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Sales of guidebooks rise as Americans explore the great outdoors

Sales of guidebooks rise as Americans explore the great outdoors

A map inside Baedeker’s circa-1907 Canada guidebook. Even rare and antique guidebooks have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. American travelers aren’t taking the pandemic…

Saturday, Oct 17

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A map inside Baedeker’s circa-1907 Canada guidebook. Even rare and antique guidebooks have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. American travelers aren’t taking the pandemic sitting down.

They are showing an increased interest in hiking, bicycling and other outdoor getaways.

Even the esteemed 94-year-old wildlife filmmaker Sir David Attenborough has weighed in on visiting nature during the pandemic.

In a recent "60 Minutes" interview, Attenborough observes that "people who have never listened to a bird song, are suddenly thrilled, excited, supported, inspired by the natural world."

And outdoor escapes as basic as going for a long walk seem to be accompanied by another basic: the travel guidebook.

Sales of hiking and camping guides are up, consumer analysts say.

"It was a very, very good summer for road trips, camping, driving and closer-to-home travel," says Kristen McLean, primary industry analyst for NPD Books, which monitors retail trends.Overall, travel-guide sales are down because European and global travel is essentially nonexistent for Americans, McLean says, speaking by phone from her office in Miami. However, she says, "maps and atlases sold well," as did guides on parks, campgrounds, hiking, ecotourism and family travel this year. Other retail trends offer a clue as to where those brand-new maps may be leading covid-era travelers. Sales of hiking boots, for example, are up 10 percent, NPD data shows.According to NPD BookScan’s list, among top-selling travel titles through mid-September in the United States were "The Camping Logbook," and the "SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere."At Field Notes, the Chicago-based producer […]

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