Calling cartophiles and Lonely Planet readers – please take the survey

Lonely Planet did a social media-era-type dumbed-down major redesign of its guidebooks in 2011. Why provide useful, comprehensive information when much less information can be shown with rounded graphics and blue text? The loudest howls of protest are over the maps, which prior to 2011 were dense yet elegant, useful for those on foot as well as behind the wheel. The Rapid Traveler is so addicted to the classic maps that of the few times he has tried other guidebooks, even the otherwise superb Rick Steves guides, he has run back to Lonely Planet. Rare is the travel day where he does not have some photocopied Lonely Planet map pages tucked in his pocket for quick reference. He previously ranted about the redesign, and is currently purchasing only pre-2011 guides.

There is a sliver of hope that Lonely Planet is listening and not totally absorbed by their BBC owners. They have put out a survey of those who have been inflicted by the new guides, see the Thorn Tree thread and direct survey link.

The Rapid Traveler rarely appeals to readers to take action, but if you have experience with the new guides, please, please, please take the survey. Whether positive or not, and some readers do like elements of the redesign, show Lonely Planet that you care about preserving the best of this travel institution.

Thank you.

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  • Happy to help with the cause. I purchased the LP China book and found it so awful I went out and purchased the Rough Guides edition directly afterward. I can’t say that it was much better, but between the two of them, I’m content (for now). Hope that Lonely Planet gets the message.

  • @New Girl in the Air – thank you! I have a friend planning a China trip this summer and I put in bold to get an earlier LP China edition. My trusty 8th edition from 2002 has seen me through every Chinese province.

  • @Rapid Travel Chai, I mistakenly assumed that a new edition would be necessary given the speed of China’s development over the past few years. In retrospect, it seems unnecessary since most of the noticeable changes (from a tourism perspective) have been faster and/or more frequent transportation connections – which I’d check online anyway for the most up to date information. I guess I could have saved $20 x 2 books.

  • Dave

    I agree – I also think the hotels section has been very poor in the recent versions and are not very up to date anyway…sometimes makes me wonder why the bother updating them at all.