10 Amazing World Records associated with Books

Posted by Nyameko I. Bottoman (Guest Writer)

The written word is arguably one of mankind's greatest inventions behind the printing press and ink. It allowed us the ability to not only pass on information but to also ensure the integrity of that information. When the printing press came into being books could be enjoyed by almost everyone.  People could appreciate religion, learn about other cultures, explore new worlds and even read up on the extraordinary achievements of others. The Guinness book of records is one of the most famous examples of such books.  

In the pages of this globally-recognised record book you will find some astonishing feats such as the man with the longest nails or the man with the most spoons balanced on a human body. Some of these world records can seem a little bizarre such as the most people running in Sumo suits. It’s no surprise that Books have also made it into the Guinness World Records. This article will focus on the Top 10 book-related records. We will look some of the most bizarre, inspiring and awesome records out there.

1. Most Books Toppled in Domino Fashion

Photo of Books Toppling in Domino Fashion at Frankfurt Book Fair 2015

© Copyright: Sinners Domino Entertainment

If you are interested in what can be done with dominoes, and in this case books, then Sinners Domino Entertainment is one for you to follow. This Germany-based group holds over 11 world records. In this instance, they managed to achieve the record of the most books toppled like dominos. They strategically assembled an incredible 10,200 to achieve this stunt during the Frankfurt Book Fair on the 14th of October 2015. They also were able to make this attempt part of the launch of the German wing of the Guinness World Records 2016 book. No need to guess which book was used for the record attempt!

The Sinners Domino Entertainment concept is the brainchild of Patrick Sinner and developed from his fascination with domino chain reactions. 2013 saw the firm offer their expertise to companies, agencies, and broadcasters domestically and internationally. They are now the largest full-service provider of designing, planning and executing professional domino-themed corporate events, projects and shows. They also have the largest network of domino builders in the world.

Sinners Domino Entertainment is the organizer of an annual domino toppling event in Germany and currently holds eleven official Guinness World Records titles.

2. Most Expensive Printed Book

Bay Psalm Book

Have you ever wondered how much the most expensive book was sold for? The price was over $14 Million US,  $14,165,000 to be precise. I love books but that is a lot of money! The title-holder for this record is the Bay Psalm Book, which was sold at Sotheby's in New York. The book is old and dates back to 1640. In fact, it is the first book ever printed in British North America. This is one of the reasons it was auctioned for such a high price. The other reason is the relatively low number of copies published by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Only 1700 were produced by the residents. To add value, the book sold at Sotheby's was one of only 11 copies surviving.   

The book was bought by one David Rubenstein, who is a philanthropist and financier. Among his many accomplishments, he is listed as being one of Forbes wealthiest people. He is part of The Carlyle Group, where he is both a Co-Founder and Co-Executive. He is also a Chairman at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Smithsonian is also under his Chairmanship. His net worth is calculated at $3 Billion.

3. Most Contributors to a Comic Book

Comic 365 poster
© Copyright: Aula365

Marvel came and made the comic book world great again. Comic books used to enjoy a strong following but it was very niche. This changed when the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into being. And we are so happy about that! In April 2011 a world record was set in London during Kapow! Comic-Con for 'Fastest Production of a Comic Book' and 'Most Contributors to a Comic Book'. The ‘Superior’ comic issue was conceived and completed in 11 hours, 19 minutes and 38 seconds and involved 62 contributors. However, Aula365, Argentine education and entertainment social network decided to surpass this record. To do this they asked for help from the users of their network to create the award-winning 365 Social Comic.

The project ended up taking 28 weeks, during which website visitors were asked about their vision of the world of tomorrow. The comic book ended up at 21 chapters. With over 3800 participants in over 76 different countries, the comic book was a global collaboration, even though most collaborators were from Latin America and Spain. The best ideas were then voted for by the Aula365 community. In the end, 81 different collaborators were chosen to be in the final product, thus clinching the world record for the book with the most contributors. 

4. Youngest Person to Write a Published Book (Female)

Dorothy Straight with Book

Children really are our future and this world record is a clear demonstration of that fact. The record is for the youngest person to write a published book. Her name is Dorothy Straight and she was aged 4 at the time. She grew up to become an author in her later life. The book she landed in the Guinness Book of Records was “How the World Began” published in August 1064 by Pantheon Books.

Dorothy's Father is Micheal Straight the author. Her school put on a production of Noye’s Fludde in the Benjamin Britten adaptation when she was a pre-kindergarten student. Many think this is what inspired her to write. Her record-breaking book was the result of her mother asking her: Who made the world? This led to her writing and illustrating the book all in one evening. The illustrations are very mainstream Kindergarten showing off the refreshing use of color and shape prominent in that style of art. In her book she goes so far as to fill in the holes left out by normal creation stories, e.g. first God invented the jungle and wild animals followed by him/her looking at pins, threads, the birds and the bees. The book gives such a clear impression of the things that are important to children.

5. Youngest Person to Write a Bilingual Book

Saarth Khanna Sohum holding his book, Giant Twoe.
© Copyright: Anuj Khanna Sohum

There is nothing like watching a new author being born. Every time a new book gets written a fairy gets its wings, an orc gets a new sword, and a new planet gets its caramel candy floss atmosphere. The point is they create realities that didn't exist before. So when one starts writing and publishing at a young age, it's amazing because of the potential they have. Which brings us to this award: The youngest person to write a bilingual book. This record lies in the hands of 8-year-old Saarth Khanna Sohum of Singapore who published "Giant Twoe and 100 Beanstalks." in 2007 when he was 6 years and 60 days. It was published by Sterling New Horizon Pvt. Ltd of India.  

