»Every style of writing is permitted but that which is tiresome.«
For more than 60 years this dictum by Voltaire has been a principle for Diogenes, Europe’s largest purely fiction publishing house. With almost 220 million in total number of distributed copies, Diogenes has released more than 4770 titles, out of which more than 1900 are still available. These include classics such as Shakespeare, Molière, Flaubert, Stendhal, Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy, Chekhov; modern classics such as Georges Simenon, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, Carson McCullers, Patricia Highsmith; bestselling authors such as John Irving, Paulo Coelho, Donna Leon; and equally successful German-speaking writers such as Alfred Andersch, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Urs Widmer, Ingrid Noll, Jakob Arjouni, Bernhard Schlink, Doris Dörrie, Benedict Wells, Martin Suter and Patrick Süskind.
With his novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, the latter wrote the most popular bestseller in the German-speaking world since Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. After eight weeks, 115,000 copies had been sold, and the total number of copies published to this day is more than 5.5 million. The book was on Spiegel’s bestseller list for more than ten years, with over 20 million copies sold in 49 languages worldwide. The greatest literary success of a German-speaking author in the Anglo-Saxon world after Perfume was again a Diogenes book: Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader which also made it onto the bestseller lists abroad. The book has already been translated into more than 50 languages, a film adaptation of it is being made in Hollywood, and in 1999 it was the first novel to come out of the German-speaking world to reach number one on the New York Times bestseller list.
Daniel Keel founded Diogenes Verlag in 1952 and shaped its programme until his death in autumn 2011 (Homage to Daniel Keel). Two years after founding the company, his school friend Rudolf C. Bettschart became his business partner, and was responsible for the overall commercial management of the publishing house until 2015. Philipp Keel (artist and author) succeeded his father as publisher in April 2012. He shares the operational leadership of the company with the members of the management team Winfried Stephan (Programme/Editorial), Stefan Fritsch (Marketing/Organisation), Ruth Geiger (Press and PR), Katharina Erne (Finances).
Apart from literary works, Diogenes also publishes art and cartoon books as well as children’s books which formed an important part of the publishing programme in the company’s early years. Famous authors include Loriot, Sempé, Paul Flora, F. K. Waechter, Tomi Ungerer and Maurice Sendak. In 1971, the first Diogenes paperbacks appeared, called detebe for short. With its paperbacks, the publishing house builds and maintains its backlist. After all, the guiding principle of Diogenes’ publishing policy has always been not so much to release individual books but rather authors and, wherever possible, their complete works and to ensure that they are always available. Apart from contemporary literature, the line is well-known for its detective stories which, with names such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Eric Ambler, Patricia Highsmith, Georges Simenon and Jakob Arjouni unites the »crème de la crème of crime fiction authors« (FAZ).
detebe classics form the largest collection of literary classics in paperback in the German-speaking world. Some highlights from more than 25 years of detebe: Balzac’s Human Comedy in 40 volumes in a Bordeaux case, a complete reprint of the Zurich Schopenhauer edition in 11 volumes, and the largest non-Russian Chekhov edition in 23 volumes.
Diogenes also has charge of important theatrical rights including those of Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Sławomir Mrożek, the German Moliere translation by Hans Weigel and Patrick Süskind’s The Double Bass. In addition, the publishing house represents the global rights in the works of various authors of foreign languages, e.g. those of Patricia Highsmith, Jakob Arjouni, Leon de Winter, Donna Leon, Joey Goebel, Tomi Ungerer, Andrej Kurkow and Petros Markaris.
»Rather than monotonously marketing bestsellers, Diogenes Verlag caters to individual reading needs. The result: the publishing company is more successful than ever« (Stern, Hamburg). In the year 2014, Diogenes Verlag was elected Publishing House of the Year for the thirteenth time by German-speaking booksellers.
Since 2005, Diogenes Verlag has published audio books as well - i.e. readings of new works by Diogenes authors and modern classics from the publishing company's long history going back more than 50 years. The works are recorded by top-class readers such as Hans Korte, Christian Brückner, Rufus Beck, Heike Makatsch, Jan Josef Liefers and Gert Heidenreich.
Interviews with authors, background information about the development of books, unpublished stories and more can be find on the Diogenes blog.