Associate: What blog/book/article spoke to you the most in 2012?
This year was the year of travel books. Whenever we plan a trip, one of the first items on our agenda is to purchase the Eyewitness Travel books for the area we are going to. Sometimes, we’ll just purchase one book about the country as a whole, but more often we’ll also purchase a “Top 10″ book for a larger city we’ll be going to, or a “Back Roads” book that will take us to off-the-beaten-path areas of our destination, or a book that is more specific to a certain area within the country. In the past 15 months, we’ve bought 16 new Eyewitness travel books and used them all. We have 2 more Eyewitness Travel books coming to us this Christmas as well.
I love our travel book collection. It’s something I’m proud of because they mark the work and effort put into that destination. They represent the research and time that we put into making a trip amazing.
While Eyewitness Travel books are pretty common, we always love seeing other travelers with the same book as us, as they feel like kindred spirits. They are people like us, people with similar tastes and senses of adventure. It’s also funny when we go to a place specifically outlined in a book as being particularly worthy of a stop, where we are most likely to see our fellow Eyewitness Travelers. Their book may be in a different language than mine, but we have all come together from our respective corners of the Earth to see something awe-inspiring. It feels like a special club that I’m happy to be a part of.
I’m excited to see where travel books might be headed next in the realm of technology. Currently, travel books are the only hard-copy books that we purchase since it is easier to flip through and land on something of interest in a real book than an e-book.
I hope that travel books become more interactive, where the communities of people using that book in that destination can contribute comments and notes on places within the e-book, much like Trip Advisor or another travel review site does. I would love it if my travel books could automatically hook into a travel profile for me, using an interactive interface with the ability to deep-dive into information on particular interests, including real-time updates if certain things change regarding destinations. If I used the same line of travel books, like Eyewitness Travel, perhaps they could even save my preferences based on previous trips and recommend highlighted stops in a new destination based on my travel history, bookmarks and favorites. Yes, they would still be the books with all of the information I crave in one place, but there would be so much more possible. I would be willing to pay subscription fees for a better, more interactive travel book experience because I think there are so many areas in which this tool can grow.
Travel books are definitely tools that have helped us tremendously this year. We love them and feel that our travels are enhanced by them. I know someday our book experience will change, but instead of fight that change, I will embrace it. Technology will bring us great capabilities in the future, but for now, I’m happy seeing all of my travel books stacked up on my shelves, reminding me of the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve done.