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Advertisements in Guidebooks


Original Post
Ben Hoste · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 391

Recently picked up a copy of the NYC bouldering guidebook, which seems to have great maps and descriptions...but the book is filled with ads. Adirondack Rock is also filled with ads. What gives? Is it just me or are they an eye sore to others as well. I have to say that there's something beautiful about the classic guidebooks on my dad's shelf and contemporary books or editions that follow in their footsteps. There are no ads in Dick Williams's guide to the Gunks. Ads in guidebooks are like litter at the crag. I can understand the economics of it, but to me it's a drag.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,772
Ben Hoste wrote:Ads in guidebooks are like litter at the crag.
Oh, no they aren't. They keep the price of the guidebook reasonable and put some money in the author's pocket, hopefully so they can order a few books they can store in their garage for 30 years (or sell out of).

These ads could/do offet upfront printing costs that most authors go out on a limb (and out of pocket) for. I got no issue with them.

I appreciate being able to buy and use a guidebook. Having to scroll past a few ads is a small price to pay especially given what goes into the production of a decent guide.
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Lotsa $$$ A buddy of mine did several very well sold guides and almost broke even..not counting time

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

It's just you

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 307

Ads offset the price of everything these days. What's there to be done? In general I find it's worth it. I don't want to have to pay to use this website or watch videos on YouTube, nor do I want to pay double the price for my next guidebook to offset the lost ad revenue as well as the lower sales.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

Thanks Bill,,very fucking helpful.

I did 3 guides and netted maybe $200

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

Doesn't impact me. Hopefully helps the author make some money.

If there are no ads would you be willing to pay the actual price of a guide book? I would do it for area I go to a lot but I would be less likely to just pick up a book for a trip (like I did for NC, which I may never climb in again).

sarcasm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 480
john strand wrote:Thanks Bill,,very fucking helpful. I did 3 guides and netted maybe $200
I think Bill's comment was directed at the OP.
Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165

Flip past em. It's a couple of pages. These guys aren't putting out best sellers and making a bunch of money. In some instances they're probably lucky to sell a few hundred books. They are doing painstaking work that takes a lot of time and effort to essentially provide us with a service.

Ben Hoste · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 391

You all make very good points. In a perfect world it'd be nice if they weren't there, that's all I'm saying. But, when thinking about upfront costs and how many copies will actually sell, you guys make a lot of sense. Thanks!

Ben Hoste · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 391
Parker Wrozek wrote:If there are no ads would you be willing to pay the actual price of a guide book? I would do it for area I go to a lot but I would be less likely to just pick up a book for a trip (like I did for NC, which I may never climb in again).
For sure. I have no idea what the price would be, but if we're talking like $60 vs $20, yeah. But then again, I'm into books so I'm sure my breaking point is much higher than others. However, if a book was $200 vs $20...I don't know if I would want to spend that much.
Nicholas Gillman · · Las Vegas · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 331

I'm right there with you , I hate adds in books.

Though to be fair it dosent detract from the info contained within , quality info will still be quality info with or without adds. On the other side of that coin subpar books that are also packed with adds irk me especially when it's the only book for the area and the book collector in me demands I buy it.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
sarcasm wrote: I think Bill's comment was directed at the OP.
Yes it was..

John, Decaf, homes... decaf.
Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 938

To me it's not just the ads that are frustrating, it's the glossy pages and action-photos too.

I prefer guides to be small and light, easy to carry on climbs. When they get bulked out with unnecessary action-photos, heavy glossy paper, and advertisements, that defeats the purpose.

My all time favorite guidebook is the 2nd ed. Swartling guide to Devil's Lake. Comprehensive listing of hundreds of routes (ostensibly 1600+), just enough information to find them, and no frills. While it would be nice if it had a few topos, and perhaps clifftop photos for TR anchors, I'm happy to have those omitted to ensure the book fits in a pocket.

Contrast that with the new NC Piedmont guide which is slender enough, but bloated with unnecessary junk. Two consecutive pages of a shirtless, muscle-bound, purple-hued climber's back and bald head are not only ugly, but totally superfluous.

Even worse are the 10 lb. bricks that pass for guides, like the Brock guide to Red Rocks. You end up tearing the pages out to carry up multi-pitch climbs (ok, these days you take snapshots with your smart phone instead). Still, if it was a set of slender volumes--perhaps one per canyon--then you could just carry the one that's useful for the day.

I don't know if skipping the glossy paper and extra photos would cut back on the price enough that the adverts would be unnecessary. But if it balances out, I'd absolutely buy the basic edition over the premium every time.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Dylan B. wrote:To me it's not just the ads that are frustrating, it's the glossy pages and action-photos too. I prefer guides to be small and light, easy to carry on climbs. When they get bulked out with unnecessary action-photos, heavy glossy paper, and advertisements, that defeats the purpose. My all time favorite guidebook is the 2nd ed. Swartling guide to Devil's Lake. Comprehensive listing of hundreds of routes (ostensibly 1600+), just enough information to find them, and no frills. While it would be nice if it had a few topos, and perhaps clifftop photos for TR anchors, I'm happy to have those omitted to ensure the book fits in a pocket. Contrast that with the new NC Piedmont guide which is slender enough, but bloated with unnecessary junk. Two consecutive pages of a shirtless, muscle-bound, purple-hued climber's back on hard climbs are not only ugly, but totally superfluous. Even worse are the 10 lb. bricks that pass for guides, like the Brock guide to Red Rocks. You end up tearing the pages out to carry up multi-pitch climbs (ok, these days you take snapshots with your smart phone instead). Still, if it was a set of slender volumes--perhaps one per canyon--then you could just carry the one that's useful for the day. I don't know if skipping the glossy paper and extra photos would cut back on the price enough that the adverts would be unnecessary. But if it balances out, I'd absolutely buy the basic edition over the premium every time.
Use a copier to scan the page you need that day. The phone works great til the battery dies :( Not to say one or two of my guidebooks don't have pages of backcountry routes torn from them.
Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 938
Bill Kirby wrote: Use a copier to scan the page you need that day. The phone works great til the battery dies :( Not to say one or two of my guidebooks don't have pages of backcountry routes torn from them.
Photocopies are fine at your home crag, but not so much when you're camping somewhere far from home and you don't have an advance plan on exactly what you're going to climb every day.

All I'm saying is that portability is one of the prime virtues of a good guidebook, along with accuracy and comprehensiveness. When one of these is sacrificed in favor of some other aspect--style, cost, whatever--it reduces the quality of the guide IMO.
Randy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 1,521

With full color guides being the expected norm, and most climbers wanting more detailed information for approach, descent, sun/shade, gear, cliff photos, maps, etc., and an absolute increase in the number of routes, guides are bigger and more expensive to produce and print. As mentioned, advertising helps defray some of the costs and have been common for a while now.

If you are doing a longer route and need to take a description with you, a piece of paper and pencil solves the problem.

sarcasm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 480

Ok, so to sum up some people like the big glossy, detailed, "pretty" guides, and others would prefer much less.
So, we good here?

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,772
Randy wrote:If you are doing a longer route and need to take a description with you, a piece of paper and pencil solves the problem.
Dude...I didn't pay all that money for the sweet new guidebook to have to write my own route topo! That's what my digi camera or phone is for...ha ha.

Cheers! (And, I still need to pick up your latest!).
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

The adds are actually really cool to look at when your guide is 20 something years old.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

i cant believe no one mentioned that the ads help offset the cost...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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