Lonely Planet apps offer shows we love guides

April 23rd, 2010 in European travel by Sarah Lee 0
Lonely Planet guide to Paris free on iTunes

Ok so it’s a great offer. In this time of need many companies have been doing all they can to help people stranded by the ash cloud from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. And Lonely Planet is no exception. The travel guide publisher gave away copies of 13 of their iPhone/iPod European city guide apps free this week.

Yes, guides that would normally have cost £9.49 were free – putting Lonely Planet firmly at the top of iTunes’ free app chart with three million downloads.

As a big fan of apps and guidebooks I think this is brilliant. The guidebook has been under threat of late what with the recession, intense competition (not to mention Penguin/WH Smiths’ shocking exclusive deal) and tumbling fees making it increasingly difficult for writers to make make a living while writing and updating them.

Of course anything free can be very attractive. But I think the take up is indicative of people’s love for good quality guides.

I still love my guides in book form – you can’t beat the feel of them and the fact that you can read maps more easily (equally they are likely more up to date). But let’s raise a toast to Lonely Planet for coming to the rescue of stranded travellers, allowing those not caught up in the travel problems to also sample their guides and proving that travel guides are still in fashion.

Of course all good things must come to an end. However the end to this offer is currently anyone’s guess – the free offer was due to finish last night at which point the guides were set to be charged at a still valuetastic price of £2.99 until April 30. But when I checked this morning they were still being offered up free of charge. Perhaps best that you get onto iTunes quickly.

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