Monday, September 24, 2007

Let's Not Go

Young, commercial, beginner’s guidebook, with frivolous, silly humor represented some of the responses to a survey conducted by St Martin's Press about the Let's Go series of guides. That was in 2001 and St Martins have just decided that they won't be renewing their 25yr partnership with the Harvard student run organization. The current deal expires in 2009. Citing stiff competion and free travel information sources,
David Moldawer, a St. Martin’s editor, told the New York Observer last week that the break with Let’s Go reflected “a change in our publishing strategy and how we see the travel book market.”
The Crimson went on to say that the Let's Go editorial staff were putting on a strong face and view the change as a chance to rethink and reevaluate the publishing strategy. They also wanted to ensure that there are no job losses for students. The survey results were fairly damning and suggest that hopes of continuing the publishing program after 2009 maybe a pipedream.
The report, which was based on four San Francisco focus groups, suggested that Let’s Go discontinue its guides and reopen with a different brand name. “It is extremely difficult to change an image of a brand which has lost its stature as a leading brand, especially when the re-positioning is not supported by heavy marketing and advertising dollars,” the report read. “It may be more prudent (and cost effective) to introduce a new series of guides under a new name with an updated format rather than trying to convince the target that ‘Let’s Go’ is new and improved.”

They have a few years to think about it although one wonders how much sales support St. Martins' will give the series and how likely retailers will be to re-order titles from this point on.

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