Initially set up in 1974 by Christopher Dorling and Peter Kindersley as a book-packaging company that produced books for other publishers, DK launched its publishing operations in 1982 after the company secured a deal to edit, design, and produce a first-aid manual for voluntary aid societies in the UK. The fresh use of photography and clarity of words played an important role in its success. Thus began the journey of visually appealing and attractive illustrated reference books. Moving from strength to strength over the next two decades, DK established its name with the revolutionary children's book series Window of the World followed by success in gardening publishing with The RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers. In 1993, DK launched the Eyewitness Travel Guide series, which was applauded for its colourful, illustrative, and practical presentation of information.

  • 1982

    DK launched its publishing operations after the company secured a deal to edit, design, and produce a first-aid manual for voluntary aid societies in the UK.

  • 1998

    DK printed more than three lakh copies of the prestigious DK Illustrated Oxford Dictionary.

  • 1998

    DK set up its office in New Delhi, India, with a staff of less than 10 people.

  • 1999

    DK Eyewitness Travel Guides won The Daily Telegraph Readers' Travel Awards for Best Guide Books.

DK then went on to acquire a few smaller publishing companies in the UK, adding a list of new, fun, assorted titles to its list. Phrase books and dictionaries gave company to the bestselling DK Eyewitness Guides. In 1998, DK printed more than three lakh copies of the prestigious DK Illustrated Oxford Dictionary, a tremendously successful international title. In the same year, DK set up its office in New Delhi, India, with a staff of less than 10 people. In 1999, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides won The Daily Telegraph Readers' Travel Awards for Best Guide Books.

In 2000, Pearson, the international media group and the parent company of Penguin Books, acquired DK. Over the next ten years, the publishing house, backed with excellent support from Penguin in sales and marketing, went on to produce some very successful titles. The nature reference title, Animal, author-led titles such as Bill Wyman's Rolling with the Stones, Matt Roberts' Fitness for Life Manual, and the children's title (produced in association with UNICEF) A Life Like Mine received wide acclaim. In 2003, Rough Guides became part of the Pearson Group and joined New Delhi’s operations as the fourth member of the DK India family. In 2009, Rough Guides merged with DK's Travel division.

Many new, bigger titles followed over the next few years, especially the family reference titles corresponding with DK's 30th anniversary in 2004. DK titles continued to win various awards, for instance, the DK Eyewitness Travel, which won the Observer/Guardian Travel Guide of the Year award for the second year running in 2005. This was followed by the category-killer DIY– Know How with Show How, which won the British Design and Production Award. Rainforest, a highly illustrative nature title that featured stunning wildlife photography, was launched alongside an exhibition at the Proud Gallery in London, UK.

  • 2000

    Pearson, the international media group and the parent company of Penguin Books, acquired DK.

  • 2003

    Rough Guides became part of the Pearson Group and joined New Delhi's operations as the fourth member of the DK India family.

  • 2004

    Many new, bigger titles followed over the next few years, especially the family reference titles corresponding with DK's 30th anniversary.

  • 2008

    DK displayed its commitment to ethical publishing by producing a range of books titled Made With Care, which were created using the most environmentally sound practices available.

  • 2009

    Rough Guides merged with DK's Travel division.

  • 2010

    finished on a high note with the publication of Natural History, a stunning visual guide to Earth's natural history covering over 5000 species.

  • 2013

    On 1st July 2013 Penguin and Random House officially united to create Penguin Random House, the world’s first truly global trade book publisher.

In 2008, DK displayed its commitment to ethical publishing by producing a range of books titled Made With Care, which were created using the most environmentally sound practices available. The press welcomed this new sort of 'greener' publishing with glowing coverage from Sky News, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and BBC Radio 4's Open Book. The original, ground-breaking children's Eyewitness reference series marked its 20th anniversary in the same year, and Dr Miriam Stoppard, author of DK’s many medical and health titles, celebrates 25 years with DK.

2010 finished on a high note with the publication of Natural History, a stunning visual guide to Earth's natural history covering over 5000 species. The book proves to be a top seller! The end of the decade also witnessed DK entering the digital market with many of its books converted to apps that imbibe the same DK principles of presenting information in a simple, interesting, and fun manner. The company has recently launched the DK App shop – a one-stop shop for all of DK’s digital products. Much of DK’s trademark quality reference material has been converted into innovative and accessible eBooks, blogs, and widgets.

In 2011, besides some excellent, well-received books such as the The Car Book and Great Paintings, DK has also created books such as the Family Travel Guides for e- platforms.

The teams, across departments, are now working on iBooks, converting and reworking content for books such as travel guides to Rome, Berlin, New York, and Paris, as well as the popular Pocket Genius series.

On 1st July 2013 Penguin and Random House officially united to create Penguin Random House, the world’s first truly global trade book publisher.

DK Global
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