Eyewitness: The Rise and Fall of Dorling Kindersley by Christopher Davis - review by Charles Elliott

Charles Elliott

Lifting the Flap

Eyewitness: The Rise and Fall of Dorling Kindersley


Harriman House 312pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Dorling Kindersley, otherwise known as DK, was one of the greatest publishing phenomena of recent times. Springing up from nothing in a back bedroom in Kennington in 1974, it was the brainchild of Peter Kindersley and Christopher Dorling. A quarter of a century later DK was producing and selling some sixty million books, CD-ROMs and videos annually. Yet within two years of that high point it was skirting bankruptcy and up for sale. Today it survives – barely – as a division of Penguin Books.

As everybody knows, publishing, like other media, can be a hugely volatile business. Big gambles on author advances are a matter of course, production costs fluctuate, and distribution sometimes seems to be solely at the mercy of malign heavenly forces, or greedy chains, or both. Yet as Christopher

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter