Despite travel accessories increasingly becoming digital-only — or perhaps because of it — hard-copy travel guides are making a comeback. Certainly the book industry is happy about this (somewhat surprising) turn of events. During the U.S. financial crisis in the late aughts, Nielsen BookScan reported that sales of guide books fell by an alarming 41 per cent. But in 2014, the numbers for destination-specific place guides were up 3 per cent, with some titles boasting bigger sales. The key to this reversal? Artistic sensibilities.
Today’s travel guides are designed to look just as attractive on coffee tables as they are useful on the road. Take the Carl Goes city series by Studio Carl, a Netherlands-based design firm. The agency’s artful books include beautiful full-page photography, interviews with local experts in various fields and advice on what to see, eat, drink and do, as well as where to work and stay, whether you’re in town for three days, three weeks or three months. Editions currently available include Berlin, London and Amsterdam, with a guide to Detroit on the way.
The team at Carl Goes says their guides are “for curious and creative people who want to become a citizen for the duration of their stay” — just the sort of travel we like to read about.