I love travel guides. Starting when I was a college student bouncing around Europe, through trips with friends and later family, and again now, whether I'm traveling for business or for pleasure, I've always traveled with guide books. They help figure out what's worth visiting, how to visit it, and what's worth noticing about it. There are times when I've followed them slavishly (have I hit all the three-star sights in this city?) and other times when I've only dipped in from time to time. Sometimes I simply want to know what that amazing building across the square is, sometimes I just want to find something interesting near me, sometimes I want the meticulous, even pedantic, description of every chapel in a church. Sometimes I want the best local restaurant, sometimes just a snack. Much as I love them, they're not perfect. I don't want to walk around with four books all day, maniacally cross-referencing them to each other and to the map on my
All about travel guides: how are paper guidebooks organized? why are there so many? what is the digital future? why are electronic guidebooks not living up to their potential?