Dan Ackman on the story behind the Guinness World Records book. An excerpt:
The Guinness book got its start as a volume designed to help settle bar bets. The beer company, which sold the rights to the book in 1992, delivered it to pubs as a promotion for its primary product. A generation ago, the book had the look of an almanac. But in recent years, the book (now owned by Vancouver billionaire Jim Pattison) has contained a lot more color photography -- the 2009 edition has a 3-D spread -- and has become a commercial juggernaut in its own right, selling 3.5 million copies annually, Mr. Glenday says. The book's current look and feel and the persistent repackaging are because "we want people to buy it every year, not every 10 years, like a dictionary."