IX. Travel Books > Introduction
Advances in transportation and communication facilitated travel not just in the United States but all over the world in the nineteenth century. Guide books and stories about cities and places visited by travelers were staples of the publishing industry. Accounts of daring exploration in such exotic places as Africa and the Polar Regions became bestsellers. The covers of these books served as enticing windows on the worlds their texts represented. Gold stamping was a favored means of binding decoration for travel literature, although it began to experience some competition in the 1880s from black and color stamping.