Dorling Kindersley (DK) is an international publishing company specializing in illustrated reference books for adults and children in 51 languages. It is currently part of the Penguin Group.
Established in 1974, Dorling Kindersley publishes a range of titles in genres including travel, (including the bestselling Eyewitness Travel Guides), history, cooking, gardening, and parenting. They also publish an extensive children’s catalogue for children, toddlers and babies, covering such topics as history, the human body, animals, and activities.
DK has offices in New York, London, Munich, New Delhi, Toronto, and Australia.
Dorling Kindersley was founded as a book-packaging company by Christopher Dorling and Peter Kindersley in London in 1974, and in 1982 moved into publishing. The first book published under the DK name was a First Aid Manual for the British voluntary medical services; this book established the company's distinctive visual style of copiously illustrated text on a glossy white background. DK Inc. began publishing in the United States in 1991.
In 1999 DK printed 18 million Star Wars books but sold less than half of them, leaving the company with crippling debt. As a direct result, DK was taken over the following year by the Pearson PLC media company, and made part of Penguin Group, which also owns the Penguin Books label.
Dorling Kindersley's London office is at Shell Mex House
, 80 Strand, a 1930s Art Deco
building easily recognizable from the River Thames by its distinctive clock.
Dorling Kindersley publishes an extensive range of titles internationally for adults and children. Most of the company's books are produced by teams of editors and designers who work with freelance writers and illustrators. Some are endorsed by "imprimaturs": well-known and respected organizations such as the British Medical Association, the Royal Horticultural Society and the British Red Cross. Some DK books apparently produced by celebrity authors such as Carol Vorderman are actually ghostwritten by the company's own writers and editors.
Popular titles that DK has published include a series of large-format "visual guides" with such titles as Universe, Earth, Animal, Human, History, and Prehistoric Life, each of which is more than 500 pages.
Other successful book series published recently include Eyewitness, DK Handbooks and The Brainwaves.
DK also acts as a parent company for travel/non-fiction publisher, Rough Guides.
BradyGames is a publishing company in the United States operating as a DK imprint, which specializes in video game strategy guides, covering multiple video game platforms. It published their first strategy guide in November 1993 and has grown to publish roughly 90-100 guides per year. Competitors include Prima Games and Piggyback Interactive.
The company occasionally offers two different versions of the same guide: one regular and one limited edition (which usually contains bonus items like a CD-ROM soundtrack or separate book containing art from the respective game).
During the 1990s, the company published educational videos and a successful range of educational CD-ROMs under the brand DK Multimedia. During the late 1990s CD-ROMs were rebranded as DK Interactive Learning to reflect a changed emphasis toward the educational sector. Following dwindling sales and increasing competition from websites, the company tried to rebrand the digital part of its business as DK Online before opting to sell the UK publishing rights to its CD-ROM backlist in 2000 to an entirely separate company, Global Software Publishing, which is part of the Avanquest Software Group. The DK Online section of the business then transferred into development work on the anglicised version of the Pearson Education (US) KnowledgeBox product.