Lonely Planet’s Brice Gosnell Talks Digital Publishing

Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet is no stranger to digital publishing. The company has been publishing digital versions of its guides for years. The company’s latest digital effort is bringing its Best in Travel series of books to the iBookstore.

Brice Gosnell, Publisher, Lonely Planet Americas, talks to us about the company’s digital publishing business.

EBN: What is the strategy behind your digital publishing efforts?

BG: We want to be an industry leader in digital publishing and have been a launch partner with Apple, Nook, Kindle, Google and others. Our strategy is to have travel content on every platform. In addition to digital content on our website, we have apps and ebooks on all major platforms.

EBN: How are you evolving print content to stay relevant to audiences using digital media?

BG: We’ve invested more into our print books this year than in the past decade. Our books now incorporate a lot more color, images and detailed mapping to reflect what consumers are used to in digital content. We’ve also developed new series that provide shorter-form, highlights-based information, like Discover, or that are based around itineraries, like our US Trips series. We see our digital content as a compliment to our print product — you may research your trip online and with a printed guide before you leave, but take an eBook and app with you while on the road.

EBN: What percentage of your sales come from your eBook business?

BG: Unfortunately, we can’t answer that. It’s proprietary information.

EBN: You seem to focus efforts on the iBookstore. What does Apple’s store offer to you as a publisher of travel books?

BG: That’s actually not true. We have eBooks on every platform and were on both Kindle and Nook before Apple’s iBookstore– and have more titles on those two platforms than on the iBookstore. That said, the tablet format allows for enhanced functionality for viewing travel guides, and works well with our eBooks that are image-rich with lots of mapping and hyperlinks.

EBN: With prices ranging from $4.99 to $17.99, you have quite a range. How do you determine price for your eBooks?

BG: Our content value is the same regardless of whether it’s a print book or eBook. There is some quantitative analysis around our eBook pricing and we also consider consumer expectations depending on the platform.