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  • Eyewitness: The rise and fall of Dorling Kindersley

Eyewitness: The rise and fall of Dorling Kindersley

The Inside Story of a Publishing Phenomenon

By Christopher Davis

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About the Author

Christopher Davis

Christopher Davis has spent more than 40 years in publishing, the majority of them with DK, which he joined as one of the founding members in 1974. Over the years he graduated from Managing Editor to Editorial Director to Publisher and Deputy Chairman. When Pearson acquired the company in 2000 he was retained as Publisher until his retirement in 2005. He is now a publishing consultant and writer. ... Read more on Christopher Davis

Contents Listing

About the author
Author's note

1. Bad Night At The Union Hotel
2. Spreads On The Bed
3. Mistress of Wine
4. Ashes and Diamonds
5. The Godfathers of East 50th Street
6. Management By Hand Grenade
7. 9 Henrietta Street
8. Sex In The Connaught
9. Never Negotiate With A Husky
10. Name On The Spine
11. Hughes The Money
12. Revolution On The Page
13. Impressionists in the Men's Room
14. Mammoth Sales
15. If You Build It, They Will Come
16. Over and Out
17. Thanks, Bill
18. Home Deliveries
19. This Dog's A Runner
20. Showing What Others Only Tell
21. Publishing Fundamentals
22. Click and Point
23. The Nun's Tale
24. Gandhi in Las Vegas
25. 95 Madison Avenue 26. Complexity and Commitment
27. A Lifetime of Learning
28. Enter The Marketing Man
29. Bring On The Men In White Coats

Epilogue
Acknowledgments
About the author
Author's note

1. Bad Night At The Union Hotel
2. Spreads On The Bed
3. Mistress of Wine
4. Ashes and Diamonds
5. The Godfathers of East 50th Street
6. Management By Hand Grenade
7. 9 Henrietta Street
8. Sex In The Connaught
9. Never Negotiate With A Husky
10. Name On The Spine
11. Hughes The Money
12. Revolution On The Page
13. Impressionists in the Men's Room
14. ...

Jacket Text

By the close of the last millennium Dorling Kindersley had become one of the most recognisable brands in publishing. Across the range of illustrated household reference titles, from children's books to travel guides, its distinctive look of colourful images cut out against a white background could be seen on bookshelves throughout the country - and indeed the publishing world.

Apart from three minor acquisitions, DK had grown organically over 25 years to be a publicly listed company with a turnover of £200 million, some 1500 employees, publishing arms across the English language markets, a 50-strong international sales force that dealt with more than 400 publishers, a direct selling business with 30,000 independent distributors, and had expanded its skills for delivering handsomely designed reference books into the new media of videos, CD-ROMs and online educational content. Then a series of catastrophic printing decisions brought the company to its knees, and ultimately into the arms of Pearson.

Christopher Davis is uniquely positioned to tell the story of DK's rise and fall. He joined the company at its foundation and in due course became Group Publisher. The narrative he provides is a dual one, encompassing the visionary genius of Peter Kindersley and the publishing revolution he fomented, and charting the remarkable, sometimes precarious, frequently hilarious, roller-coaster ride as the company grew from a handful of people in a studio in South London to a substantial global business.

In the rapidly changing publishing climate of today, this book is also a nostalgic reminder of a time when creativity could flourish unburdened by the shackles of corporate bureaucracy.

Media Coverage

The Author

It is difficult to overstate the impact Dorling Kindersley made on the international publishing scene in the last quarter of the 20th century. A company which started as a book packager in 1974 in a ...

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The Author

It is difficult to overstate the impact Dorling Kindersley made on the international publishing scene in the last quarter of the 20th century. A company which started as a book packager in 1974 in a ...

Read more

The Literary Review

"This lively inside history......an exciting story for anyone even mildly
interested in popular culture in this country."

Read more

Private Eye

Just published by Harriman House is 'Eyewitness: The Rise and Fall of Dorling Kindersley', an account of the colourful history of the illustrated reference publisher, written by its former global ...

Read more

The Bookseller

An eyewitness for Dorling Kindersley
30.06.09

Well, somebody had to tell it. Peter Kindersley says that he has been asked several times to write the story of the company he co-founded, but he ...

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The Times

Martin Waller: City Diary

Next week there arrives The Rise and Fall of Dorling Kindersley, the inside story of one of Britain?s most innovative and creative publishers and how it was brought to ...

Read more

The Bookseller

Christopher Davis is to publish a history of Dorling Kindersley, the illustrated and multimedia publisher that is now owned by Penguin. The Rise and Fall of Dorling Kindersley will chart 25 years of ...

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Investorschronicle.co.uk

a gripping read...an excellent book for your Christmas wish list- Alistair Blair, Investors Chronicle9th December 2009

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Exacteditions.com

This lively inside history...an exciting story for anyone even mildly interested in popular culture in this country.- Literary Review, September 2009

Read more

Thebookseller.com

An eyewitness for Dorling Kindersley- Christopher Davis's blog, The BookSeller30th June 2009

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Business.timesonline.co.uk

the inside story of one of Britain's most innovative and creative publishers- City Diary, Telegraph24th June 2009

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Media Review

Book of the Month- Better Business Focus, June 2009

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Thebookseller.com

Davis to publish DK history- Bookseller21st April 2009

Read more

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