Famous travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet is rocked by claims from one of its (former) authors that he plagiarised and made up large sections of his books and dealt drugs to make up for poor pay.
Thomas Kohnstamm revealed in his new book that he didn’t even visited one of the country that he wrote about.
“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.”
Lonely Planet is fast to respond to the allegations, but damage has already been done. Fact or not, Kohnstamn’s claims would certainly raise some eyebrows.
I love travelling, and I have a large collection of travel guidebooks, including about a dozen from Lonely Planet.
Frankly, with the development of internet these days, I rarely rely on guidebooks for travelling… some of the time I find their info outdated and not always accurate. Besides, it’s more fun to read from ordinary people (from travel blogs and forums etc.) about their travel experiences instead of some pro-writers.
I still love these travel guidebooks though; they still provide some decent basic introductions for various travel destinations.
I can understand the dilemma of some travel writers; I was once offered by a local travel magazine to write for them for USD18 per 500 words article (I have to provide the photos too). The rate is quite pathetic honestly… it’s not even enough for me to cover the basic travelling cost.
Still, as low as the payment is, it doesn’t give any writers the rights to cheat and to scam the readers (and publishers)… we can simply choose not to accept the deal at the first place.
I am not sure how many travel writers are like this idiotic Kohnstamm… this fella is obviously trying to use the publicity stunt to sell his own book. I pity those honest and hardworking Lonely Planet authors because their reputation was spoiled by a selfish cheater.