Marc Mikulich, v-p, brand management and international rights, recalls the initial foreign reception to the Dummies books:
"DOS For Dummies was first presented to translations publishers in October 1991 at Frankfurt Book Fair, one month before publication of the U.S. edition. Dutch translation was the first contract signed. Once we published, overnight success attracted other licenses. By 1996 we were in 30 languages. The Dummies Roundtable, which I initiated at Frankfurt Book Fair in 1993, was instrumental in encouraging a collaborative team mentality across markets, as best marketing practices could be shared with no competitive concern."
Mary Bednarek, executive acquisitions director, Dummies Technology, Wiley U.S., remembers her start with Dummies in its first year:
"I'd been a computer book editor in Indianapolis when I sent my résumé to a tiny start-up publisher in California. Soon, I was in San Mateo for an interview with editor-in-chief Mike McCarthy and president John Kilcullen of IDG Books Worldwide, publisher of several semi-successful books on Windows, Macs and games. They were excited about their latest project, DOS For Dummies, by author Dan Gookin. 'What an odd computer book,' I thought. Tip and Warning icons? Cartoons? A pointy-headed mascot? 'It's about time!' I said. On September 30, 1991, I became IDG Books' managing editor, and I've been in a committed relationship with Dummies Man ever since."
Diane Graves Steele, v-p and publisher, Consumer Dummies, Wiley U.S., recalls her immediate attraction to For Dummies books:
"I remember the first time I saw DOS For Dummies--it was during a 'water cooler' conversation in another publisher's hallway. The 'critics' offering their professional judgment were guffawing and scoffing (like you do when you think the competition may just have gotten one up on you), so I scoffed along with them. Then I made a casual but swift beeline to my office to offer my services to that fine new publishing company, IDG Books! It took me over a year to convince them that black and yellow are my favorite colors, but they finally acquiesced. Twenty years and a couple thousand Dummies titles later, and my favorite colors haven't changed!"
Steve Smith, executive v-p and chief operating officer, recalls the beginnings of original For Dummies publishing in the U.K:
"When Wiley acquired the For Dummies brand, it was pretty well-known in the U.K. and Europe for its publishing in technology areas but had experienced more limited success in other nontechnology consumer areas. Wiley colleagues quickly recognized the potential to increase the brand's relevance in consumer categories by publishing U.K. authors and U.K. content under the brand. We recruited a team of editors who produced the first U.K. title, Renting Out Your Property For Dummies, by Melanie Bien in 2003. The success of U.K. titles has increased awareness and popularity of the Dummies brand generally and has contributed significantly to increased sales in the U.K. and beyond."
Jennifer Smith, v-p and publisher, Wiley Canada, about the company's expansion north of border:
"When For Dummies began publishing books on topics like investing, sex, and wine, they went from being a computer book juggernaut to a reference juggernaut. In Canada, we realized there was an opportunity to create local content for our local market and in 1995 released our first local Dummies edition--Personal Finance For Canadians For Dummies. Fifteen years later and now in its fifth edition, it remains our bestselling Canadian For Dummies title."
Esther Neuendorf, publisher, For Dummies in Germany, about Wiley operations in Germany:
"In 1996, I started as a trainee in publishing and saw For Dummies books for the first time. Four months later my boss resigned, and all of a sudden I was responsible for the For Dummies series. At that time, 15 For Dummies titles per year were published in Germany; now it's close to 100 per year! Publishing For Dummies books never becomes boring; there are so many different topics and authors and plenty of line extensions. No wonder that in 2005, when the For Dummies series in Germany was bought, I followed the charm of the Dummies Man and went to Wiley-VCH."
Dan Mersey, production manager, professional book production, Wiley UK, on his tenure with the British Dummies:
"I've been part of the U.K. For Dummies team since our launch in 2003. I'm really proud of the way the U.K. brand has grown over the years, from watching our first U.K.-developed book emerging from the printing press (my baby!), through our first branded campaign on London Underground, to our more recent television advertising. Producing both U.K.-specific and globally focused titles from the U.K. means we cover an enormous breadth of subject matter with a uniquely British approach. We even squeeze in a touch of humor along the way."