I received a perfect question in my email box, this question is so important that I want to make sure anyone could read or help me or Susan the writer.
We've spoken before about Egypt - I hope you still get there one day
:o)I wanted to ask you about travel guides. I'm sure you have mentioned
having electronic copies of travel guides on your laptop, and I was
wondering where you found them? I'm doing a trip in 5 months from
Beijing, on the Trans-Mongolian Express, joining the Trans-Siberian Express
through to St Petersburg, then through the Baltic States to Vienna, and
finally a stopover in Copenhagen. As you can imagine, I certainly don't
want to lug books for each country or region I'm going through,
because I wouldn't be able to lift my backpack. I was thinking of getting a
handheld computer, which could be my phone, my trip diary, my email
connection, plus my travel guides. I started researching with lonely
planet and rough guide, and can only find a handful of guides available in
electronic format. Do you know somewhere else I can look for this info?
I'm surprised, I would have thought it would have been an easy !
money spinner for lonely planet to have all their guides available by
download, and cheaper too. No printing costs and all that stuff. Anyway,
if you wouldn't mind letting me know, I would be really grateful!
I want to go across central Africa, and when I was in Marrakesh, Morocco I was trying to figure out the guidebook and book problem. I read books for entertainment and to keep from going crazy in some places, so to me book are my lifeline when very bored.
But a Guidebook no matter how bad is still better than no guidebook, in Iraq I used a terrible, but the best guidebook available. It was the only guidebook available, so the best and the worst.
It would be great if I could put a guidebook on my computer.
It would be great if I could put a guidebook on a small palm computer or handheld.
I could have one place for all my guidebooks.
Why is this not available? I think the guidebooks like Lonely Planet are afraid they will destroy their business if they make digital copies. Because as always travelers would find a way to copy and share like they do with music.
My guess is that in the future when maybe internet sites are actually competing with paper books the paper guidebooks will make them available. I have not found any web site that covers any country the same as a guidebook.
Google.com is paying to scan and copy libraries of books. I am not sure how they get around the copyright problems, but maybe all the books in the next few years will be in digital libraries.
I can pay to have guidebooks scanned, but I have no idea how to share these books with anyone without big legal problems. It would cost me about 20 cents USA per page to have a book made into a digital file. I have thought about doing this for my own benefit, but how to share is another problem.
Virtualtourist.com is the closest I know of to having online guidebooks, but they are mainly for 5 star hotels.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN?
I get on the internet and Save As page in folders of information, I have save thousands of internet pages and file them for when I want to refer to them.
Go to the library, check out all the guidebooks and scan the essential pages, you need to convert with OCR or Optical character Recognition. This is not an easy task.
Go to the library copy the pages and carry with you only the essential pages.
I am presently in Taiwan, I would have paid full price for a Lonely Planet Taiwan if it exist, I have not seen one yet, but I suppose it does. However when I went looking in Bangkok I did not find a book. I suppose if I was in a real panic I could have taken a Taxi all over Bangkok to find a guidebook.
But what was my real reason for guidebook?
I wanted to know a cheap room, so the easy solution and it worked was I got on:
I found a room, my guess is I am paying double what I need to pay if I wanted to live real cheap. I am paying 13 U.S. Dollars per night for a nice Hostel, it has TV so I am happy, and a kitchen.
I am only in Taiwan for one week so why worry, I cannot get bent out of shape for 25 dollars extra cost, it would be silly, the guidebook would have cost 25 dollars so I would have not saved any money.
HOWEVER Hostelworld.com only works in 50 percent of the countries, in most the price is way over my desire to visit the country.
HoboTraveler.com solutions... hehehe
I really am looking to make my life easier and then hopefully yours.
I am now in the process of paying some boys from India to enter all the Hotels in India and Thailand under 10 dollars into a computer, they are collecting as I speak.... I hope.
I will put all of them on the internet in the next few months, so I am in the pre-meditated process of trying to get the CHEAP hotels on the internet. If this works I will proceed to go with all the 300 plus countries, places, territories, island, enclave and other on the planet.
But if you or anyone on the planet has better solutions please write a comment below this blog post.
I just wanted to comment on a couple of things about your electronic guide books. You do NOT need OCR software to scan...you can always use PDF and there is free PDF maker software out there if you look hard enough.
You answered the google issue in the post. They are PAYING to scan which means they are buying the redistribution rights for the books. Also some of the copyrights expire so they can scan a lot without issue.
Here is another round-about solution to your scanning problem. If the book is good enough you can buy it. Then search the net for a pirated copy of the same e-book. As long as you own the book, the "pirated" copy is legal (as long as it is the same edition, etc). It is the same as owning a CD of music and having it on your iPod.
I hope this helps!
The Prudent Traveler (a free site, see below)