Guinness World Records - Officially Amazing

GWR editorial team takes you behind the scenes of new 2014 book

 
 
 
 
 
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(l-r, Peacock, Glenday, Boatfield, Fall)

You may have heard by now that the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2014 book edition is out.

And you may have also heard some cool facts about the history of GWR’s famous annual, like how it’s the third best-selling book of all time (behind only the Bible and Qur'an) or the most popular book to be stolen from school libraries.

But what you maybe don’t know is anything about the GWR Editorial team, dedicated year-round to putting together one of the most iconic books on the planet.

Here, then, are some thoughts from members of that very team on this year’s amazing new edition.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SPREAD IN THIS YEAR'S BOOK?

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Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief: I love the Superheroes spread (pages 208-209) – it's the first time we've ever dedicated an entire spread to superheroes, and it looks fantastic! Who was the first ever superhero? Who was the first superhero to die? What's the most expensive comic book? All the questions you've ever wanted to ask about these masked marvels.

Stephen Fall, senior managing editor: Ups & Downs (p. 148-149) – I love the new Urban Life chapter, which offers a totally different way of looking at the spaces around us that we so often take for granted. It has everything from a 1,654-foot-high lift shaft to an escalator that rises just 2 feet 8 inches.

Jane Boatfield, publishing manager: The entire Circus (p. 80-91) section is visually stunning. It's the first time we've dedicated an entire section to this subject, and I think it works brilliantly. I also love Live Concerts (p. 212), mostly because Wayne Coyne is my hero

Charlie Peacock, publishing executive: I'd say it would have to be the Pioneers Factfile: Leap of Faith (p. 68-69).  The records that Felix Baumgartner broke are, pardon the pun, heads and shoulders above the rest in terms of magnitude, difficulty, and impressiveness.  It's one of those records that is truly defining.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE RECORD HOLDERS FEATURED?

Peacock: Well, my next favourite record breaker after Felix would have to be Happie the skateboarding goat (above) - I think the record is really in the spirit of Guinness World Records to be inclusive, entertaining and displaying all sorts of weird and wonderful record breakers.

Glenday: There are countless superlative humans this year, but my favourite record holder is probably Fanny the robot dragon! Fanny's a 24,000-lb walking, fire-breathing mechanical dragon – and the world's largest walking robot! I've never seen anything like this before.

Boatfield: Ozzy, the tightrope walking dog! Why? Check out the video in the Awesome Animals ebook. AMAZING! 

Fall: Has to be Colonel Meow, the cat with the longest fur. I love cats anyway and who can resist this mighty specimen?

ONE OF THE COOLEST FEATURES OF THE BOOK IS THE USE OF AUGMENTED REALITY. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT IT? 

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Glenday: AR continues to amaze me. We're doing different things with it this year, including virtual reality – in which you can see the 360-degree view from the top of Mount Everest – and the fantastic "Photo Booth" feature, which allows you to take a photograph of someone and give them record-breaking features such as the largest afro, the most protruding eyes, the longest tongue and the widest mouth.

Peacock: The Everest feature is very cool – it's the closest most of us will ever get to actually being at the top of the world!

Fall: It's great that we can bring record holders to life in such a visually striking way. We wanted to keep the book itself central to the reader's experience, and the AR does that while providing something extra.

Boatfield: The kids LOVE it! It's great to see their awestruck faces when they see it for the first time. 

WHICH PARTS OF THE BOOK WERE MOST DIFFICULT TO PULL OFF?

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Boatfield: Mind & Memory was quite tricky. Although the records are fascinating, they're not that visually appealing.

Peacock: I think from my perspective the most difficult spreads were the Circus ones, because they are an absolute pig to convert for translation and we had to do a lot on them to make them work in the international editions [Ed. note: the Guinness World Records book is available in more than two dozen languages].

Glenday: Creating the Prehistoric Life spread was a bit of a challenge! For the dinosaurs spread, of course, we have no photos, so I decided to use toy dinosaurs – the idea was to photograph them and work them into a snapshot of a familiar location that readers would recognise. I chose Trafalgar Square in London, as it's usually packed with tourists. [Our designers have] done a wonderful job, and the spread really shows you the immensity of these prehistoric creatures.

Fall: On the other end, City of the Future was a challenging one. How do you illustrate and write about something that doesn't exist yet? The spread has fun asking "What if?"

If you had to describe this year’s edition in five words or fewer, how would you?

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Glenday: You only need two words to describe this year's book: Officially Amazing! [Ed. note: that’s a lot more than five words, but we guess preambles don’t count]

Boatfield: Yet another Officially Amazing publication!

Peacock: The best thing on paper!

Fall: Life, the universe and everything.

The Guinness World Records 2014 book edition is on sale now at all major retailers. Find a full list here. Three iBooks are also available now at the iTunes store: "Awesome Animals," (free download), "Colossal Constructions," and "Incredible People."

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