Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guinness Book of Records Fails To Acknowledge Books: WTF?

I stumbled upon a copy of the brand new Guinness World Records 2016 when I visited a Barnes & Noble superstore in New York City.  The book colorfully lists and illustrates thousands of records and amazing feats, from sports and science, to construction and wealth.  However, nowhere to be found were any mentions of books.

Even in the section on media and leisure, one couldn’t find anything about the book industry, authors, books, or the world of book publishing.  There were listings about YouTube, theater, videogames, music, television, comics, streaming, apps, music, movies, the Internet… but no books!

There certainly must be some interesting or odd records that could be tabulated and presented, such as these:

·         Most books read by one person
·         Most pages for a book
·         Most books in a series
·         Most annual editions of a book
·         Most bestsellers for an author
·         Most books sold by an author in a lifetime
·         Most books turned into movies for an author
·         Most weeks on a bestseller list for an author
·         Rarest book or oldest book
·         Highest price paid for a book
·         Most books written by an author
·         Most books written about a specific person

Surprisingly in a book about records, there’s no mention of books.  Tens of billions of dollars is spent on books each year.  Books inform society, define culture, record history, and serve as tools to inspire action.  But they don’t seem to be worthy of mention in the book that believes it important to highlight that:

·         3 dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic
·         15 million plastic bottles are used daily in the UK
·         A man once carried 429 cans, weighing 381 pounds, on his head
·         There’s now a 1 in 250 chance a birth results in identical twins
·         The longest beard measured 8 feet, 2.5 inches
·         The average global life expectancy for a woman (71) is five years more than men (66)
·         There are about 6,000 lizard species
·         A flying bee registers 200 wingbeats per second
·         A panda spends 15 hours a day eating
·         One million recycled phones yield 75 extracted ponnds of gold
·         Bill Gates is the richest man with a fortune of 79.2 billion bucks
·         The largest personal fortune made from a film franchise belongs to George Lucas (Star Wars) at $5 billion

Are books not as sexy as rugby, rowing, or butterflies?  It seems everything else made it in here but books.  It also appears – but I don’t have proof – that the book is mixing in paid content, otherwise what explains full pages devoted to Mindcraft, Legos, and Star Wars?

When we think of records, we think of amazing feats that test the human body and mind, true accomplishments of the odd, amazing, and mind-boggling.  But the current edition seems to cater too much to the trends of the day, rendering some of its listings meaningless or diluted.

It still holds interesting records and factoids about the feats of animals, machines, nature, and people, but I would hope that Guinness World Records, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, gets back to being what was – a legendary standard-bearer for verifying and recording records in a way that was useful and meaningful.  To snub books is hard to fathom, but for that disgraceful transgression I rate the book a B+.

It fielded over 39,000 record submissions last year.  Weren’t any for books?  Weren’t any records from the past six decades connected to books at all?  In a world of billions of book readers, I would think it a record to not have any book-related records!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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