Believe It or Not, Ripley’s Latest Launch a Hit
“There have been some [copycats], but there’s nothing like a brand that has weight,” says Deska.
“We are very proud of our heritage, and our ability to survive all of the copycat companies and books that have fallen by the wayside,” adds O’Brien.
“The Guinness Book of World Records” is certainly no fly-by-night operation, though, and it does provide interesting competition for Ripley’s. “Certainly ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’ is our closest rival, but they’re much more limited in what they can do because they need to have world records,” Deska explains. “So if there is some fantastic story about someone who did some fantastically crazy thing, they can’t use it, but we can. So I think the breadth of our material is wider than theirs.
“[What is] interesting [is that] we have a very close relationship with Guinness on the attraction side of the business, because we are their master franchise and run all of their Guinness attractions,” he continues. “So we’re partners on one side of the business, but competitors on the other.”
Finding Ripley Readers
in Foreign Lands
Deska makes it a point to mention his budding enthusiasm for Ripley’s foreign-edition efforts. “Foreign editions are really starting to take off for us,” Deska says, noting that the “Believe It or Not!” series is now available in about a dozen countries.
Mint says foreign-edition sales are “approaching 200,000 units in 10 different languages and increasing every year.”
“They’ve done very well, and we continue to add countries as we go,” says Deska. “… The [Ripley’s name] is known in some countries, not known in others. [Publishers] want to translate it in some [countries] and not in others … the process is just very interesting. But the content, as we know from our museums, is very well received internationally and has universal appeal.” BB