Archive for August 2011

03 Aug, 2011 | Posted by: st

Timeliness is a Virtue

Updating in the Ebook and App Era

By Lee Foster

As I was updating my Yosemite article ( for inclusion in my forthcoming ebook Northern California Nature Travel (Spring 2012), I was reminded of how different the updating process is in the new era of ebooks and apps, as opposed to the former era of printed books.

Modern Internet readers are merciless and demanding when it comes to content being up to date. They will scold you, or worse yet, they will ignore you if you fail them.
I am in the process of updating all 200 of my articles and their accompanying photos at because a new website has licensed the use of all of them and because I want to use some of them in my own future ebooks. I save myself from embarrassment by updating each article before it is absorbed by this new client or my new ebooks.


Can photos actually be out of date? They certainly can.

Beware especially of city skylines in the more architecturally booming places.
I have some strong photos of Orlando, but the skyline has changed. If I make a fool of a photo editor by recommending those out-of-date images, I will lose that client. Clothing is another issue. I remember how a photo editor at Outside Magazine scolded me for presenting some ski photos from Jackson Hole. “Those outfits on the skiers are at least 5 years old,” she lamented. I didn’t divulge to her that I had photographed the skiers while I was wearing the same “classic” or “legacy” outfit I wore in the 1990s. Only some things change, and only to some people.

One benefit of the new digital era is that much of the volatile information can be indicated with a link. Rather than insist that the Veal Parmesan dish is $16.95, as might have been necessary in a former printed travel guide book, I can simply indicate that the price is moderate and refer the reader to the clickable restaurant menu. In this manner, I am saved from hyperinflation destroying the credibility of my article/photos about Brazil or Croatia.


Using Google/Yahoo/Bing Search for words and for images makes the process of updating much more efficient, accurate, and less costly than in the old days. But beware of “cached” websites that may be showing you something that no longer exists. In the Internet era, things don’t always actually die. Some get “cached” and live on eternally.

When you make a mistake or have something out of date in an electronic product, it is much easier to resolve the problem than it was in the era of printed books. For example, I misspelled the name of a restaurateur in my app Berkeley Essential Guide. He let me know how he was mightily offended, and he assured me that the world revolved around him. I was able to correct his name in the next update, a month later, not having to wait until perhaps 3,000 books were sold.


Lee Foster,
Foster Travel Publishing, PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705, (510) 549-2202, lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at
Two new photo travel guidebooks at
Latest thoughts on travel at
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at