Giant Twoe and 100 Beanstalks" is a story about friendship, adventure, and golden angels. Yuppy & Kuppy are 6 & 7-year-old kids who live on Sentosa island. They climb the beanstalk and make friends with Giant Twoe, a 3-year-old baby giant. Giant Twoe is the descendant of Giant Blundlerbore from the classic story Jack and the Beanstalk. This book includes a play script for children, interactive games and bilingual editions in Hindi and Mandarin (Simplified Chinese). 

6. Largest Writing Competition

Largest Writing Competition: Brain Hunt, The Quest for Wonder Kidz!
© Copyright: Dainik Bhaskar Group

This is about a writing competition that ended up in three record books. The Dainik Bhaskar Group is responsible for putting together the largest writing competition in the world. Titled ‘Brain Hunt, The Quest for Wonder Kidz!’ this was a national level creative contest for young Indians aged 6 to 16 years. After achieving a Guinness World Record for Junior Editor 2011, this competition set another benchmark with an overwhelming response of 300,874 entries between 1st February 2012 and the 4th of July 2012, gaining another entry in the famous Guinness Book of World Records along with an official record in the India Book of Records and the Limca Book of Records.

DB Corp Ltd is the largest newspaper group in India. They are sometimes informally called the Dainik Bhaskar Group. They have 66 editions in 4 languages across 12 states.  The group is majority-owned by the Bhopal-based Agarwal family.

7. Highest Earning Writer of Adult Fiction

E.L. James

If we look purely at book sales and earnings in a single year then the author of the 50 shades trilogy is the most successful author of adult fiction. Her name is Erika Leonard James, her works are published under E.L. James. She accomplished this feat during the period of June 2012 to June 2013. She made a $95 million. The previous holder was American writer James Patterson who had made $91 million over the same 12 months.

E.L. James was born on the 7th of March 1963. She is most famous for having penned the fifty shades trilogy, which took the world by a storm. The trilogy includes Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. These books also come with companion books. Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian and Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian. The books were based on the Twilight fan fiction Master of the Universe where she wrote under Snowqueen's Icedragon.

The novels have sold over 125 million copies worldwide, over 25 million of those copies were sold in the USA alone. She was able to set the record in the United Kingdom for the selling most paperback of all time. She also became one of Time magazine's “World's 100 Most Influential People” for 2012.

8. Fastest Selling Fiction Book in 24 Hours

J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series was a force of nature in society. It took over pop culture and still hasn't quite let go of that grip. The series finale ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ was the seventh book and it also became the fastest selling book in history. It sold 8.3 million copies in just the first 24 hours. That means 345,833 books an hour. The 24 hours started at 00.01 on July 21st, 2007 in the US.

The author also has the record of Highest Annual Earnings for a children's author with an estimated $300 million between the years 2007 and 2008. This figure is according to the Forbes Celebrity 100 list on 11 June 2008.

We know her as J.K. Rowling but her full name is Joanne Rowling. She was born on the 31st of July 1965 in Bristol. She later grew up in Gloucestershire in England and later in Chepstow, Gwent, in south-east Wales.

She was born to father Peter, a Bristol aircraft engineer with the Rolls Royce factory, and Anne, a science technician in the Chemistry department at Wyedean Comprehensive. JK was to later study there herself. When JK was a teenager her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and subsequently died in 1990 before the publishing of Harry Potter.
J.K. grew up in a house filled with books. "I lived for books,'' she has said. "I was your basic common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles." Her aspirations to be a writer started from a very young age. In fact, her first book was called "Rabbit" and was written when she was just 6 years old. It was about … a rabbit. Eleven saw her write her first novel about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them. As you can see she was destined to be a great author.

9. Most Abandoned Book

Simon Cowell's book, The Unauthorised Biography

Simon Cowell has the honor or dishonor of having the most abandoned book in the world. His biography: Simon Cowell: The Unauthorised Biography by Chas Newkey-Burden is the book in question. This title was earned after a 2010 survey of thousands of books left behind by guests at 452 Travelodge hotels in Britain, which showed the book at the top of the list.
The biography is full of original interviews with people the outspoken pop mogul and TV talent judge has worked with over the years. No matter your opinion of him, it cannot be denied that he has had an undeniable effect on the entertainment industry. His humble beginnings in the EMI mail room led to him becoming a top A&R executive. He became famous when he was a judge in the TV talent shows Pop Idol and American Idol. He also created the shows: The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, which are watched by millions every year.

10. World's Highest Library

World’s Highest Library at the JW Marriot Hotel, Shanghai China.
© Copyright: Marriot Group

If you have an issue with heights then this may not be the library for you. This world record is set by the JW Marriot Hotel for having the highest library in the world. The library is on the 60th floor of the hotel in Tomorrow Square, Shanghai China. This puts it at 230.9 m (757 ft 6 in) above street level.           

Library membership is open to the public and its collection is ever expanding from its 103 shelves filled with both Chinese and English books.

World records are amazing and they give us something to aspire to. As a bookworm and writer, I really want to achieve a record like the ones above. There are other book-related Guinness World Records out there. Maybe you can attend an event where an attempt is being made or held in a place like the JW Marriot in Shanghai. Either way, few things are better than adding a little competition to the world’s original pastime, reading.

Nyameko I. Bottoman is a freelance writer and ESL teacher based in Asia.

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