DORLING KINDERSLEY was founded by Peter Kindersley and Christopher Dorling in Autumn 1974. The company, set up with £10,000 capital, was initially established as a book packager producing books for other publishers.
1974 - A fire at the Dutch repro house where DK's first three books had been sent threatens to bring the whole venture to a premature end, but the small, driven team that included Christopher Davis, DK's present Publisher, manages to salvage the situation and deliver all three books within their deadlines.
1975-1978 -DK moves to new offices in London's Covent Garden, home for the next 26 years, and produces the first eight titles, three of which go on to become million sellers. One of those, The Book of Photography by John Hedgecoe, was an instant success. It will be re-published by DK in 2003 in a new and updated format.
1978 - DK wins a major packaging contract with Reader's Digest. This is the first time that outsiders have been commissioned to produce a book for Reader's Digest. The resulting title Success With Houseplants was published in 1979. The US print run exceeds 2 million copies. This initial contract is the start of a successful relationship between DK and Reader's Digest, which lasts for several years.
1982 - DK becomes a publisher in
the UK. DK triumphantly negotiates a contract to edit, design
and produce a brand new first aid manual for the three voluntary
aid societies: the Red Cross and its sister associations -
the St John's Ambulance and the St Andrew's Ambulance. It
is the first book to appear under the DK name, and is the
only first aid title to be endorsed by all three associations.
The use of photography and clarity of style make is instantly
appealing and very popular. To date it has sold over 6.5
million copies in 45 countries and is now in its 8th edition.
1987 - Christopher Dorling retires; Reader's Digest buys 50% of the shares. DK launches the first children's list with the Windows on the World series. 1987 also sees Peter Kindersley asking himself a question that starts a revolution in children's non-fiction publishing: "Where are all the exciting books for kids?"
1988 - Eyewitness Books are born out of this frustration and the first four titles in the series are published. The unique Eyewitness lexigraphic design of words and pictures becomes DK's trademark and has made Eyewitness loved by children the world over. By 2001 the series numbered 117 different titles and has sold over 50 million copies worldwide.
1989 - DK publishes The RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers. This publication begins another long-standing and highly successful partnership. Since then, DK has created a large and varied range of encyclopedias and guides on every aspect of plants and gardening techniques. With this first title, and the subsequent ones, DK creates unrivalled resources for gardeners. In Canada, these gardening classics have been adapted into local editions.
1991 - DK becomes a publisher in the U.S. and sets up a number of new businesses: DK Multimedia (CD-ROMs); DK Vision (broadcast and video) and DK Family Learning to bring DK products directly into homes and schools..
1993 - The DK Eyewitness Travel
Guides are launched. The guides are a reinvention of
the conventional travel guide. Full of color, they are unique
in quality, illustration and practicality. The series now
has over 70 titles with over 15 million sold worldwide.
DK is voted Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards.
1996 DK acquires the 112-year
old Hugo Language Books Ltd, adding useful phrase books
language instruction to the best-selling DK Eyewitness
Travel Guide series.
DK's natural history video series Eyewitness, produced by DK Vision, is nominated in 2 categories in the 1996 Emmy Awards.
2000 Pearson, the media group
who own Penguin Books, acquires DK.
Previously sold under license to other publishers, DK appoints Tourmaline Editions Inc. as its exclusive Canadian distributor. For the first time, books bearing the DK brand become available to Canadian consumers through bookstores and retail outlets.
2001 DK publishes the
Canadian Medical Association Complete Home Medical Guide,
its first Canadian title.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides win enRoute magazine's Best Guidebook for Business Travellers award.
Present DK books are more exciting than
ever with authors now including, among others, antique and
collectibles expert Judith Miller, former Rolling Stones Bill
Wyman, personal trainer Matt Roberts and Canada's career guru,
Dr. Barbara Moses. With over a thousand titles now available,
DK is widely recognized in Canada as a publisher of high-quality
books for adults and children.
DK Vision, DK's award-winning line of videos including Eyewitness and PB Bear, continue to be available through licensing agreements.
GSP (Global Software Publishing) now distribute the English version of the range of DK's CD and DVD ROM titles. Macron Software holds the rights for translated editions on a global basis.