I’ve been a Moon Handbooks travel guide author for almost seven years now; the first edition of “Moon Pittsburgh,” the guidebook I update every few years for Moon/Avalon Travel, was first published in June 2007.
The guide’s third edition, for what it’s worth, is currently scheduled to be sitting on store shelves (virtual and brick-and-mortar) sometime in mid-2014.
The good people at Avalon Travel create very high-quality products, which is why I was excited to see that the company is currently giving away a 100 percent free e-book download of a new guide titled “Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.”
Researched and written by journalist and long-time volunteer Amy E. Robertson, the guide is packed with 236 pages of potential volunteer experiences in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.
The book’s print version is selling for the very fair price of $11.99, although you can download a complete EPUB or PDF version for free, here. Not a bad deal.
Just a quick note to alert anyone who has arrived at The Labor Party looking for information about the Lonely Planet/Thomas Kohnstamm scandal that writer Josh Krist, also a Lonely Planet author, has written in with a comment of his own. To read the comment in its entirety, simply scroll down to the very bottom of the post that sits directly below this one, and then click to read the comments. If you’d rather not be bothered with all the scrolling and clicking, however, here’s a synopsis:
Hi Dan, I personally am miffed about the whole thing … I think he lied about lying — in other words, yes, he greased the truth about how carefree and fun-loving his research trips were to make the trips read more Hunter S. Thompson-like. I just read his interview over at World Hum, and to me, it was deception on top of deception … So, I can understand why people feel ripped off. Travelers pay us to be honest, trustworthy, and thorough. Thomas, no matter what the “real” story might be, is apparently none of those things, or, not enough. My dad has a good line: Not only should we avoid impropriety, we should avoid even the appearance of impropriety — because the second often leads to the first.
Josh also links to a wonderful article by Tim Wu about the importance and necessity of guidebooks that was published last April on Slate.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a relatively large number of guidebook writers, some who are affiliated with LP and others who aren’t, have been weighing in on the Kohnstamm Kontroversy via their personal weblogs. I’ve found two so far that should be considered required reading for anyone interested in understanding how this scandal happened in the first place, or for that matter, anyone interested in learning the truth about how the guidebook industry really works.
The first is Zora O’Neill’s Roving Gastronome blog. Zora writes for Moon Handbooks, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet. This is the post of hers you’ll want to read first. It’s titled The Thomas Kohnstamm Affair: A Long Rant on What It’s Really Like to Be a Guidebook Author.
Next, read Lara Dunston’s Decoding Lonely Planet’s explanation. Dunston’s post, while amusing and fairly spot-on, is also rather snarky in tone. It’s therefore worth bearing in mind that after contributing to more than 25 books for Lonely Planet with her husband Terry Carter, the couple have both chosen to end their association with the company. Lara and Terry are both extremely prolific travel writers, and today they maintain the Grantourismo travel blog.