Lonely Planet teams up with ebook subscription service Scribd

Are printed travel guidebooks becoming obsolete? (Shutter_M/shutterstock.com)

Are printed travel guidebooks becoming obsolete? (Shutter_M/shutterstock.com)


, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Lonely Planet has teamed up with an ebook subscription service that will make all its travel guidebooks available in a digital library.

This past week, ebook subscription service Scribd announced that it has teamed up with one of the world's leading travel brands to include the guidebooks in its digital library.

Scribd subscribers now have access to all Lonely Planet titles. 

"Travel is the perfect category for e-books," said Scribd co-founder and CEO Trip Adler in a statement.

"Not only does having an e-book at one's fingertips lighten a traveler's load while on the go, Scribd offers a great value by enabling readers to access all of the Lonely Planet guides in one all-you-can-read subscription."

Scribd counts about 80 million subscribers around the world.

It could be described as a move tantamount to submission: traditional travel guidebooks are predicted to become obsolete thanks to the web, mobile apps and geo-locating services that can lead users to the nearest museum in real time.

For years, experts have predicted that younger and increasingly connected travelers would migrate away from printed guidebooks -- which also weigh a ton in handbags and backpacks -- and shift towards the web, their mobile phones and tablets.

Perhaps the first to fall victim to this emerging trend was AA Publishing, the largest travel publisher in the UK, which announced in 2012 that they'd decided to stop printing new travel guides.

But not every travel brand is ready to raise the white flag.

Last year, DK Eyewitness brand announced plans to relaunch its print series with cosmetic and editorial makeovers.

Frommer's founder Arthur Frommer likewise announced plans to resuscitate the brand's printed guides into lighter, cheaper "EasyGuides" series for quick reads -- an overhaul he boldly called "a second revolution in the publishing of travel guides."