By Lee Foster

As the publishing of travel and photo books evolves, I ask a question: should we continue to print photos on paper for printed-book products? Or should we confine photos to the ebook versions of books and the website versions of books, where photos can be lavishly displayed at almost no cost to the producer or the consumer?

I have wrestled with this issue as I recently developed and released my new travel book Northern California Travel: The Best Options.

My publishing decision may be seen as controversial, but I have decided that the print book will only have texts. Even at that, the book is hefty at 284 pages. See it on Amazon and on my website at Lee’s Books.

Note that alongside the printed book on Amazon and at other retail sites, the ebook version is also available. The ebook version is quite a bit cheaper, $3.99 for the ebook vs $14.95 for the printed book, but the rationale for that decision is another question for another time. The ebook version has a photo for each of the thirty chapters. The photos display beautifully on tablets, such as on the iPad. As tablets evolve, the aesthetics of presentation of a photograph could be said to exceed on a tablet the pleasurable appearance of a photograph on a printed page.

However, it is on a website presentation of the book that the full photo pageant is definitely apparent. Each of my thirty chapters has its own elaborate photo slideshow on my website. The notion that a book can be presented as a website, rather than just as a printed book or ebook, is in itself a controversial matter. My book definitely is also a website.

So, some questions are raised. Let me know your perspective on whether we should continue to print photos on paper. More details on the new book can be seen below. Above all, what will the Consumer desire and what will the Consumer be willing to pay? As you ponder your answer, think of your last walk up and down the aisle of an airplane, noting how many people are consuming ebooks on their devices.

New book: Northern California Travel: The Best Options

Lee Foster has released a new travel guidebook/ebook Northern California Travel: The Best Options. The book is available on Amazon and with other retail vendors as a printed book or as an ebook. It is listed among Lee’s books on his website and available autographed. One unusual aspect of the book is that the book also is a website, with the 30 chapters presented to consumers as 30 articles. The book is independently published by Lee Foster, which is a sharp contrast with his other new book for spring 2013. Lee wrote/photographed 1/3 of the major new DK (Dorling Kindersley) Eyewitness guidebook Back Roads California. Lee will be writing/talking in 2013/2014 about these contrasting publishing strategies, “Traditional vs Independent Book Publishing: What is the Future?” Commentary on this subject will appear on Lee’s website at www.fostertravel.com, reflecting the different approaches that led to publication of various books on Lee’s Amazon Author Page.

About The Book:

Lee Foster writes about and recommends the best nature/outdoors attractions and the top cultural travel experiences in Northern California.

He helps a local or a visitor make informed travel decisions for visiting places as diverse as Yosemite National Park, the intriguing Russian fort at Fort Ross along the Sonoma coast, or the wondrous Big Sur Coast.

What are the best travel options to explore when contemplating Northern California? Lee Foster has spent 40 years refining the answers.

Lee’s 30 chapters in this book guide consumers to use wisely their most precious commodity—their time.

Lee presents his vision of Northern California travel in the various modes that a consumer might find useful—as a 284-page printed book, as an ebook with color photos, and on his website as write-up/slideshow elements at http://fostertravel.com/category/norcal. (Search Norcal to see all the book chapters if the link is not live). Eventually the content will also be organized as an app.

The goal is to provide an enjoyable and insightful read for the armchair traveler and an actionable plan ready to go for an actual trip.

Lee’s strategy is to divide Northern California into a finite number of major subjects, such as Lake Tahoe, and offer a write-up, plus If You Go suggestions. This basic write-up will be supplemented in the future with a more specialized Further Options set of tips on Lee’s website. This approach allows an elasticity for incremental and timely additions to the subjects.

A consumer has many sources of information about Northern California travel, but Lee Foster’s content is superior for several reasons:

*Lee makes insightful judgments that help a traveler use precious travel time wisely. His only responsibility is to the consumer. He doesn’t write about everything, only the most compelling things. He has no need to promote anything beyond what he considers the best possible consumer experience.

*Visitor Bureau and Destination organization promotional travel content can be helpful and is sometimes energetically presented, but such offerings must often give equal time to all dues-paying members. Lee can select and promote only the superior consumer experiences in a destination, which is what a consumer wants.

*Crowd-sourced travel information, such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, can be lively and useful, but such reports are subject to planted bias, competitor sabotage, and the exuberance or idiosyncratic negativity of the amateur. Lee provides a perspective from a veteran travel journalist who has only his audience’s interest in mind.

*Other travel guides are heavy with data, but Lee wonders if that is useful in the Internet era when a Google Search can resolve quickly all the pedestrian facts, such as address, hours open, and prices. Instead, Lee concentrates on inspiration and judgment to help the potential traveler make wise decisions.

Lee Foster has personally visited the places and lived out the experiences that he recommends. He compares the places/experiences against his lifetime record of numerous other parallel options in Northern California and elsewhere.

Lee becomes your “personal travel concierge” with a distillation of the essence of the destination.

Lee’s coverages do not adhere to a rigid formula. The question is: what is the essence of this destination? Often, a good option for lodging and dining is offered to make the trip memorable. His expertise also points out the not-so-obvious and hidden delights that a traveler might otherwise miss.

About the Author:

Lee Foster is a veteran and award-winning travel writer/photographer, whose work has won eight Lowell Thomas Awards, the highest accolades in travel journalism, including Lee being named Travel Journalist of the Year (Silver Winner). Lee publishes more than 200 worldwide travel writing/photography coverages to consumers and to travel content buyers at http://fostertravel.wpengine.com. His specialized travel photo selling site at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com presents 7,000 of his photos to consumers and to editors developing magazines, books, and travel promotions. Over the years, Lee’s work has been published in most of the major U.S. travel publications, from National Geographic Traveler to the New York Times. His travel books and book contributions have been published by Globe Pequot, Countryman Press, Dorling Kindersley, and Lonely Planet. Lee has had photos in more than 300 Lonely Planet books. In the new “app” era, Lee was an early adapter, with Sutro Media apps San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This approach would seem to make sense for a print-on-demand book. The low price of the ebook version with photos encourages a follow-up purchase for interested travelers who like visuals for each destination.

  2. magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

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