Despite what you might read in the news these days, some travel publishers aren't taking the death of print lying down. In fact, you could say they're reveling in it. Witness Lonely Planet, the go-to guidebook for budget-conscious backpackers (and even well-heeled travelers like my in-laws) for decades. With a savvy Web presence that actually long predates all of today's Web 2.0 chatter, Lonely Planet has just released a series of iPhone City Guides for the iPhone and iPod Touch for 20 cities including London, New York, Rome, Tokyo, and Paris. Regularly priced at $15.99 and available from the iTunes App Store, its San Francisco city guide is currently available for a nominal fee ($.99) until the end of June.
What you'll get is a download containing all the editorial expertise (eg. the best hotels, restaurants, attractions, itineraries) from Lonely Planet's well-researched print guides, but now nicely packaged in a portable, location-based interface that allows you to scroll through maps and customize and save your favorite items. The content, photos, and maps also remain available offline, so no sweat about roaming fees if you happen to be strolling Las Ramblas in Barcelona and need an instant recommendation about where to find the best tapas. And while I can safely say that a downloadable e-guide will never usurp my dog-eared collection of Lonely Planets in terms of sentimental value, these iPhone guides do offer the clear advantage of automatic (and free!) updates whenever new editions become available. Check it out and let us know what you think!
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