Frequent casual allusions to guidebooks in the tourism literature suggest their significance in contemporary tourist experience. Yet beyond the dominant discourses of literary and historical textual analysis, focused interpretation of the role of guidebooks in the tourism system is rare. This article aims to stimulate debate concerning the role of the guidebook in contemporary tourism and to identify how the guidebook is represented in the context of popular media. Results from a content analysis of representations of the guidebook in Australian print media between 2000 and 2009 suggest guidebooks are perceived both negatively and positively within journalistic discourse, that they are framed as significant facilitators of visitor experience and tourism development, and that an extensive range of travel guidebooks in both book and digital form available to consumers reflects the recent evolution in independent travel. Future guidebook-specific research objectives are identified.