Content is King at World Book
World Book Inc.'s (WB) book-and-CD products were all the rage back in August 1998 when BookTech the Magazine ran a cover story on this Chicago-based company.
WB had just launched the book-and-CD educational series titled Interfact, and its flagship product, the World Book Encyclopedia, was being released as 22 print volumes (comprising more than 14,000 pages) and as a two-disc CD-ROM.
Since then, WB took its content to different places, including the Internet, not just carving a niche for itself in the education and general consumer markets, but continually exploring new publishing models, as well.
Michael Ross, executive vice president and publisher (pictured at right), brings us up to date on his company's new initiatives and shares his insights on successful data management.
What's up, Doc?
Back in 1998, sales of the flagship WB Encyclopedia accounted for roughly half of the company's revenues. WB products also included a wide range of science, math, nature and social studies titles, as well as yearbooks and the two series Christmas Around the World and Stand Up for Your Rights (the latter covers human rights issues). The Interfact series (a book with a CD-ROM packaged in clear acrylic) sold for about $15.
Today, WB still offers its encyclopedia in 22 volumes, but its versions and formats have been broadened considerably. The set, says Ross, is now available in three bindings, including one specifically designed for schools and libraries that includes a dated spine.
The content is offered in various CD-ROM versions for both Mac and Windows: a two-disc deluxe set, a standard one-disc set, and a four-disc Premier Reference Suite (new since 1998).
WB also introduced myriad new print and CD products for schools, including a 13-volume elementary encyclopedia titled World Book's Student Discovery Encyclopedia; a new CD-ROM called Dinosaur Dig Cyber Adventure; and a new 15-volume Childcraft set, a classic "how-and-why," thematically arranged reference library for kids.