The For Dummies Success Story

Gaining notice and garnering popularity quickly after the series' introduction, For Dummies has become a widely recognized and regarded companion around the world — a personal or professional friend who's not only informative and reliable, but also downright fun.


Starting with the publication of DOS For Dummies in November 1991, For Dummies products have shown millions how to make the most of their PCs, get on the Internet, and explore the world of Windows.


Now — with more than 150 million books in print — For Dummies products show you how to do everything — cook, garden, manage finances, run a business, plan a trip, exercise, and eat right.


The inspiration

In 1987, new technologies were popping up all over the place. But computer manuals were dull and difficult to understand. A frustrated customer in a computer store, who knew nothing about computers, was looking for a simple, basic book about the difficult DOS operating system. "Something," he suggested, "like DOS for dummies." We knew the man's frustration was shared by many other computer users, and we set out to do something about it. Thus, the For Dummies phenomenon began.


From the start, For Dummies was a simple, yet powerful concept: Relate to the anxiety and frustration that people feel about technology by poking fun at it with books that are insightful and educational and make difficult material interesting and easy. Add a strong dose of personality, a dash of comic relief with entertaining cartoons, and — voilá — you have a For Dummies book.


The presses roll

In November 1991, DOS For Dummies by Dan Gookin was initially met with skepticism — most bookstore chains didn't want to carry the book at all, claiming that the title insulted their customers and readers in general. But we responded to the critics by calling the title a "term of endearment" that readers would immediately relate to and identify with. After convincing the bookstores to give us a chance, consumers agreed.


Onward and upward

And the For Dummies experience just keeps expanding! For Dummies now covers virtually all topics, including Flipping Houses For Dummies, Manga For Dummies, eBay For Dummies, Blogging For Dummies,  and even Food Allergies For Dummies. For Dummies tackles any topic that's complex, confusing, intimidating, or conjures up any feelings of anxiety.


What's more, For Dummies books are now translated into over 30 languages.


Today, the For Dummies impact extends beyond the printed word — into the realms of software, videos, and

Ten (or So) Eye-Popping Statistics

Mathematics isn't always the most exciting topic, but the numbers in this section are impressive.


The following statistics demonstrate the astonishing popularity of the For Dummies series:


  • Just 7,500: This relatively small number is how many copies of DOS For Dummies, the first book in the series, were printed back in 1991.
  • More than 250 million: That's how many For Dummies books are in print today - a far cry from those DOS days in 1991.
  • More than 1,800: With books covering everything from A+ certification to the Zune, it's not surprising that the For Dummies series boasts such a large number of titles - and the list just keeps on growing!
  • Ten every minute: That's how many For Dummies books are sold in the United States. In Canada and the United Kingdom, a For Dummies book is sold every minute, and in Australia, one is sold every three minutes. That's success you can set your watch by!
  • More than 2 million: Speaking of numbers, this many readers couldn't stop inserting them into 9-x-9 grids in Sudoku For Dummies, a book that spawned two best-selling sequels.
  • Only six weeks: iPhone For Dummies, 3rd Edition, went from being a great idea to a best-selling book on store shelves in this amazingly short span of time.
  • More than 30: Dummies truly is a global phenomenon, with books having been translated into this many languages, including Arabic, Estonian, Greek, Russian, and Vietnamese.
  • More than 200,000: Dummies isn't just about books; you can find that reliable yellow and black on a wide range of licensed products. This astonishing number is how many units of the GPS Navigation For Dummies personal navigation device have sold.
  • Nearly 600,000: Sacré bleu! In France, they sure love Dummies (or "les Nuls," as they say). L'Histoire de France Pour Les Nuls has been a runaway bestseller in la belle pays, selling this many copies and becoming the top-selling foreign-language For Dummies title.
  • About 4 million: The Web site attracts this many visitors a month, and they've come to rely on the site's helpful videos and articles to assist with everything from technology advice to how to remove wallpaper.
  • More than 15 million: As far back as 1992, the Dummies brand was making sure to jump on hot topics that consumers needed information about right away. Early editors took a gamble on Windows, betting that it would overtake DOS as the operating system of the masses; a bazillion copies later (15 million, to be precise), Windows For Dummies remains the bestselling computer book of all time.


The "For Dummies" success story


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