What if your supermarket refused to sell Coke, or Best Buy only sold Disney DVDs?


WH Smith, one of the most powerful and prevalent bookstore chains in the United Kingdom, has shocked the book world by signing a contract promising it will sell only travel guide books published by Penguin in its some 460 shops.

From now on, no other guide books will be sold at WH Smith, despite the fact that it's often the only bookstore permitted to operate at countless train stations and airports.

That means any company that publishes a guide book offering an alternative view will now be shut out. No more Lonely Planet, no more Time Out, no more Fodor's, no more Frommer's, Berlitz, Brandt, or Michelin.

As the Daily Telegraph points out, this new deal is bad for consumers, and it sets an alarming precedent. Rough Guides, a dying Penguin imprint, offers about 80 titles, while Lonely Planet, which is now banished, has about 500. Penguin's diminishing market share is a big reason it was desperate enough to cut this deal.