IDG's "For Dummies" line has extended from one book-"DOS for Dummies"-in 1991 to more than 350 titles today, taking IDG Books Worldwide to the No. 2 spot in computer books behind Viacom's Macmillan Computer Publishing.
The $120 million division has been so successful that Pat McGovern, chairman of privately held IDG, last spring floated a possible fall stock offering for the unit. IDG Books executives won't comment about the offering except to say it now won't happen this year.
IDG Books created its "For Dummies" line to provide non-intimidating, entertaining information about computers. IDG chose a daring name-and ignored publishing naysayers-by sticking to the premise that everybody would freely admit to being a dummy at something. IDG has sold more than 35 million "For Dummies" books in 34 languages.
BEYOND COMPUTER BOOKS
The publisher extended the brand in 1994 to non-computer books, which account for more than 50 titles ranging from Olympic star Kristi Yamaguchi writing about skating to Dr. Ruth Westheimer's "Sex for Dummies."
IDG Books over time has been pitched on various "For Dummies" TV concepts.
"As the 'Dummies' series has diversified as a book publishing property and brand, the potential
for a TV application has grown," said Marc Jeffrey Mikulich, VP-IDG Books Brands & Ventures. "These are books with enormous mass appeal, and television remains the pre-eminent mass medium of our time, and so it's fairly self-evident that there's an opportunity there."
Mr. Mikulich, who is leading the brand extension, said "For Dummies" TV programming, just like the books, could cover computer and non-computer topics.
Last year, Mr. Mikulich worked with EMI on a line of "Classical Music for Dummies" CDs, and IDG Books is preparing to launch CDs and books on jazz and blues next spring.
Mr. Mikulich said IDG Books will explore various products and services under the "For Dummies" brand.
But he said IDG Books won't release any "For Dummies" products that could impair the brand's editorial integrity. For example, the company turned down a proposal for a line of "For Dummies" PCs, since a personal computer could conflict with