Disney Publishing Worldwide

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Disney Publishing Worldwide
Subsidiary of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Industry Publishing
Founder Michael Lynton
Headquarters Glendale, Califorina[1]
Number of locations
2 creative centers (2009)
Area served
Key people
  • Andrew Sugerman (EVP)
  • Jeff Sellinger (SVP, Learning)
  • Jeanne Mosure
  • Raj Murari
  • (SVPs, Group Publishers)
  • Lyle Underkoffler (VP, Digital)
Parent Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
(The Walt Disney Company)
  • Core Publishing
  • Digital Publishing
  • Disney Book Group, LLC
  • Disney Learning
  • Disney Magazine Publishing, Inc.
Website books.disney.com
Official website

Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW), formerly The Disney Publishing Group and Buena Vista Publishing Group, is the publishing subsidiary of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, a division of The Walt Disney Company.[2] Its imprints include Disney Editions, Hyperion Books for Children, and Disney Press. It has creative centers in Glendale, California, and in Milan, Italy.[3]


In 1990, Disney Consumer Products discontinued its license for Topolino, an Italian Mickey Mouse magazine. This led Michael Lynton, the Disney Consumer Products business development director, to start up its own Magazine Group with the similarly outlaid Disney Adventures.[4] Through Walt Disney Publications, Inc., Disney Publishing launched Disney Comics in the United States.[5] That same year, Disney began publishing Disney Adventures. In 1991, Disney Publishing purchased Discover magazine from Family Media, placing it within its Magazine Group and purchased the Family Fun Magazine after its second issue from Jake Winebaum.[4][6]


The Disney Publishing Group (DPG) was incorporated in January 1992[7], and included the already formed Hyperion Books, Hyperion Books for Children, Disney Press and its units.[8]

In 1994, DPG launched the Mouse Works and Fun Works divisions in February and November, respectively, in order to publish interactive children books.[9] By April, the Magazine Group agreed with Ziff-Davis Publishing Company to a joint venture publication, Family PC, to be launched in September.[4] In June, Lynton left his position as senior vice president of DPG to become president of Disney's Hollywood Pictures.[10]

In March 1995, with the market too crowded with Disney books, DPG merged Hyperion Books for Children with the Disney Press units.[8] In August, Disney Magazine Publishing was reorganized into three divisions, with each headed by a vice president/group publisher: Disney Family Magazines, Disney Kids Magazines, and Disney Special Interest Magazines. Family Magazines and Special Interest Magazines were expected to acquire additional publications beyond their single titles, Family Fun and Discover respectively. Special Interest Magazines' publisher was assigned responsibility to the Discovery Channel TV show, Discover Magazine. Kids Magazines included the newly developed Big Time weekly newspaper supplement to have a Fall 1996 launch. Magazine President Jake Winebaum was transferred to head up Disney Online.[11] On May 11, 1998 Disney Publishing was renamed Buena Vista Publishing Group.[7]

Disney Publishing Worldwide[edit]

In April 1999, Buena Vista Publishing Group changed its name to Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc. with Hyperion Books transferred to Disney's ABC Television Group.[12]

Disney Publishing launched its first original comic book, W.I.T.C.H., in 2001. It was successful and adapted into an animated series, selling one million copies per month by August 2004.[13] In Mid-2001, DPW and Baby Einstein agreed to publish a baby book line to introduce fine art, foreign languages, poetry, and classical music.[14] Gemstone Publishing licensed the rights to publish Disney comics from DPW beginning in June 2003.[15] Following its collapse in June 2004, the CrossGen trademark and properties were purchased by DPW's educational publishing division that November for its reading aids, with additional publications based on CrossGen books.[16]

Wondertime magazine, November 2008

The Disney Consumer Products' Disney Fairies franchise debuted in September 2005, when Disney Publishing unveiled the novel Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg paired with a virtual world.[17] In 2005, Discover Magazine was sold to Bob Guccione Jr. and the Disney magazine was shut down. In February 2006, Wondertime magazine was launched, which focused on mothers of children up to age six.[18] DPW licensed out CrossGen to Checker Publishing Group to reprint comic book series as trade paperback editions starting in February 2007.[19]

In February 2007, Disney merged its kids and family focused television, online, radio, and publishing businesses' advertising sales and promotion teams into Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, all of which were overseen by the presidents of Disney Channels Worldwide, Walt Disney Internet Group, and DPW.[20] By 2009, Disney Publishing Worldwide was organized into the following three divisions: Global Book Group, Disney English, and Global Magazines with four revenue areas: Global Magazines, Global Books, U.S. Magazines, and Disney English.[3]

