Arthur Frommer is back in travel. Our 83 year old curmudgeon (for his tenacity to find truth in travel) friend has taken control of the half-century old Frommers brand and is starting out once again. Kudos.
Arthur Frommer and Beat of Hawaii
As you may know, Arthur helped put Beat of Hawaii on the global travel map when he first came upon us in early 2008. His mere mention of us brought unprecedented traffic to our then new website. We’ve continued to quote him when he wrote “If you’re a fan of the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll want to rush quick to the Beat of Hawaii.”
If you’re a fan of the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll want to rush quick to the Beat of Hawaii. –Arthur Frommer
He’s been a friend ever since. Beat of Hawaii has been interviewed on his weekly radio show and is written about in his latest book, Ask Arthur Frommer
Arthur’s philosophy of paying less to enjoy travel more is something that we’ve taken to heart and has generally panned out for decades.
Started in 1957, when Arthur published the iconic and industry changing Europe on $5 a day, that followed his 1955 self-published A GI’s guide to traveling in Europe. In Europe on $5 a day, Arthur espoused finding rooms with shared baths for under $2/day, and eating for as little as 50 cents a meal. It became an immediate best seller. Next came Mexico on $5 a day followed by New York on $5 a day. An overnight success, Arthur gave up his law practice and dedicated his life to helping us all travel better and more. In total there were 58 versions of the $5 series, and Arthur traveled extensively and updated them himself for decades.
The Frommers brand was sold to Simon & Shuster in 1977, and in 1999, Wiley & Sons took ownership. When it was put up for sale again last year, Google jumped in and acquired the assets, and merged it with its Zagat and Google+ Local operations.
Google and Frommers
It became clear earlier this year that Google wanted only the prior content from Frommers when it announced it would stop publishing the guidebooks. It has since fully integrated the Frommer’s content and had no further need of the Frommers’ brand. With that accomplished Google, under unspecified terms, returned the rights to publish guidebooks and the website to the Frommers.
A New Day
Arthur and his business partner and daughter Pauline are starting out again. Their prior content is still owned by Google where it is utilized (without Frommers’ branding) in Zagat and Google+ Local products. Arthur will undoubtedly continue his blog which he never ceased publishing. Beyond that they will be forging a new business in an era when travel guides are a dying breed. It will be fascinating to see where they take it. Given their ingenuity and creativity, I’d expect them to once again be trailblazers in our industry.
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