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Lonely Planet Sold My Fickle Friend - Guidebooks

My crazy friend sold out again, the planet is lonely.

Lonely Planet Sold My Fickle Friend

“BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, announced Tuesday it had agreed to sell the guide business, Lonely Planet, for 51.5 million pounds ($77.8 million) to U.S.-based NC2 Media - an 80 million pound loss”
- March 19, 2013
AP story

Lonely Planet Sold

I am Andy Lee Graham owner and founder of, originaly founded with a Lonely Planet in my hand in the Voyagers Hostel in Panama on Janauary 1, 2000.

I am lonely today.

I have mentioned the Lonely Planet over 1000 times on this BLOG.

F33k the Internet, this is still the path!

I have purchased roughly 30-40 Lonely Planet paper guidebooks in my 15 years of perpetual travel and 90 countries. Just yesterday I was reading the Lonely Planet West Africa Togo section, looking for hints to a better hotel here in Lome, Togo, the INTERNET sucks.

I am sad, and sort of misty eyed, this Guidebook is my friend, my lover, my enemy, something I gossip about, deny, and witness, it has take me around the planet at least a dozen times. It has failed me, loved me, and save my butt, when nothing else was working it was there. Only one time have I left it side, I sued the Brand guide in Iraq, because there as no Lonely Planet.

I consider it off the tourist grid, if there is no Lonely Planet guide to the country.

2-3 things in my life would make my day.

1. Lonely Planet calls me.
2. National Geographic calls me.
3. I get in a big fight on TV with a CNN know it all, and all the wanna be real travel writers sitting at their desk, in comfy USA, 24/ 7 access to their internet, and calling them travel experts.

Now, I am not sure…

Maybe one travel expert less on planet earth.

I am sitting here, in a concrete room, in a less than perfect, outrageously off the wall Hotel, maybe Chambr de Passage in Lome, Togo. Le Galion is recommened by Lonely Planet, the way they depict the place is correct, but OK, not great, but passable.

I used, and will continue to use the Lonely Planet as the number one source for city maps, and Hotel recommendations on the planet. But, the days are ending, the time is coming to an end, short of writing my own guidebooks, there are few options

I sold 1500 USD worth of Photos ot Roughguide, but still use the Lonely Planet --- oops, I am a Lonely Planet guy.

I know the book, it is my friend, or it was, it is a Lonely Day here in Togo, West Africa, and getting lonelier.

Andy Graham
15 years of Lonely Planet Travel, and 90 countries, I think I am the longest perpetual traveler, never staying more than 3 months traveler on the planet.

NOTE: I did not edit, fix, or think, I am ANGRY.
- You sold out nobody is left. 


Guide books are out of date by the time they are printed. Best to use the local folks for places to stay.


Each Continent and language is different, in South Korea I sat with a locals for a hour trying to find one that could read English to tell the taxi the name of the Hotel. There is service where an English speaking person can call a person, tell him what we want in English and hand the phone to taxi drive to listen in Korean.

The farther Lonely Planet, Roughguide, Moon, Footprints, and Let's Go drop, the better it is for economically for Hotels. It is easy to confuse people with the Internet, about the same as buying a Sprita Air or Ryan Air plane ticket.


This is sad. I've used a bunch of different guide books, but I still consider Lonely Planet to be the authority. Lonely Planet India and Europe on a Shoestring are two books I will never part with willingly, even if I never leave my homestead again. They are friends. They both saved my butt and asked nothing in return.

I'm puzzled why the BBC felt the need to sell the franchise at a loss. They seem perfectly placed to add to, improve, the Lonely Planet brand. The BBC has people on the ground almost everywhere in the planet, they are a global news provider as well as a domestic TV channel with documentary teams in all kinds of absurd places. They could have joined the dots, and added something.

But really, all they appear to have done is launched a quarterly Lonely Planet Magazine, a concept I never could get my head around. Anyone who buys a subscription to a magazine about travelling isn't travelling. It can only be for the armchair traveller, the '3 weeks of annual leave a year' tourist. That's basically me, right now, and even I thought it made no sense.


Alas Andy your traveling as you do has made you a bit out of touch with the "real world".
The one that the majority of travelers belong to even the ones like myself who do travel as much as possible
and try to follow the common sense rules of not wasting money and learning what we can of other cultures, etc.
It's all about the money and always will be at the corporate level. As for the BBC taking a loss that's no big deal they will make it up in tax breaks, loopholes, raised prices, staff cuts, etc.
Hopefully the new owners will do well with the Lonely Planet, let's wait and see.
If they do not maybe it's time you give it a try Andy.


This one went over your head Bill, time to relax, and think more.

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