The 2015 edition of the book
|Publisher||World Almanac Books|
|Media type||Printed Book|
|Preceded by||The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2014|
|Followed by||The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2016|
The World Almanac and Book of Facts is a US-published reference work and is the bestselling almanac conveying information about such subjects as world changes, tragedies, sports feats, etc. The almanac can be found in homes, libraries, schools, businesses, and media outlets throughout the United States and to a more limited degree in other parts of the world.
It has been published yearly since 1868, except for a ten-year interval beginning in 1876 until publication was resumed in 1886. It was number 1 on the Washington Post bestseller list on November 27, 2011. The 2014 edition (ISBN 978-160057-182-4) has 1,008 pages.
The first edition of The World Almanac was published by The New York World newspaper in 1868 (the name of the publication comes from the newspaper itself, which was known as "The World"). Published just three years after the end of the US Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, its 120 pages of information touched on such events as the process of Reconstruction and the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
Publication was suspended in 1876, but in 1886 famed newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who had purchased The New York World and quickly transformed it into one of the most influential newspapers in the country, revived The World Almanac with the intention of making it "a compendium of universal knowledge." The World Almanac has been published annually ever since.
In 1894, when it claimed more than a half-million "habitual users," The World Almanac changed its name to The World Almanac and Encyclopedia. This was the title it kept until 1923, when it became The World Almanac and Book of Facts, the name it bears today.
In 1906, the New York Times, reporting on the publishing of the 20th edition, said that "the almanac has made for itself a secure position, second only to the forty-year-old Whitaker's Almanac of London, with which alone it can be compared."
Calvin Coolidge's father read from The World Almanac when he swore his son into office. Since then, photos have shown that Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton have also used The World Almanac as a resource.
During World War II, The World Almanac could boast that it was read by GIs all over the world: between 1944 and 1946, at the request of the U.S. Government, The World Almanac had special print runs of 100,000 to 150,000 copies for distribution to the armed forces.
In late December 1984, the 1985 edition reached first place in the category of paperback Advice, How- To and Miscellaneous books, on the New York Times best-seller list, with more than 1,760,000 copies sold at the time.
Over the years The World Almanac has become a household name and has been featured in a number of Hollywood films. For example, Fred MacMurray talks about it with Edward G. Robinson in Double Indemnity (film); Bette Davis screams about it in All About Eve; Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper flirt about it in Love in the Afternoon (1957 film); it is featured in Miracle on 34th Street when a trial is held to see if Santa Claus really exists; Rosie Perez continually reads it in the film White Men Can't Jump; and Will Smith checks his World Almanac for the exact time of sunset so he can set his digital watch in I Am Legend (film).
The World Almanac For Kids has been published annually since 1995.
The 2014 edition of the book
|Publisher||World Almanac Books|
|Preceded by||The World Almanac for Kids 2013|
|Followed by||The World Almanac for Kids 2015|
In 1993 Scripps sold the Almanac to K-III (later Primedia).The World Almanac was sold to Ripplewood Holdings' WRC Media in 1999. Ripplewood bought Reader's Digest and the book was then produced by the World Almanac Education Group, which was owned by The Reader's Digest Association. The World Almanac was sold to Infobase Publishing in 2009.
Some lists published are:
- "Surprising Facts"
- "Number Ones"
- "Americans By the Numbers"
- "Milestone Birthdays"
- "Notable Quotes"
- "Offbeat News"
- "Historical Anniversaries"
Editing and publishing
In the mid-1980s, the almanac was being put together by a 10-member staff. At that time, 20 percent of the book was rarely updated (for example, the text of the Constitution of the United States), 50 percent was updated at least briefly each year, and 30 percent of the content was completely new each year.
As a publication of Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) the World Almanac would publish the NEA NFL All-Pro teams, which were also released to the media. The NEA All-Pro teams were considered the "player's" All-Pro team since creator Murray Olderman, a NEA sports editor, would poll NFL players for the All-Pro team. The NEA All-Pro team ran from 1955 through 1992.
- History of The World Almanac retrieved 2007-12-25
- "The World Almanac for 1906", New York Times, January 20, 1906
- Edwin McDowell, World Almanac Fact: It's a No. 1 Best Seller", New York Times, December 27, 1984
- David Hendin, "'CARMEN SANDIEGO'; Point of Reference", New York Times, letter to the editor, March 29, 1992
Editions in Public Domain
- The World Almanac & Book of Facts. Newspaper Enterprise Association. 1901. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- The World Almanac and Encyclopedia. Press Publishing Company (The New York World). 1911. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- worldalmanac.com (World Almanac website)
- worldalmanacforkids.com (World Almanac for Kids website)
- World Almanac Errors - Internet Accuracy Project
- Booknotes interview with Robert Famighetti on World Almanac and Book of Facts 1999, February 28, 1999.