“Improvise, adapt, overcome” all the way!

Global publisher DK has improved, adapted and overcome the hurdles posed by the pandemic. It has always been at the forefront of technology and emerged as a techno-efficient publisher.

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DK, an award-winning global publisher, creates illustrated reference books that are sold in over 100 countries and published in 63 languages.

DK at the forefront of technology

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative,” said HG Wells rather aptly in Mind at the End of Its Tether. To say the pandemic disrupted the publishing industry’s usual processes would be a gross understatement. We were hit by a rogue wave that very nearly threw us off balance, but of course, there are those of us who’ve been swift to cling on to technological buoys and thrived!

Digital reinvention

An integral part of DK’s technological prowess has been eBooks, a programme that was set up by the company way back in 2010 soon after the launch of the iBooks app. In recent times, DK has chosen to capitalize on the new remote-learning setup which has begotten a demand for non-fiction content in a digital format. A meticulous publishing schedule and strategic online marketing has led to a 70% increase in eBook sales during the pandemic. The Delhi team has been instrumental in creating 693 eBooks YTD. A number of technological upgrades are being made to eBooks to improve user experience and some more are planned for the near future to ensure improved access to ePubs for people who are differently-abled.

Another key area of focus has been audio content. In just two years since the launch of DK Audio, the company has published 165 audiobooks (with still more set to release this year), distributed across a host of platforms including Chirp and Audible. Despite the lockdown, DK’s audio division kept recordings going and developed closer working relationships with its studios, narrators, and, of course, its authors, many of whom have done readings of their own works. In addition, DK’s podcasts featuring conversations on trending topics have steadily gained an audience. The DK Eyewitness brand’s Where To Go podcast, for instance, has kept the wanderlust dream alive for both avid and armchair travellers, in preparation for the looming post-pandemic travel boom.

With children’s home-learning resources and adults’ boredom busters being the need of the hour, DK Workbooks sales have soared, too. The company has been quick to tap into the potential of educational and hobby or activity-related content with the online Stay Home Hubs, which offer downloadable freebies. The DK FindOut website, a digital extension of the FindOut! books, has seen success as an online learning platform offering comprehensive lesson plans, puzzles, quizzes, and resources for parents and teachers.

What’s next?

More recently, DK joined forces with multi-award winning international learning platform Kahoot! to improve digital learning. DK has created the Kahoot! quizzes to further support learner experience. The two companies are passionate about education and improving learning. Together they are working to unlock individuals’ full learning potential and inspire curiosity using DK content to make a better learning experience for all. This important partnership reinforces our content strategy to reach more readers and to enhance educational development by making DK’s content more readily available online and in all formats.

As far as publicity and brand visibility are concerned, strategic campaigns across DK’s social media platforms — especially IGTV — have supplemented the books’ content. Online author-led, activity-oriented workshops, tutorials, interviews, and book readings spanning a host of topics including gardening, cooking, science, art, and wellness have helped the audiences engage with the DK brand at a time when in-(book)store promotions came to a halt.

Techno-efficient

Workflows may have been altered, but work quality has remained as flawless as ever, thanks to the company’s highly skilled, tech-savvy staff. Just a few weeks into the pandemic, DK was able to use its technological infrastructure to seamlessly shift from office to a work-from-home (WFH) setup. Almost 180 iMac’s were transported to employees’ homes to establish a hundred percent home-office capability. The use of cloud storage has been key to the success of WFH. As early as March 2020, all of DK’s book projects were shifted from physical servers to Google Shared Drive, enhancing the teams’ ability to work in different locations. It wouldn’t be premature to say that the shift has significantly simplified the nature of global collaboration, reduced costs, and built resilience into the way DK creates its books.

The company’s success in exploiting the available technology to its benefit has ensured confidence in the possibility of a hybrid work model in the near future. For DK, it’s “improvise, adapt, overcome” all the way!

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