AskDefine | Define guidebook

Dictionary Definition

guidebook n : something that offers basic information or instruction [syn: guide]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. alternative spelling of guide book

Extensive Definition

A guide book is a book for tourists or travelers that provides details about a geographic location, tourist destination, or itinerary. It is the written equivalent of a tour guide. It will usually include details, such as phone numbers, addresses, prices, and reviews of hotels and other lodgings, restaurants, and activities. Maps of varying detail are often included. Sometimes historical and cultural information is also provided. Different guide books may focus on different aspects of travel, from adventure travel to relaxation, or be aimed at travellers with larger or smaller travel budgets, or focus on the particular interests and concerns of certain groups, such as lesbian and gay singles or couples. Guide books are generally intended to be used in conjunction with actual travel, although simply enjoying a guide book with no intention of visiting may be referred to as "armchair tourism".

History

The modern tourist's guidebook was separately invented by Karl Baedeker in Germany (1835) and by John Murray III in England (1836). Baedeker and Murray produced impersonal, objective guide; works prior to this combined factual information and personal sentimental reflection. The availability of the books by Baedeker and Murray helped sharpen and formalize the complementary genre of the personal travelogue, which was freed from the burden of serving as a guidebook. The Baedeker and Murray guidebooks were hugely popular and were standard resources for travelers well into the 20th century. As William Wetmore Story said in the 1860s, "Every Englishman abroad carries a Murray for information, and a Byron for sentiment, and finds out by them what he is to know and feel by every step."
Following World War II, two new names emerged which combined European and American perspectives on international travel. Eugene Fodor, a Hungarian-born author of travel articles, who had emigrated to the the United States before the war, wrote guidebooks which introduced English-reading audiences to continental Europe. Arthur Frommer, an American soldier stationed in Europe during the Korean War, used his experience traveling around the Continent as the basis for Europe on $5 a Day (1957), which introduced readers to options for budget travel in Europe. Both authors' guidebooks became the foundations for extensive series, eventually covering destinations around the world, including the United States. In the decades that followed, Let's Go, Lonely Planet, Insight Guides, Rough Guides, and a wide variety of similar travel guides were developed, with varying focuses.
With the emergence of digital technology, many publishers turned to electronic distribution, either in addition to or instead of print publication. This can take the form of downloadable documents for reading on a portable computer or handheld device such a PDA or iPod, or online information accessible via a web site. This enabled guidebook publishers to keep their information more current. Traditional guide book incumbents Lonely Planet, Frommers, Rough Guides, and In Your Pocket City Guides, and newcomers such as Schmap are now offering travel guides for download. New online and interactive guides such as Tripadvisor, Wikitravel, World66, and Travellerspoint enable individual travelers to share their own experiences and contribute information to the guide. Wikitravel, Travellerspoint and World66 make the entire contents of their guides updatable by users, and make the information in their guides available as open content, free for others to use.

Series

This list is a select sample of the full range of english language guide book publishers - either contemporary or historical.

Notes

guidebook in German: Führer (Nachschlagewerk)
guidebook in French: Guide touristique
guidebook in Dutch: Reisgids
guidebook in Japanese: 旅行ガイドブック
guidebook in Chinese: 旅遊指南

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Baedeker, Yellow Pages, account, acquaintance, announcement, bibliography, blue book, briefing, bulletin, business directory, catalog, checklist, city directory, classified directory, communication, communique, compendium, cookbook, cookery book, data, datum, directory, dispatch, enchiridion, enlightenment, evidence, facts, factual information, familiarization, field guide, finding list, gen, general information, gradus, guide, handbook, handlist, handout, hard information, how-to book, incidental information, index, info, information, instruction, intelligence, itinerary, knowledge, light, manual, mention, message, nature book, notice, notification, phone book, presentation, promotional material, proof, publication, publicity, reference book, release, report, road map, roadbook, sidelight, statement, telephone book, telephone directory, the dope, the goods, the know, the scoop, transmission, travel book, vade mecum, white book, white paper, word
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