January 15, 2009

Time to let literature take you somewhere, rather than vice-versa


And so the ripple effect begins: A report in the Bookseller by Victoria Gallagher says that travel books have been hit hard by the financial crisis. She reports an 8.7% drop from last year according to “Nielsen BookScan figures, a substantial amount ” (although it’s hard for this Nielsen subscriber to see how one can research sales by genre). Of course, it’s not all the financial collapse — satellite navigation systems and internet route-finders are having a big impact on the sale of road atlases and street maps. But in general, “People aren’t optimistic,” says Tom Hall, travel editor of Lonely Planet. Why? Well, says Andrew Steed of Stanfords bookshop in London, it’s “due to the general public neither travelling nor shopping.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives