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Cooking the Book

Cover photo selection is one of our biggest challenges each year: how do you keep the photos timely and topical, when the cover has to go to press weeks before the final text pages are done? Even in years like this one, when we keep the book open long enough to include election and world series results, the cover still has to be wrapped up weeks before those events occur.

For the 2009 edition, we couldn't call the election four weeks early, so we had to give equal space to Obama and McCain; we couldn't predict the winner of the World Series, so we opted for a shot of Ken Griffey Jr., whose 600th home run was one of the most notable sports records of the year*; we didn't want to show too much national favoritism (and in an early fit of Phelpsomania, we had already put Mr. Eight Gold Medals on last year's cover), so we opted for a shot of waving Chinese and Olympic flags; and because the cover was wrapped up before the economic crisis really came to a head, we've got a shot of someone pumping gas — a reminder of what had been most people's major economic complaint in the first half of 2008.

AP080521036931-edit.JPGAnd, oh yeah... we had that other guy... what was his name again?

there are 3 pictures on the cover of the 2009 World Almanac... Obama & McCain, the Olympics, and DAVID COOK! Sweeet!

In retrospect, I guess we shouldn't be surprised — but I have never seen so much online chatter about World Almanac cover photo selection. Google "world almanac david cook" and you get gems like this:

Hmmmmm...what to put on the cover of the 2009 World Almanac? Let's see. Obama and McCain, the 2008 Olympics...and...DAVID COOK, of course.

Wow, David Cook makes the cover of the 2009 World Almanac along with Barack Obama, in the words of Posh Spice, that's MAJOR.

David Cook on the cover of The 2009 World Almanac and Book of Facts. Hmmm... who won American Idol in 2008? David... Cook! (Queue crying David Archuleta fans...)

For the record: the World Almanac does not decide wagers, and we do not have an official position on the issue of Cook v. Archuleta. Cook won American Idol, American Idol was the biggest thing on TV last year (and has been since the 2005-06 season; pp. 292-93 in the new World Almanac for more), and we just thought it made sense to put the biggest show on TV on our cover. Nothing more!**

*And never mind the additional debate that this selection triggered: record-setting Cincinnati uniform, or season-ending Chicago?

**But seriously, wasn't it all downhill for Archie after "Imagine"? ...I kid, I kid! (cue pitchfork-wielding Archuleta fans...)

Image: AP Images


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