When I was traveling around Asia in 2000, Lonely Planet guidebooks were the source I would turn to. Not sure when I actually purchased my first one, but I regularly perused copies in bookstores until I did. And I would see them all around Bangkok, especially on Khao San Road, where I was staying. You could buy new editions or second-hand ones. At the time, I didn't know any names behind Lonely Planet. Eventually, though, I discovered that the author of the first Lonely Planet on Thailand was Joe Cummings, an American author/explorer/musician who, at the time, was residing in Chiang Mai. Wish I could have met him!