“I think the problem (with your book) can be boiled down to one, four-letter word,” said Huntington Press Publisher Anthony Curtis.
“MaxandAlareidiots?” queried ELV.
“That’s 17 letters,” he responded.
“Oh,” said ELV.
“No,” Curtis continued. “The problem is Y-E-L-P. The market for paper-bound guide books just isn’t there anymore.
And you know something? He’s right.
Dead tree journalism is dying, and with it the public’s demand for tactile reading material.
More importantly, though, people simple don’t want to carry guidebooks around when their hand-held computers can deliver much more information for free.
The problem, of course is much of that information is worth what you pay for it.
Curtis went on to regale us with a story of some foodie friends, well-aware of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants, who nevertheless immediately go to YELP whenever they’re deciding on a place to eat.
He then proceeded to show us the numbers and they weren’t pretty.
The 2011 edition pretty much sold out the first printing (5,000 copies), but 2012 was down by a third (even after a front page article on it in the New York Times Dining Section), and this past year’s sales were even worse.
“The last two year’s editions were much better books (we agree), but don’t come close to the first year’s sales,” is how Curtis put it. “That signals a very negative trend to us that may be irreversible.”
Right again, Anthony.
All of this is by way of saying that EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants, by John Curtas, Max Jacobson and Al Mancini may be deader than Woodrow Wilson.
We say “may be” because Curtis — a good guy who loves the book — left the door open to revisit things next summer, but ELV (who is rarely wrong about these things, see: All Forked Up starring John Curtas and Al Mancini on the Travel Channel *), senses that the time of the guidebook has passed.
YELP killed Zagat — a much bigger operation than our pipsqueaky publication — and it drove Michelin away from everywhere in America but a few huge cities, so we’re in good company.
The problem remains that people who are hungry for expert opinion on where to eat (not to mention well-written opinion on where to eat) now must wade through a swamp of stupidity to find a few nuggets worth digesting.
But the information is out there, be it a blog, a magazine article, or the occasional talented-yet-opinionated-amateur who knows what he or she is talking about.
But wade through you will, ELV’s loyal readers, and to those of you who bought the book, we say thanks, and for those still hungry for informed opinion, we at ELV promise to continue pointing your tongues and taste in the right direction.
* Oh, that’s right. You haven’t seen it and probably never will.