Lonely Planet Screwed

May 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment

Lonely Travel’s Nasty Surprise

This is some very bad news
for travel publisher Lonely Planet. One of the firm’s travel writers
admits in a new book that he never even went to some of the countries
he reviewed, that he made up most of what he wrote and that he
plagiarized the rest. It’s an absolute shocker to the company who has
rushed to review and edit all of the books he worked on. He also dealt
drugs on the side to offset his low salary and accepted free travel, in
contravention of company rules.

Thomas Kohnstamm also claims in a new book that he accepted free travel, in contravention of the company’s policy.
His revelations have rocked the travel publisher, which sells more than six million guides a year.

Mr Kohnstamm, whose book is titled Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?, said
yesterday that he had worked on more than a dozen books for Lonely
Planet, including its titles on Brazil, Colombia, the Caribbean,
Venezuela, Chile and South America.
In one case, he said he had not even visited the country he wrote
“They didn’t pay me enough to go Colombia,” he said.
“I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick
I was dating — an intern in the Colombian Consulate.
“They don’t pay enough for what they expect the authors to do.”

An email to management, posted on the company’s authors’
forum, describes Mr Kohnstamm’s book as “a car crash waiting to
“Why did you (management) not understand that when you hire a constant
stream of new, unvetted people, pay them poorly and set them loose,
that someone, somehow was going to screw you?” author Jeanne Oliver
Ms Oliver, an experienced travel writer having written for Lonely
Planet on eastern Europe, France, Germany and Greece, admitted to
sending the email, but did not wish to comment further.
Other writers believe some practices described in the book are
widespread. Lonely Planet forbids their authors from accepting gifts or

As to the question posed by Kohnstamm’s book,
Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism,
we’re thinking the answer is an enthusiastic yes. At least in his case.
What an amazing liar he is! We’re also betting that half of his wild
“adventures in hedonism” in his new book are as fictional as the travel
guides he wrote.

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