09 December 2013

[liff in the PNW] Best Places Guides Series Fades Away

Today's entry in our "The Death Of Print" file comes via Ben Lukoff on Facebook, wereupon we find that a Pacific Northwest original has published its last edition.

The biannual "Best Places" guides, apparently due to changing times and perhaps mostly the proliferation of smartphones and the absolute surfeit of review websites (I feel a bit guilty here, as I love Yelping) has made the charming local guidebook rather redundant … at least amongst the constituency that would patronize a business likely to be listed in a "Best Places" guide.

The first edition came out in 1975 to much acclaim, and 17 editions subsequently. The editor of the first (and we presume several), David Brewster, writing at Crosscut.com (a great PNW-interest website he founded) cites three major factors, as he sees them: dilution of the market by non-local publishers, a sort of "Gresham's Law" view; a loss of trust in guidebooks in general, where the reading public begins to sense there's a bit of quid pro quo going on, and the proliferation of sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon and the like, which are just a smartphone away.

The entire article has some history and is plain good story telling and reasoned opinion, and can be found at http://crosscut.com/2013/12/09/books/117825/best-places-guidebook-rip/?page=single. I highly recommend Crosscut as a place to stay current on many Washington issues as well as regional ones.

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