I am going on several vacations this summer and am contemplating which are the better travel guides to take with me. I was wondering if the content in a larger; i.e., Eastern Europe, guide is equivalent to the content in a smaller guide, i.e., Budapest.
We use Lonely Planet guides for Eastern Europe. They seem to be more comprehensive than the blue and yellow ones.
If you're asking about Rick's guides, the answer is "it depends."
If the book is called Snapshot, it is excerpted from a larger guide. For instance, Rick Steves Snapshot Normandy has the same information as the Rick Steves France book.
If the book is not called Snapshot, it has more information. For instance, Rick Steves Paris and Rick Steves Provence And The French Riviera have much more information than the Rick Steves France book (the Provence book in particular; there are whole places that it covers that the general France book does not).
Whether or not you will find the extra information useful is another question. For a short visit to Budapest, the Eastern European guide should be sufficient; for a longer visit or with more specialized interests, the Budapest book (with more side trips, sections on shopping, etc) will be helpful.
Many of us cut up the books and take only the relevant sections, or photocopy the relevant sections and leave the rest at home. And many of us supplement Rick with other guidebooks, to get different opinions. For Budapest, I found the Frommer's Budapest particularly helpful.
Harold's description of Rick's book design is accurate. Rick's Eastern Europe book has adequate coverage for most visits to Budapest, plus Eger & Pecs. The Budapest book has addition museum tour and walking tour descriptions and chapters for Sopron and the Danube Bend. If Lonely Planet or another brand has a book titled Hungary, it will usually cover more towns than these.
Thank you everyone. All the information has been very helpful!