised the value of non-core stock and titles with a distinctive and individual appeal, such as the Wainwright guides. He said that the Waterstone&#39;s loyalty card, which has attracted more than 1.2 million customers since its launch late last year, included 60,000 customers with a particular interest in travel. &quot;This is possibly the biggest opportunity we face in the next year,&quot; he added.</p>