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Redundancies expected as Lonely Planet reduces global publishing operations; Melbourne office to close ‘almost entirely’

Lonely Planet will reduce its publishing operations with immediate effect, including essentially shuttering its Melbourne and London offices, due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

In an email to staff seen by Books+Publishing, Lonely Planet managing director for publishing Piers Pickard said ‘significant numbers of roles are affected globally’, and the board is proposing to ‘almost entirely’ close operations in Melbourne and London. Books+Publishing is seeking to confirm the number of staff currently employed in the Melbourne office, but understands that only three Melbourne-based staff will be retained. According to Pickard, staff in Dublin, London, Melbourne and other locations will now be going through a period of consultation.

Pickard said Lonely Planet will continue to publish guidebooks and phrasebooks from the Dublin office. A representative from the company’s Melbourne office confirmed to Books+Publishing that after completing its list for 2020 the publisher will cease publishing the Lonely Planet magazine and will not commission any new inspirational titles ‘for the time being’.

Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, who established the company with his wife, Maureen, in 1972, told Books+Publishing he was surprised to have been contacted by Lonely Planet’s sales and marketing department about the changes. ‘If it’s true I’m very disappointed … I would have thought that there would be something from someone at the top of the organisation and that hasn’t been the case.

‘I’m a little bit amazed … it just seems to me that this is jumping the gun a little bit.’

Lonely Planet declined to comment further.


Category: Local news