NEW YORK – Travel guru Arthur Frommer said Wednesday that he has reacquired rights to his travel guidebook brand from Google, and that he intends to resume publishing Frommer guidebooks.
Google acquired the Frommer brand last summer from the Wiley publishing company, but last month Skift.com reported that Google was "quietly pulling the plug" on publishing Frommer's books.
Google refused comment at the time, but Arthur Frommer confirmed in a phone call from his home Wednesday night that he had reacquired rights to the brand.
"It's a very happy time for me," Frommer, 83, told The Associated Press. "We will be publishing the Frommer travel guides in ebook and print formats and will also be operating the travel site Frommers.com."
Frommer sold the Frommer line of travel books to Simon & Schuster in 1977. The books had more recently been published by Wiley & Sons.
Frommer started the guidebook enterprise in 1957 with a self-published book called "Europe on 5 Dollars a Day." It was an expanded version of a small travel guide he had written for American soldiers in Europe. With its emphasis on budget travel, it became an immediate best-seller and launched a guidebook company that became one of the world's most recognized travel brands. Frommer's daughter Pauline Frommer also has written numerous guidebooks for the brand and, like her father, is a much-quoted expert on consumer travel and related issues.
Google confirmed in an email Wednesday night that the brand was returned to its founder, but added that the travel content it had acquired from Frommer's and Wiley had been integrated into various Google services such as Google Plus.
The terms of the deal between Google and Frommer were not disclosed.
Pat Carrier, who has watched the ups and downs of the travel publishing industry as the former owner of the Globe Corner Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass., said the whole thing was "baffling."
"I don't get why they (Google) bought Frommer's and then decided to essentially shut down the whole enterprise," he said. "Do they really think the content that they acquired from the Frommer's deal has a longer shelf life than yogurt?"
Jason Clampet, who reported Google's decision to cease publishing Frommer content on Skift.com, called Frommer's reacquisition of his brand "fantastic news."
"Everyone I know was hoping this would happen once we saw that Google was just after content for Google Plus rather than the brand's history and potential," said Clampet, a former editor for Frommer's. "I think Arthur's and Pauline's passion will reinvigorate the series. There are dedicated readers both online and in print who will stay with a name they trust."