CommentaryMay 11th, 2017
Bradt thriving off the beaten track
North Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Sierra Leone—they are not destinations on many holiday-makers’ wishlists, but they have been among the recent remarkable success of travel publisher and Firsty client, Bradt.
Bradt had its best ever year in both turnover and profits in 2016—an eye-catching achievement at a time when many travel publishers have suffered big falls in sales. Nielsen BookScan figures suggest that sales in the print sector roughly halved between 2005 and 2014, with ebooks, apps and smartphones all stealing share from publishers. But the last two years have seen a return to modest growth in travel books, and Bradt has led the charge. ‘There’s been lots of talk about the death of the guidebook, but we’ve definitely seen a resurgence,’ says managing director Adrian Phillips.
What’s behind the revival? For one thing, the number of people travelling overseas has increased. But Bradt’s strength owes much more to its unique specialism: as a publisher of guides to countries that are well off the beaten track. From little pockets of Africa like Equatorial Guinea to troublespots like Iraq to far-flung regions like Lapland, Bradt has developed a reputation for guides to countries that are covered by few, if any, other publishers. Individually, sales of these books are never going to rival those of guides to mainstream holiday spots. But put together, they add up to something pretty substantial.