Mere weeks after Google said it would be discontinuing print editions of the famous Frommer’s travel guidebooks, Arthur Frommer has reportedly spent an undisclosed sum to buy the rights to his name back from Google and will continue to publish the books in both print and ebook versions, in an apparent backlash at Google’s plans.
Google bought the name in August 2012 from publishers John Wiley & Sons for about $22 million. The deal also secured Google’s access to Frommer’s travel database. In acknowledging the deal today, Google said it has indeed returned the brand and will license “certain travel content” to Frommer. Speculation is now buzzing online about exactly what’s gone on, but it would seem likely that Google was really after some core elements of Frommer’s business so it could improve its own maps and recommendations engines. The brand itself probably wasn’t of much use, and the mention of licensing of content to Frommer suggests that Google is keeping important data for continuing use.