Can Infobase Successfully Usher the World Almanac Into the Digital Age? President Mark McDonnell discusses purchasing the iconic brand at a challenging time for reference publishers.
... [Purchasing the brand] made a lot of sense for us, because, obviously, World Almanac is a great name in reference publishing, and we're also a great name in reference publishing. … It's a better home for the World Almanac than where it was before. ... It had been on the market, so we knew about it. ... We were always wondering what they were going to do with it … . When it came available, we stepped up to the plate and did the purchase.
Extra: How does Infobase Publishing plan to compete with Google and the Internet in general?
McDonnell: … I sit and help my 14-year-old with his homework and, … if you've ever sat next to a 14-year-old trying to Google information, you waste a lot of time. … Our databases … not only are very focused and … curriculum-driven, but they're also credible and … reliable sources. In many cases, schools ... will not allow kids to cite Wikipedia, for example, when they're doing any kind of research papers. So we provide these databases of our content that's been vetted, it's reliable, we've been publishing since 1940, and all the schools and libraries in the country know us and the quality of our content. I don't worry too much about the Internet and competing with the Internet. [The Internet is] sort of like the Wild West. Anything can go up on the Internet, and you never know [whether or not it's reliable].
Extra: When will World Almanac's digital products debut?
McDonnell: … ["The World Almanac" and "Book of Facts"] will be available as e-books before the end of the year. We'll be working on making them available as either standalone databases or in conjunction with other of our products, probably within the first six months of 2010.