Celebrating 20 years of publishing in India!

DK has always been one of the few global publishers of illustrated non-fiction, with titles published in over 60 languages, and its India office plays a pivotal role in its publishing operations. In the last 20 years, the publication house has made strong inroads in the local market as well.

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Imagine 10–15 people sitting elbow to elbow in a largish room on the ground floor of a South Delhi house, editing and designing workbooks for children and a travel guide. DK or DKFL as it was known then began in the summer of 1988. The plan was to provide editorial support to the London creative team.

The beginnings were modest, and at that time, 20 years ago, it was difficult to imagine a world of over 200 people that spanned two floors of a tall building in Film City, Noida.

DK India of today has come a long way. Along the journey, the team have helped create some of DK’s most iconic books: the Carol Vorderman Workbook series, Animal, Iyengar’s The Path to Holistic Health, The Delhi Agra Jaipur EW Travel Guide, RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Birds of North America, The Natural History Book, Myths and Legends, Dinosaur, India, Mary Berry cookbooks, and photo shoots for craft and children titles, to name a few.

Four creative teams and one digital focus are involved in creating adult reference, children, life-style, and travel books that are published globally. A dedicated team focuses on local publishing and has brought out more than 40 titles including The Illustrated Mahabharata, B.K.S. Iyengar’s Yoga For Everyone, and The Ultimate Children’s Encyclopedia. There have been several collaborations as well, including Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna to Green Gold Animation and their adorable toon character Chhota Bheem.

As DK India’s Managing Director Aparna Sharma says, “My vision in building a local publishing programme was two fold: to make these ground-breaking titles accessible in India and break the perception of DK being a west-centric content creator, plus take Indian content to a larger global market.”

DK sponsored and created a wall mural at the Delhi Public Library in Sarojini Nagar.
DK sponsored and created a wall mural at the Delhi Public
Library in Sarojini Nagar.

There has been recognition as well. It was a moment of great pride when for DK’s Home Lab/Maker Lab won the award in the Best STEM Publication category, as a part of the STEM Awards that celebrated the exemplary work of the institutions and individuals for the first time in India.

Bollywood, a much-awaited title, which was launched by Amitabh Bachchan in December 2017, has been shortlisted for the Publishing Next Industry Awards in the Coffee Table book category … Fingers crossed!!!

Another big release for DK India has been Indian Century by quizmaster Siddhartha Basu, a book that has hit the mark for knowledge seekers, children and adults alike. A fitting Amazon review of this book is: Don’t just read it…re-re-reread!!!! Tapping into the local market has also brought steady and systematic benefits. The DK Quiz, a Delhi initiative, has completed four seasons and is a keenly anticipated event in schools. Growth in custom publishing is also a key focus area and a big part of what the company does in each of its territories.

Spending time with the children at the St. Jude Child Care Centre in Noida.
Spending time with the children at the St. Jude Child
Care Centre in Noida.

However, DK India would not be what it is today, if it weren’t for its people. DK has always been one of the few global publishers of illustrated non-fiction, with titles published in over 60 languages, and its India office plays a pivotal role in its publishing operations. The overriding theme through these years has been the passion and commitment of the team, and their willingness to take on every challenge and deliver come what may.

Kingshuk Ghoshal, Managing Editor, Knowledge has been with DK for nearly 12 years. “It’s sheer luck that landed me at DK for my interview nearly 12 years ago,” he says. “Plans to head off to Biotechnology PhDs evaporated as I got hooked on DK’s incredible book-making machine. As my first proper job, DK will always be special to me – and as DK India celebrates 20 years in 2018 – I can honestly say that getting the chance to build and develop this amazing team over the past decade has been a singular experience.”

One of the newest to join the team Adhithi Priya, Assistant Art Editor, has this to say, “As a newbie, just out of college, I could not have asked for a more welcoming work environment than DK India. Working with an incredibly helpful team, I’ve learnt so much in just a couple of months. I was also lucky enough to join just as DK was celebrating 20 years in India!”

Glenda R. Fernandes, Head of Department, Publishing Operations & Communications, has been with DK since it’s startup in India and who completes 20 years, says, “I joined DK as a copy editor. I cherish the books I’ve worked on, the people, my teams and colleagues and I’ve grown so much in DK, both professionally and personally. DK is an association that keeps my head above water at all times.

DK drives and inspires me and makes me set my alarm for 6:45am every day and get out of bed, no matter what… and I would not have it any other way.”

“DK Delhi at 20 years is a celebration of its people and dedication. Looking back, it’s been a great place to work, alongside colleagues who are passionate about what they do and create wonderful books together. It’s that special DK Delhi culture of warmth, concern, camaraderie and creativity that I feel proud to be a part of. I’m sure that the future holds great possibility and continued excellence and innovation,” shares Malavika Talukder, Head of Department, Children’s & Travel Books.

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