I'd like to discuss if we should really close questions concerning recommendations of travel guides.

For example we have closed this question:

Can anyone recommend me a good travel book about the area Black Forest in Germany?

For me this is clearly on topic, since the OP is looking for a very specific guide and his requirements are also quite specific.

So should we close questions that are asking for recommendations for travel guides if they're really specific and therefore only have a limited number of answers?

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, the problem here is not that it's asking for a book, but that the question is subjective. Ways to phrase an objective question on the same topic would be:

  • What travel books for the Black Forest cover X, Y, and Z?
  • What travel books for the Black Forest have received a lot of good reviews?
  • What travel books for the Black Forest have sold many copies?

Then it could be open. But just a good book is too subjective.


For this particular question, I don't think the requirements are specific enough to warrant reopening it -- "hiking" and "castles" seem to be the only real requirements. Pretty sure that any extensive writeup on the topic should suit the OP. And most of those books would be illustrated anyway.

A cursory search on Amazon for "Germany castles" yielded sufficient number of results. Unless the OP is really into castles (and if they are, this is not the most suitable place to ask), I'm sure they would be able to find an adequate book on the topic -- there are enough comments, recommendations and reviews on most of the titles, from people who actually bought and read the books.

Generally, finding a good book on a particular topic is your classic shopping recommendation question -- it's very easy to find loads of them, and what is "good" is very subjective. Unless very specific criteria are listed and the author demonstrates that they did searched for a book covering their favourite topic, these questions are more of an excuse not to do one's research and should be closed.

  • 1
    I see you point, but in my opinion, the requirements are quite specific: It should be a bout the black forest (a very small subset of Germany), it should be about castles and hiking between these castles, and it should be in colors and not black/white, and it should be in English. Using a quick Amazon search query, I couldn't really find a book that matches all criteria. Nov 20, 2012 at 13:45
  • If we push this argument further we can close a lot of questions. A cursory search on Google for "whatever" will yield sufficient number of results.
    – user3470
    Nov 20, 2012 at 19:47
  • 3
    @MarcelC.: Why should the argument be pushed further? I'm talking only about shopping recommendation question, and it has been a long-standing SE policy that those should be allowed treated with prejudice. If I were to look for a book on castles in Germany, my first instinct would be indeed to start from Google or Amazon, and ask on a travel site or whatever if I'm unable to find a result. As I mentioned, asking a question should not be an excuse to not do one's homework, especially when a question is easily answerable and subjective. Nov 20, 2012 at 19:54
  • That's exactly my point. There are a lot of questions where people have not properly done their homework. Thus pushing further your reasoning would mean that they would all have to be closed.
    – user3470
    Nov 20, 2012 at 21:25
  • @MarcelC.: Please feel free to bring such questions to our attention in a meta post or by voting to close them, preferably accompanied by a constructive comment. Nov 21, 2012 at 5:12

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