Lonely Planet India 30th Ed.: 30th Edition Paperback – Aug 25 2011
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About the Author
After finishing a business degree in Melbourne, Sarina bought a one-way ticket to India where she completed a Sheraton corporate traineeship before working as a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent. After four years in the subcontinent she returned to Australia, pursued postgraduate journalism qualifications and wrote/directed an award-nominated documentary film. She has worked on 30 Lonely Planet books, is the author of Polo in India, and has also written articles for many international publications including National Geographic Traveler.
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Top Customer Reviews
Boook full of information,nice details and rewievs.(book have maps too - very helpfull)Little too big ,but if you want tyo travel with it you can still take it apart and just take part you need.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Theoretically the Kindle should be ideal for travel guides. Light, searchable, what could go wrong? Apparently, quite a lot.
In sum, here are the problems with the Kindle version of this travel guide:
1. Maps are unreadable. Either they are condensed onto one page (with miniscule type that is unreadable with a magnifying glass. I actually took a magnifying glass and tried to read it. I couldn't) or split haphazardly where one map is on several pages.
2. Lists are unreadable. Apparently, no one paid attention to formatting the page margins of, say, the list of trains that leave Delhi. The name of the train is listed, as is the fare, but then it cuts off, literally in mid-word. It costs 200 rupees to go to Udai...> Where exactly? I think it means Udaipur, but I can't be sure. Also, I have no idea how long it takes to get to Udai.... This is true for every single such list in the book.
3. The table of contents doesn't really work. Links are nonintuitive and don't really work. In some sections links work differently than the analagous links in other sections.
4. In fact, searching the book is pretty much useless. If you enter Pushkar, it gives you a list of every time the word "Pushkar" appears in the book. Introduction, side notes, glossary, it doesn't care. It also gives you a tiny snippet of text, but not enough to identify if clicking on that will take you to the section on Pushkar, where you can find a hotel, or the index, or some inane note in the beginning in a section about agricultural fairs in India where Pushkar gets mentioned.
All in all, the job of taking this from the print to the Kindle format seems to have been done haphazardly, by separate teams of IT people that apparently never talked to each other, nor compared notes. Additionally, and this I find really unbelievable, apparently no one at LP actually proofread this book. The map and list problems aren't minor. They jump out at you about five minutes after you start reading the book, and they persist.
So, after dropping twenty bucks or so on this thing, I actually had to go and spend more money to pick up the print copy. So I paid for the book, twice.
As far as content goes, it's pretty decent. LP standard, which is better than most. But as far as buying the Kindle edition goes, I cannot recommend against it strongly enough.
The one point that I did not like in this edition was that LP seems to have lessened the geographic size of the maps in the book, and also eliminated some helpful maps that were in the 13th edition (e.g. various maps of the Darjeeling area). So instead of a map showing a larger portion of a city or several different areas of a city, you now get a map showing only the city center/one area but with more detail. In prior versions of the India guide, LP's maps covered larger and more diverse areas. Some people may like the extra detail of the smaller maps, but I personally liked the broader map coverage of past editions.
What is new? The first 82 pages are in colour, so you get colorful maps of Delhi. There are also perspective plans/sketches of Taj Mahal and Red Fort, like the ones in the DK guides. I like them, but I feel they were added at the expense of the maps and places that got removed from the book. Each state has a different introduction too. And there is a fold-out map of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Basically everything is quite different now. We also get 1232 pages vs 1244 pages in the older edition. Also the paper quality is worse and the cover damages easily.
Also there is much less hotels listed and they are not grouped by a budget, midrange and top end category as before, but is some other confusing order.
I don't understand why changing a winning formula?
My advice? If you are going to visit sth more than Delhi and Agra then skip the 14th edition, get yourself the previous one. For my next trip to India I will be using again the 13th edition, the new one stays at home. I hope they get it right in the 15th one, but before bying it I will go to a bookshop and see how it's like. I hope they return to the previous form of maps and add more cities.
To summarize it: I might sound harsh, but I don't like this edition, it is a step back comparing to the previous one (or maybe just step in the wrong direction). 1 star from me, wasted money, as I will not use it for my future trips.
update: LP seems to use this new design for other guidebooks - just got the latest 11th edition of Myanmar guidebook and it is as bad as the new India guide, what a shame...
1. Bookmarks are good for reading books, but not for tagging pages of a travel guide because the bookmark navigation only shows the first sentence of two from the page. Half the time this is not helpful to figure out what was bookmarked, especially basic information like which city or region this page refers to. And when I click on the bookmark to see, it still is not always obvious which section I am reading (see #4).
2. You cannot view two pages at once (side by side) on the PC application so browsing one page at a time is slow and makes it challenging to refer back to the previous (related) page. For example when you are examining a schedule of train times and distances that spans two pages.
3. This book makes major use of links between pages. However it is too easy to follow a link on Kindle for Android to another page in the book, and accidentally hit the phone's back/previous button and end up closing the app. The Kindle Back button is hidden in a menu, requiring two clicks, and my natural tendency is to click the back (hardware) button on the bottom of my phone.
4. When browsing and reading a travel guide I tend to skip around a lot to find interesting places to visit or useful advice. In this case it is too easy to lose track of which city or region I am reading about and there is no visual indicator as to which section of the book I am currently viewing (like highlighted in the table of contents on the left). For example I might be at a page titled "Eating and Drinking" but I cannot tell what city it refers to.
6. Links to "Offline Map" go to the map in the book which is helpful when roaming without a data plan. However the link does not mention which numbered icon on the map is the restaurant, hotel, or attraction in question. You must page forward several times (past the blurry zoomed in map sections) to get to the list of items and then go back to the map, finally remember to hit the Back button to return to the previous section of the book.
I now realize that travel guides to individual cities are great on the Kindle, however ones that are of this scope and magnitude are not useful in electronic format the way Kindle works today. I hope improvements in the future will offer a better reading experience for these type of travel guidebooks so they are not treated like novels.
The book is missing essential links like, well, lets start with the Table of Contents. In theory it is there, but the table of contents contains eight items most of which are useless (I am not kidding, half of the links are...picture of the cover, how to use this book, contact us, about the authors, etc.
Even within cities, the links are terrible. In a number of cases, they actually link to the wrong item. Sometimes it jumps to another city! Did any proofread it. Obviously not, they just wanted to make more money.
The book itself is ok. Coverage of the north is good, coverage of the south is extremely sparse. A random city in the north, say Udaipor, might have 20 hotels listed. A comparable city in the south might have three. Take the City of Ooty (Udhagamanadalam). It is a trekking town (The book reads, "Trekking is pretty much de rigueur in Ooty and the reason most travelers come here). And then they don't recommend any guides or places to go.
This is repeated all over the south.
The guide is also pretty out of date. Prices were two to four times the listed price.
Buy the print edition or buy something else, this ebook is not worth it.