Disney Publishing Worldwide (India), a division of Walt Disney Company (India), announced a licensing agreement in April 2009 with local publisher Junior Diamond to publish Disney comic books, in both English and Hindi.[21] Disney Publishing launched Disney Digital Books on September 29 with 500 books online.[22] On December 8, 2010, DPW's India unit signed a multi-year contract with India Today Group to print and distribute Disney Comics in India.[23]

With few books issued under the imprint, Marvel Worldwide and Disney Books Group relaunched the Marvel Press imprint in 2011 with the Marvel Origin Storybooks line.[24] DPW announced in November a new publication, FamilyFun Kids, a bi-monthly magazine with kids' craft, games, puzzles, and recipes.[25]

In January 2012, DPW agreed to sell the Family Fun Magazine to the Meredith Corporation.[26] By September 2012, White Plains, New York office was closed with staff being moved to Glendale with 50 sale and marketing staff to New York City to join editors there.[27]

In January 2013, DPW launched the Never Girls book series, an extension of the Disney Fairies franchise, with publishing partner Random House.[17] With the June 2013 announcement of the Hyperion Books sale, Hyperion's adult trade book division was moved to Hachette Book Group. Books related to existing Disney–ABC Television Group properties, young adult titles, and Disney-Hyperion imprint and titles were transferred to DPW.[28]

Disney Publishing Worldwide transferred the Disney Fairies franchise main publishing license to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in January 2014 except for the Never Girls series.[17] DPW announced in April 2014 that Del Rey Books would publish a new line of canon Star Wars books under the Lucasfilm Story Group from September onwards on a bi-monthly schedule[29] while previous, non-canon, Expanded Universe material would be reprinted under the "Star Wars Legends" banner.[30][31]

Disney Publishing has been a focus for Disney Consumer Products to launch new franchises. In May 2014, DPW released the first book in the Waterfire Saga mermaid book series, along with a song and music videos. Disney's first deal with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment resulted in The Zodiac Legacy book series, with the first novel released in January 2015 through DPW.[32] The Never Girls chapter series reached the New York Times Best Sellers List - Children's Series on the week of August 10.[33] On December 4, Disney Learning announced its Disney Imagicademy program was launching on December 11.[34] At that time, DPW was organized into three main units: Core Publishing, Digital Publishing, and Disney Learning.[35]

Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) was formed in June 2015 as merger of Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive with Disney Publishing Worldwide reporting to the co-chairs of DCPI.[2] DPW launched Star Darlings, its first franchise under DCPI, on September 15, 2015 with two books.[36]


Disney Publishing launched unplanned franchises starting with W.I.T.C.H. in 2001.[13] DPW's educational division purchased the CrossGen comic book assets in November 2004.[16] DPW was then drafted as an outlet for Disney Consumer Products' planned franchises: Disney Fairies[17] and Disney Bunnies[37] (and their extensions), the Never Girls book series,[17] and Disney Princess Palace Pets apps.[38] DPW started to originate planned franchises with the Waterfire Saga in 2014 and The Zodiac Legacy and Star Darlings in 2015.[32][36]

  • CrossGen – purchased franchise in November 2004 for reading aids plus development of other assets by Hyperion Books for Children.[16] The franchise was restarted as an imprint by Marvel Comics in March 2011.[39]
  • Star Darlings - launched with two chapter books in September 2015.[36]
  • W.I.T.C.H. – launched as a comic book in 2001 and expanded with an animated series in 2004.[13]
  • Waterfire Saga – launched with the first novel of a tetralogy in May 2014.[32]
  • The Zodiac Legacy – expected franchise launched as a book series in January 2015.[32]

Star Darlings[edit]

Not to be confused with Star vs. the Forces of Evil, another Disney franchise.
Star Darlings
Creator Shana Muldoon Zappa
Ahmet Zappa[36]
Original work books
Print publications
Books Sage and the Journey to Wishworld
Libby and the Class Election[40]
Films and television
Short films webisodes
Toys Jakks Pacific dolls
website disneystardarlings.com

Star Darlings is a Disney Publishing multimedia franchise based on an original wish granting fey people called the Starlings. Star Darlings is a trademark of Star Darlings, LLC.

