Record holder with a delicate touch

If Jonty Hurwitz were to exhale right now, years of work would have been for nothing. The elephant created by the British sculptor is so small that you can stand it on the ridge of a fingerprint. It is a mere 0.157 mm tall and consequently the smallest elephant in the world. That ensures it an entry in the Guinness World Records. Extraordinary records that figure in the world’s most widely sold annual.

Mohn Media from Gütersloh produces over 3 million copies of the massively popular annual, each one comprising over 250 pages. The book is published in September of each year, in 28 countries worldwide and in 19 language versions. Stacked on top of each other, all the 2017 copies would reach a height of over 45 kilometres, almost 5 times as high as Mount Everest. Laid end to end, the copies from one year would reach from Gütersloh all the way to Switzerland.
One of the greatest challenges is perfectly mastering the logistics.
250 containers, packed with a total of 3,000 tonnes of annuals, are sent out to customers around the world from Gütersloh. It may well take 4 weeks for a book to make it to Mongolia.

Jeannette Sio performs calculations for numerous product alternatives.

A huge machine with innumerable small cogs.

Anke Frosch is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the operation, use of the correct forms and adherence to the requirements for each country. She has been working in the Mohn Media export department for over 42 years. Jeannette Sio manages Sales & Distribution, Dennis Thon is the Customer Manager and Theo Löchter is their boss and the Product Line Manager. Innumerable cover variants and the latest finishing techniques are tested in the market before the final decision is made. The Guinness World Records annual works as a huge machine with innumerable tiny cogs, which must all mesh together perfectly. To this end, all the service providers in the USA and Europe must deliver precisely on the stipulated day, and all partner countries must submit their orders in good time. “The necessary decisions are taken in intensive coordination meetings; we are close to the customer and we know what needs to be done,” says Löchter.

Dennis Thon, Theo Löchter and Jeannette Sio discuss the cover and the complex finishing processes.
Every edition of the Guinness World Records is unique.

The best result. “Complex interaction and good cooperation ensure that the work remains enjoyable, despite enormous challenges,” confirms Dennis Thon, and Jeannette Sio adds: “If, for instance, the world’s tallest dog unfortunately dies during the course of the production process, we need to respond fast, replace the relevant page and adjust the content to keep the book up-to-date. It’s doable as long as you know the most efficient way of going about it. The Guinness London project managers have total confidence in us. We all want the best result!” By the way: The tallest dog of all time was a Great Dane called Zeus. He stood at 111.8 cm tall and lived in Otsego (USA) with Dennis Doorlag and his family.

  • Anke Frosch’s export experience at Mohn Media: 42 years
  • Countries to which the book is exported: 28
  • Language versions: 19
  • Containers for book distribution: 250
  • Weight of current edition: 3,600 t
  • Height of stack of Guinness books: 45 km
  • Length of Guinness books laid end to end: 1,500 km

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