| BERLIN, June 23
BERLIN, June 23 Germany's best-selling newspaper
was given away free to almost all of the country's 41 million
households on Saturday in a controversial celebration of the
daily's 60th anniversary that set a world record for largest
Bild newspaper - a tabloid-style daily both feared and
respected for its massive influence in Germany but also known
for its hard-hitting campaigns and photos of nude women - sent
41 million copies to all but 200,000 postal addresses of people
who expressly requested not to receive Saturday's newspaper.
"Free Bild for everyone!" wrote the daily in two-inch high
letters on page one above an open letter from editor in chief
Kai Dieckmann. "Bild is celebrating its 60th birthday today. And
this newspaper is a birthday present for you," he wrote.
Bild said Guinness World Records in Germany has certified
the print run as "the largest circulation for the free special
edition of a newspaper".
Bild, which likes to pride itself for having its finger on
the pulse of what makes ordinary Germans tick, normally costs 70
cents per issue.
Critics of the newspaper organised a boycott of the free
delivery and about 200,000 people filled out forms requested
they not receive the Saturday edition. Bild said that
represented 0.6 percent of German households.
"I don't want that rag in my house even if they give it away
for free," said Yvonne Wagner, a 43-year-old secretary in
Berlin. "I don't want to read it and I wouldn't even want to use
it to wrap fish in or to stuff my wet shoes with it."
According to media reports, Bild had a daily circulation in
the 1980s of 5 million before falling to about 3 million now.
(Editing by Alison Williams)