Barry Waldo was selected to manage the franchise, which is an inspirational brand targeted to tweens designed to "celebrate their individuality, make positive choices and turn their wishes into reality".[41] Justice is the franchise's primary retail partner carrying Jakks Pacific provided doll line, clothing and the books. Disney Stores would carry a limited product line.[42]

The Star Darlings plot is about 12 young Starlings at Starling Academy on Starland who learn about Wishworld (Earth) and are selected to go on a secret mission there. Sage, Libby and Leona are the Star Darlings up first for books with the other nine being Adora, Astra, Cassie, Clover, Gemma, Piper, Scarlet, Tessa and Vega.[41]

Star Darlings history[edit]

Shana Muldoon first registered a trademark for the Star Darling name in 2009, but was considered abandoned for lack of use on April 11, 2011.[43] Shana Muldoon Zappa, Ahmet Zappa and Disney Publishing began development in 2011 on Star Darlings.[44] On March 29, 2013, Star Darlings, LLC filed to register the trademark with two extensions granted with the last given on May 29, 2015.[45]

The franchise was announced at the D23 convention in August 2015[44] and launched on September 15, 2015 with two chapter books Sage and the Journey to Wishworld and Libby and the Class Election.[40] Kirkus Reviews found the first volume, Sage and the Journey to Wishworld, to be "complicated, retrograde, and very sparkly" and for ages 7 to eleven.[46]

On September 24, 2015, a social media event and a press day would be held for the franchise as part of its launch phase of the marketing campaign.[44] Expected releases through November are the Jakks dolls at Justice, a storytelling and lifestyle app, music through Walt Disney Records and the first episode of a YouTube animated series.[36]

Waterfire Saga[edit]

Waterfire Saga
Creator Disney Publishing staff
Jennifer Donnelly
Original work novel
Print publications
  • Deep Blue
  • Rogue Wave
  • Dark Tide
  • Sea Spell
Original music Open Your Eyes
Hollywood Records[47]

Waterfire Saga is a Disney Publishing franchise based on mermaids launched in May 2014 as a multimedia release around a core book series.[32][48]

Waterfire history[edit]

The Waterfire Saga was developed by Disney Publishing's various departments after some years of considering doing a mermaid mythology project. A 200-page franchise bible was compiled that included cultures, story arcs, images of the undersea world and its inhabitants, and main character profiles. In the summer of 2011, Global Books publisher Suzanne Murphy approached Jennifer Donnelly to write the book series. Donnelly agreed.[49]

In early 2014, Disney Publishing Worldwide announced the launch of the Waterfire Saga.[47] By March 2014, Donnelly had already finished work on the first two books and had started on the third.[50] The first novel, Deep Blue, was released under the Disney-Hyperion imprint on May 6, 2014 with a print run of 250,000 copies and a national book tour. The novel's marketing plan included advertising in print, TV, and in-theater; ABC Family and Hollywood Records would run additional promotions as well as a retail floor display with riser. A song and music videos were included in the simultaneous e-book edition release.[32][49] The book was concurrently released in the U.K., Italy, and Spain. Other foreign editions were to be released in late 2014 and early 2015. The second book in the series, Rogue Wave, was released in January 2015. Dark Tide was released Fall 2015 and the final book, Sea Spell,[51] will be released in Summer 2016. In 2015, DPW's Milan comic unit will begin issuing comics and graphic novels to expand the franchise.[49]


Merpeople came into existence after their ancestors' island of Atlantis was destroyed.[50]

The four-book series centers around six mermaids who try to save their world. Deep Blue initially focuses on Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, who has a premonitory dream about an ancient evil returning on the eve of her betrothal. Her mother is hit by assassin’s poisoned arrow, which confirms the dream. She has additional visions that lead her to find five other mermaids across the world's oceans. The six bond and find a world threatening conspiracy.[50]

Additional media[edit]

An audio book version of Deep Blue was recorded by Bea Miller with release through Listening Library.[49] In 2015, DPW's Milan comic unit will begin issuing comics and graphic novels to expand the franchise.[49] The song “Open Your Eyes” was issued through Hollywood Records and is sung by Bea Miller.[47][52]


  • Core Publishing[53]
    • Disney Magazine Publishing, Inc.
    • Disney Book Group (Disney Book Publishing, Inc.)
  • Digital Publishing - Disney Book Apps
  • Disney Learning, incorporated on March 7, 1996 as Disney Educational Publishing, Inc. and changed name by August 26, 2013 to Disney Learning[54][55]
    • Disney Educational Productions
    • Disney English
    • Disney Imagicademy is a program of Disney Learning consisting of a suite of mobile learning apps for kids with over 30 apps planned. The first two apps were the parent companion app and Mickey’s Magical Math World on iPad. The parent companion app allows parent to track their kids' advancement on the apps.[34][56]

Hyperion for Children[edit]

Hyperion Books for Children (HBC) and Disney Press were both launched in 1990.[8] The Disney Publishing Group was incorporated in January 1992[7] and included the already formed Hyperion Books, Hyperion Books for Children, Disney Press and other units.[8] In March 1995 with the market too crowded with Disney books, Hyperion Books for Children merged with Disney Press.[8] Hyperion Books for Children started a new imprint, Jump at the Sun, in September 1998 for the African-American children's market.[57] DPW slated Abadazad four book series from its CrossGen property for publication after purchasing the CrossGen assets under this imprint.[16]


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External links[edit]