Dorling Kindersley Review – A Good Publisher?

POSTED ON May 2, 2023

Christopher Ortiz

Written by Christopher Ortiz

Home > Blog > Reviews > Dorling Kindersley Review – A Good Publisher?

As a writer, deciding which publisher to submit to can be a difficult and overwhelming decision. There are many factors to consider, such as the publisher's reputation, their current list of titles, and their submission guidelines. 

One of the biggest challenges writers face is determining which publisher is the best fit for their manuscript. Some publishers specialize in specific genres or themes, while others have a more diverse lineup. Researching publishers and their catalogues can take a lot of time, and writers may struggle to determine where their work will fit best. 

Additionally, writers must consider the publisher's submission guidelines, which can vary greatly from one publisher to another. Some publishers only accept submissions from literary agents, while others accept unsolicited submissions. It's crucial for writers to follow submission guidelines carefully to avoid having their work rejected outright. 

Another challenge is the competition for a publisher's attention. With so many writers vying for limited slots, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. 

This review will do its small part to help with this process by reviewing one of the biggest publishers in the industry, Dorling Kindersley, by taking a look at their backstory, how they operate today and whether or not they should top a writers list for publishers to submit to.

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What is Dorling Kindersley?

Dorling Kindersley, commonly known as DK, is a British multinational publishing company specializing in illustrated reference books for adults and children. 

The company was founded in 1974 by Christopher Dorling and Peter Kindersley. Their first book was a travel guide to Greece, which was successful and led to the creation of a series of travel guides. In the 1980s, DK expanded into children's books with the launch of the Eyewitness series, which combined photographs and illustrations to create a visual learning experience. This series became a worldwide bestseller and established DK's reputation for high-quality, informative books. 

In the 1990s and 2000s, DK continued to expand into new areas, including cookbooks, history, science, and more. 

Today, DK is a part of Penguin Random House and continues to publish visually stunning books that educate and inspire readers of all ages. They are also a leading publisher of illustrated reference books and digital products for adults and children. DK's books cover a wide range of topics, including travel, history, science, nature, cooking, arts and crafts, and more. 

The company is known for its visually rich and informative publications, which use photography, illustrations, and infographics to make complex topics accessible and engaging. 

In addition to books, DK has expanded into digital products, including e-books, apps, and online courses. DK's commitment to creating high-quality educational content has earned them numerous awards and accolades, including the Queen's Award for Export and the British Book Award for Publisher of the Year. With a global reach and a commitment to innovation, DK continues to inspire and educate readers around the world.

What Books Does Dorling Kindersley Publish?

DK has published numerous books of note since their inception. To provide some insight into what one can expect from them, below are ten of the most noteworthy. 

1. Eyewitness Travel Guides – The series that started it all, these travel guides are known for their stunning photography and in-depth coverage of destinations around the world.

2. The Ultimate Visual Dictionary – This reference book covers a wide range of topics, from science and technology to sports and the arts, using detailed illustrations and diagrams.

3. Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia – This book provides an in-depth look at the human body, with detailed illustrations and diagrams of each organ and system.

4. The LEGO Book – This book tells the story of the LEGO company and its history, featuring colourful photographs of iconic LEGO sets.

5. Natural History – This book covers the natural world, with information on animals, plants, and ecosystems, and stunning photography.

6. Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary – This book explores the Star Wars universe, providing in-depth information on characters, vehicles, and more.

7. The Arts – This book covers art history, with information on key artists and movements, as well as stunning photographs of iconic works.

8. The Philosophy Book – This book provides an introduction to philosophy, with explanations of key concepts and thinkers, illustrated with colourful diagrams.

9. History Year by Year – This book presents history in chronological order, with information on key events and figures throughout time, and detailed timelines.

10. Complete Human Body – Similar to the Human Body: A Visual Encyclopedia, this book provides an in-depth look at the human body, with detailed illustrations and interactive digital features.

Who Would Benefit From Publishing with Dorling Kindersley?

As we stated above, DK is a publisher known for its visually rich and informative publications, covering a wide range of topics. As such, the type of writer that would be best suited to making a submission to DK is one who is passionate about educating and inspiring readers through visual media.

DK's books are often heavily illustrated, with photographs, illustrations, and infographics used to make complex topics accessible and engaging. Therefore, writers who have a strong visual sense and are able to think creatively about how to present information visually would be well-suited to submitting to DK.

In addition, DK is known for its expertise in certain subject areas, such as travel, history, science, and nature. Writers who have a deep knowledge and passion for these subjects would be ideal candidates for submitting to DK. For example, if you have travelled extensively and have a wealth of knowledge about a particular region, you may be well-suited to submitting a travel guide to DK.

Another important factor to consider when submitting to DK is the audience. DK's books are often aimed at a general audience, rather than a specialist one. Therefore, writers who are able to communicate complex ideas in an accessible way would be well-suited to submit to DK.

Overall, the type of writer who would be best suited to making a submission to DK is one who is passionate about educating and inspiring readers through visual media, has a strong knowledge of and passion for a particular subject area, and is able to communicate complex ideas in an accessible way.

What are the Alternatives to Publishing with Dorling Kindersley?

While DK is a highly respected publisher with a wide range of publications, there are some writers who may not be well-suited to make a submission to DK. 

One example might be writers who focus on highly specialized or technical subjects that may not appeal to a general audience. DK's books are often aimed at a broad audience, so writers who are targeting a very niche market may not find success with this publisher.

Additionally, writers who do not have a strong visual sense or who are not able to think creatively about how to present information visually may not be well-suited to making a submission to DK. As mentioned earlier, DK's books are often heavily illustrated, so writers who are not able to contribute to this aspect of the book may not be a good fit.

Finally, for writers of traditional fiction, there are likely to be better options. Whilst DK did make its first foray into the fiction market recently, it is certainly not what it is best known for.

However, for writers who do not find success with traditional publishers like DK, self-publishing could be a good alternative option. Self-publishing allows writers to have complete control over the content, design, and marketing of their book, which can be empowering for some writers. With the rise of digital publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and IngramSpark, self-publishing has become more accessible and affordable than ever before.

While self-publishing does require a significant investment of time and effort, it can be a great way for writers to reach a niche audience or experiment with new ideas without the constraints of traditional publishing. In addition, many successful writers have started out with self-publishing before being picked up by traditional publishers.

Dorling Kindersley Review – Final Thoughts

Approaching its 50th anniversary, DK has cemented itself as an excellent publisher of informative, rich and engaging books of all types. A writer whose work fits nicely into their style will likely be immensely rewarded if their submission is accepted. 

However, given that DK focuses on non fiction and information, there will be many writers left feeling like DK is not for them. As mentioned above though, self publishing does not have any criteria or boxes to be ticked for writers with regard to their style or genre, so that door will always be open and is well worth entering.

4 Stars

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