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Monday, February 08, 2010

Lonely Planet: Almost perfect travel guide!

I often say- when it is just close to the perfection, even a small mistake seems bigger than it is in the real. That small error of yours can ruin all your efforts of making your creation perfect to the T. The Indian edition of ‘Lonely Planet’ magazine which is launched last week in India by WWM Pvt Ltd (also publisher of Filmfare, Femina – English and Hindi, Good Housekeeping, Top Gear, Hello, Grazia etc.) is a latest entrant in travelling space in Indian market.

37 years old brand LP (Lonely Planet) has around 500 guides and claims the sale of 6.5 million books every year. LP has introduced its magazine in UK last year and now it is released in India where it has to compete with already existing players (Outlook Traveler, Travel Plus, Discover India, Travel + Leisure, Express Travel World – B2B etc.) in travel space.


The editorial structure of LP magazine is quite disciplined. Entire magazine is divided into proper sections that help a reader to navigate it at ease. Postcards, Easy trips, Features, Insider, and Mini guides are its editorial strength. With this kind of structure one can be easily familiar and comfortable with the magazine. Quality of articles, depth of information is really impactful and writing is also enjoyable.

The ratio of Indian and International destinations clearly shows that this magazine is not for an average Indian reader who mostly travels with family during kids’ school vacations. It is surely not for those whom travelling is just visiting their native place and carrying Paraathe-achaar-Poori-saangri-Thepla-Khaakhra etc for the journey. Cover stories of launch issue clearly define its positioning that it is meant for urban upper class only.


Overall presentation of the magazine is good and is quite pleasant while browsing. But, as I have mentioned in the beginning that if small mistakes here and there could be taken care, it could have been just flawless and it could have set new standards in its space.

Inside pages are laid out with reasonable consistency while there are few mistakes here and there in some pages. But, the cover of launch issue is just a blunder. It has lots of inconsistencies and that shows lack of design philosophy and in result it has turned out as a bad cover.

The core strength of the magazine are its beautiful photographs (except a very few) and brilliant illustrations and info-graphics used is the articles.


As per the demand of this kind of content, printing should be absolutely excellent. And, LP magazine is just perfect at its printing front. Accordingly, prepress work is also perfect to bring out the final result.

The geographical maps which are very fine printed are just sharp and so clear that they have come out quite conveniently readable.


Launch issue of LP has 230 pages and it is priced at Rs.100. Looking at the content, presentation and the overall product, this cover price of this monthly magazine is quite justified. Mini Guides in this magazine are given in the form of a set of 16 thick pages which can be torn and collect separately. One beautiful calendar is also available along with every copy of this issue.

As conclusion, I would say that Lonely Planet Magazine is going to set new standards in travel magazines’ space. With a few tweaks in the product it can be the essential handbook for every traveler. It is going to give serious competition to existing magazines as well as it will make tough entry for ‘Condé Nast Traveler’ (which is also about to launch in country very soon) unless everybody creates his own undisputed and unique position.

Content ......................: ●●●●○
Design & Layout ............: ●●●◐○
Printing ......................: ●●●●◐
Product ......................: ●●●●◐
Value for Money .............: ●●●●◐
‘VIRDI’CT ....................: ●●●●○

How to use ‘VIRDI’CT..??
●○○○○ Browse & leave it
●●○○○ Borrow & Read it
●●●○○ Buy it occasionally
●●●●○ Buy regularly
●●●●● Subscribe it now!!!


Shikha said...

Good critique! Bach gaye;)

G.S.Virdi said...

Hi Shikha,

Because it has got contribution from brilliant writers like you!

Really a good product and definitely can be the best in this space if a few things could be fixed.

Best regards,


Vardhan said...

Thanks for the review!
Could you give me some specifics on what you thought was wrong with the cover?
Any other bits we could improve?
Vardhan Kondvikar
(could you mail me?

G.S.Virdi said...

Sure Vardhan, I will mail it to you soon.



G.S.Virdi said...

It is really great and so much encouraging to receive all your comments as the response to my critiques on magazines. I was just overwhelmed yesterday when I received a call from Mr. Sai - Dy. Managing Director, ITP Publishing India - that he also follows my blog (MAGWORLD) on regular basis and he bought a copy of LONELY PLANET INDIA magazine only after reading my review on the same. Thanks for your acknowledgment my fridnds!