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Footprint Books are a publisher of guidebooks based in Bath in the UK. Particularly noted for their coverage of Latin America, their South American Handbook, first published in 1924, is in its 85th edition. The company now publish more than 90 titles covering over 150 destinations. Among the country guides published, there are five handbooks that are updated annually. These are: South American Handbook, South Africa Handbook, Southeast Asia Handbook, India Handbook and Mexico and Central America Handbook. Since 2008, all destination guides are published in hardback.

The initial focus on travel has recently broadened to include activity and lifestyle guides on topics such as travel photography, travelling with children, wine tourism, mountain biking, diving, surfing, skiing, snowboarding and body and soul retreats.


South American Handbook

Footprint’s most well-known book is their flagship South American Handbook. Currently in its 85th edition, it is the longest running travel guide in the English language.


In 1921, exports were booming in South America and the federation of British industry decided to go about creating a handbook for businessmen trading in the continent. The Anglo-South American Handbook was first published that year written by W Koebel. Two editions later the book was 'privatised' and in 1924, in the hands of the Royal Mail, the steamship company for South America, it became the South American Handbook, subtitled ‘South America in a Nutshell’. At the time, travel was by sea and the handbook gave all the details needed for the long voyage from Europe, including a full account of the journey from Liverpool up the Amazon to Manaus, some 5,898 miles without changing cabin. It also imparted such invaluable etiquette advice as to 'pack a good saddle and a set of starched collars'.

The handbook continued to be published annually and received updates from readers, including figures such as Paul Theroux and the novelist Graham Greene, who addressed his updates to 'The publishers of the best travel guide in the world, Bath, England'.

During the 1990s the company started developing a new travel guide series using the South American Handbook title as the flagship. By 1997 there were over a dozen guides in the series and the Footprint imprint was launched.

The series grew quickly and in 2004, Footprint launched its first thematic guide: Surfing Europe. This was followed by further thematic guides such as Diving the World, Snowboarding the World, Body and Soul escapes, Travel with Kids and European City Breaks.

Official History

The Footprint Story, the official history of the company, is included in the majority of Footprint’s publications.

External links



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